Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

The Robert Greenberg Blog

Richard Wagner in 1871

Music History Monday: The Wagner Conundrum

May 22nd, 2017

May 22 is a day so rich in music history that choosing a particular event to write about might seem to be a challenge. For example, May 22, 1790 saw the first performance of Mozart’s String Quartets in D, K. 575 and B-flat, K. 589 (the first two of the three so-called “Prussian Quartets”) at… 

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Por quoy non of Pierre de la Rue

Music History Monday: All the Music That’s Fit to Print

May 15th, 2017

On this day in 1501 – 516 years ago – the first polyphonic (multi-part) music printed using moveable type was released to the public by the Venice-based publisher Ottaviano dei Petrucci. (The publication features a dedication dated May 15, 1501, so we assume that this corresponds with its release date.) The publication was an anthology… 

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Louis Moreau Gottschalk

Music History Monday: We All Make Mistakes

May 8th, 2017

Today we celebrate the 188th birthday of Louis Moreau Gottschalk. During his all-too-brief, 40-year lifetime, Gottschalk was considered to be the greatest pianist and composer ever born in the Western hemisphere, the “Chopin of the New World.” An American patriot, he foreswore his allegiance to his native South and embraced the Northern cause during the… 

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Lorenzo da Ponte

Music History Monday: The Enduring Miracle

May 1st, 2017

On Monday, May 1, 1786 – 231 years ago today – a miracle occurred in the great city of Vienna: Wolfgang Mozart’s opera The Marriage of Figaro received its premiere at the Burgtheater in Vienna. 100 years later, Johannes Brahms wrote this about The Marriage of Figaro: “Every number in Figaro is for me a… 

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Tchaikovsky in America

Music History Monday: Tchaikovsky: A Composer and Conductor in America!

April 24th, 2017

Both the dates April 24 and 25 are bereft of significant musical events. As a result, this week’s “Music History Monday” is, in fact, “Music History Wednesday”, as we turn to April 26 for the event that powers todays post. The event: on April 26, 1891 – 126 years ago this coming Wednesday – the… 

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Grand Opera House

Music History Monday: An Earth-Shaking Performance!

April 17th, 2017

I have a particular affection for the date April 18. (Yes: I know this post is about a musical event that took place on April 17; bear with me.) Back, momentarily, to April 18th and a few of the events that mark this auspicious date. On April 18th 796, King Æthelred of Northumbria (son of… 

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Mozart at 14 - Verona dalla Rosa

Music History Monday: One Talented Kid

April 10th, 2017

As is sometimes the case, the lack of notable musical events on our “appointed” date (in today’s case, April 10) requires that we shimmy forward (or back) a day for relevant material; thus: On April 11, 1770 – 247 years ago tomorrow – a choral performance took place in Rome that was the source of… 

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Elmer Bernstein With Oscar

Music History Monday: The “Other” Bernstein

April 3rd, 2017

Since virtually nothing of note in the concert music world took place on April 3rd (aside from the appearance – today – of this post), we turn to April 4th for the subject of today’s post, which marks the birth (in 1922) of one of my all-time favorite composers, Elmer Bernstein. Elmer WHO? Oh, you… 

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Haydn’s death mask

Music History Monday: Papa’s Last Days

March 27th, 2017

On this day in 1808, Joseph Haydn made his last public appearance at a performance of his oratorio The Creation given in honor of his upcoming 76th birthday. The performance – which took place at Vienna’s University Hall – was what we would call today a “star-studded event”: everyone who was anyone in Vienna’s musical… 

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One Day University

Music History Monday: Why Art Matters

March 20th, 2017

March 20 was a quiet – a very quiet! – day in music history. Thus, as I have done on other “quiet” Mondays, I’m using today’s post to tell a story and to editorialize a bit. In 2016, I got involved with an operation called “One Day University”, founded by a visionary named Steven Schragis… 

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