Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

The Robert Greenberg Blog

A bat. How . . . lovely

Dr. Bob Prescribes ‘Die Fledermaus’

January 21st, 2020
Yesterday’s Music History Monday marked the occasion, on January 20, 1982, when Ozzy Osborne bit the head off of a dead and decaying bat during a performance at the Des Moines Veterans Memorial Auditorium. To his credit, Osbourne thought that the bat-like other such rodents and reptiles tossed on stage during his performances – was…

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Ozzy Osbourne having a bite on stage, January 20, 1982

Music History Monday: Fine Dining

January 20th, 2020
Józef Hofmann (1876-1967) January 20 is indeed an interesting day in music history, particularly notable for anniversaries of births and deaths. Among those born on this day was the outstanding Polish/American pianist Józef Hofmann, born in 1876 (and died in 1967; my grandmother took some lessons with Hofmann at the New York Institute of Musical…

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The Buckwheat Zydeco Band

Dr. Bob Prescribes The Tango Project

January 14th, 2020
Yesterday’s Music History Monday post focused on the accordion, an important patent for which was granted to the Philadelphia-based inventor Anthony Foss on January 13, 1854: 166 years ago yesterday. As detailed in yesterday’s Music History Monday, for reasons having to do with class politics and pure snobbery, the accordion is often looked down upon…

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A very snazzy modern accordion

Music History Monday: How to Identify a Gentleman

January 13th, 2020
Cute, but would you date an accordionist We would recognize a number of date-worthy events before moving on to the admittedly painful principal topic of today’s Music History Monday. Johann Christoph Graupner Johann Christoph Graupner (1683-1760) We recognize the birth on January 13, 1683 – 337 years ago today – of the German harpsichordist and…

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Alexander Scriabin in 1903

Dr. Bob Prescribes Scriabin’s Piano Sonata No. 5

January 7th, 2020
Alexander Scriabin (1871-1915) in 1903 Alexander Scriabin (1871-1915) composed a total of ten numbered piano sonatas in the 21 years between 1892 and 1913. He composed, as well, an “unnumbered” piano sonata in E-flat minor in 1889, when he was 18 years old. These eleven piano sonatas form a virtual musical diary, and as such…

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Alexander Nikolayevich Scriabin looking every inch the dandy that he was

Music History Monday: The Odd Person Out

January 6th, 2020
Alexander Nikolayevich Scriabin (1872-1915), looking every inch the dandy that he was On January 6, 1872 – 148 years ago today – the composer Alexander Nikolayevich Scriabin was born in Moscow. He died in Moscow just 43 years later, on April 27, 1915. Scriabin was not just “the odd person out” of turn-of-the-twentieth-century Russian composers;…

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Dr. Bob Prescribes: Beethoven Lieder

December 31st, 2019
Beethoven Songs Beethoven’s songs? Yes indeed, Beethoven composed over 90 songs for voice and piano and arranged an additional 179 Irish, Scottish, Welsh and other folksongs for voice, piano, violin and cello. Beethoven’s songs are among his least known and least appreciated works, and this must and will stop, at least here on the cyber-pages…

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Richard Rodgers

Music History Monday: Richard Rodgers and the American Crucible

December 30th, 2019
Richard Rodgers (1902-1979) We mark the death on December 30, 1979 – 40 years ago today – of the American composer Richard Rodgers at the age of 77. A life-long New Yorker, Rodgers was one of the most prolific American composers of all time, having written the music for – among other works – 43…

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Dr. Bob Prescribes Holiday Music

December 24th, 2019
I offer up a hot, steaming mug (or if you prefer, an ice-cold martini) of gratitude to Jack Conte, who created the Patreon platform in 2013, and to my wonderful patrons for having given me the wherewithal to write, opine, and on occasion bloviate on topics musical.  I will in today’s Dr. Bob Prescribes acknowledge…

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Festivus Pole

Music History Monday: Is There Something Strange in the Air?

December 23rd, 2019
As readers of this blog and/or listeners to this podcast are aware, some Mondays present us with a plethora, a Mother’s Day buffet of musical topics from which to choose, while others are as dry as a perfect martini. During such days of topical feast or famine, coming up with a topic is equally challenging:…

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