Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

The Robert Greenberg Blog

Peter Schickele

Dr. Bob Prescribes: The Wurst of P.D.Q. Bach

September 21st, 2021
It was a once-in-a-lifetime discovery. Like Howard Carter’s discovery of King Tut’s tomb in 1922 and Hiram Bingham’s discovery of the “lost” Incan citadel of Machu Picchu in Peru in 1911, Peter Schickele’s discovery of P.D.Q. Bach is the stuff of legend. Very Full Professor of Music Pathology Peter Schickele of the University of Southern…

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Johan Julius Christian “Jean” Sibelius 1865-1957

Music History Monday: Finland, Jean Sibelius, and the Case of the Missing Symphony

September 20th, 2021
Johan Julius Christian “Jean” Sibelius 1865-1957 We mark the death on September 20, 1957 – 64 years ago today – of the Finnish composer Jean Sibelius, in Järvenpää (yes, that’s a lot of umlauts), Finland. Born on December 8, 1865, in Hameenlinna, Finland, Sibelius was 91 years old when he died. Scandanavia Scandinavia is the Canada…

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Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) by Joseph Karl Stiele

Dr. Bob Prescribes Complete Beethoven Sets

September 14th, 2021
Spending Other People’s Money I’ve always had a talent for spending other people’s money. Hi-fi shopping: where to start? 35 years ago, when Berkeley California had more hi-fi/stereo shops then fleas on a feral dog, I used to take anyone who asked me stereo shopping. (I had a lot of requests as I was teaching…

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Leopold Stokowski in 1945, by Yousuf Karsh

Music History Monday: Leopold Stokowski

September 13th, 2021
Leopold Stokowski (1882-1977) in 1945, by Yousuf Karsh We mark the death, on September 13, 1977 – 44 years ago today – of the British conductor Leopold Anthony Stokowski, in Nether Wallop, Hampshire, United Kingdom, 67.6 miles (give or take) southwest of London.  Born in London on April 18 (the maestro and I share that…

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Domenico Guardasoni (circa 1731-1806)

Dr. Bob Prescribes Wolfgang Mozart: La Clemenza di Tito

September 7th, 2021
Deadlines! Domenico Guardasoni (circa 1731-1806) On July 8, 1791, Domenico Guardasoni (circa 1731-1806), the newly hired superintendent of the Estates Opera in Prague, was charged with producing an opera on criminally short notice. The Holy Roman Emperor Leopold II (Peter Leopold Joseph Anton Joachim Pius Gotthard; 1747-1792, the brother of the recently deceased Emperor Joseph…

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Mozart in 1789

Music History Monday: Mozart in Prague

September 6th, 2021
Mozart in April 1789 by the German portrait artist Dora (Doris, Dorothea) Stock (1760-1832) We mark the premiere on September 6, 1791 – 230 years ago today – of Wolfgang Mozart’s final opera La clemenza di Tito (The Clemency [or Mercy] of Titus), K. 621. Commissioned by the Prague-based opera producer and impresario Domenico Guardasoni (circa 1731-1806), the…

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Dr. Bob Prescribes Heitor Villa-Lobos: 5 Preludes and 12 Etudes for Guitar

August 31st, 2021
A thing of beauty and a joy forever: an Alhambra Linea Pro Classical/Spanish Guitar, hand crafted in Muro De Alcoy, Spain Oh, the Conceit, the Arrogance! Yesterday’s Music History Monday post noted that the rock guitarist Paul Rossoff – he of the 20 Quaalude-a-day habit - is (or at least was, at one time) ranked…

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Billy Joel with his first wife, Elizabeth Ann Joel circa 1975

Music History Monday: Oh, Behave!

August 30th, 2021
Every now and again, circumstances force us to plum the tawdry here in Music History Monday. Usually, those “circumstances” are a dearth of good topics to write about; today is such a day. (In fact, there is an excellent, August 30th-associated topic we could have focused on: the completion of Shostakovich’s extremely controversial Symphony No.…

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Robert Greenberg - The Making of a Course - Part Seven

The Composer is Always Right

August 28th, 2021
This weekend, we begin what I consider to be a great adventure: the serialization of my book The Composer is Always Right. (I will be forgiven for calling this a “great adventure”; given the current state of my life, I must take what adventure I can where I find it.) I am making the first…

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Moritz Moszkowski

Dr. Bob Prescribes: Moritz Moszkowski, Piano Concerto in E Major, Op. 59 (1898)

August 24th, 2021
Moritz Moszkowski (1854-1925) Near the conclusion of yesterday’s Music History Monday post, we heard from the former chief music critic of The New York Times Harold Schonberg, who wrote apropos of Moritz Moszkowski’s piano music that: “no better salon music has ever been composed, or any so gratefully conceived for the piano.” “Salon Music.” It’s…

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