Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

The Robert Greenberg Blog

Ferdinand David by Johann Georg Weinhold

Music History Monday: Our Kind of Musician

June 19th, 2017

Today we recognize and celebrate the birth, 207 years ago today, of someone who can rightfully be called “a musician’s musician”: the violinist, composer and teacher Ferdinand David. We will get to the specifics of Maestro David’s life and career in a moment. With your indulgence, a brief bit of editorializing. Marlon Brando (1924-2004). Yes,… 

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György Ligeti

Music History Monday: György Ligeti: An Appreciation

June 12th, 2017

Eleven years ago today – on June 12, 2006 – the Hungarian-born composer György Sándor Ligeti died in Vienna. He was one of the greatest composers and teachers of the twentieth century; a man and composer who is not just a favorite of mine but something of a hero to me (and I am generally… 

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Giovanni Paisiello at the clavichord 1791

Music History Monday: The Futile Precaution

June 5th, 2017

On June 5, 1816 – 201 years ago today – the Italian opera composer Giovanni Paisiello died in Naples at the age of 76. Although almost entirely forgotten today, Paisiello was – in his lifetime – among the most famous, successful and popular opera composers of his time. He composed an absolutely amazing amount of… 

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Igor Stravinsky and Serge Diaghilev London 1926

Music History Monday: A Riotous Rite

May 29th, 2017

May 29 was an incredibly rich day in music history. So much to write about, so little space! Check it out. On May 29, 1801 – 216 years ago today – Joseph Haydn’s final masterwork, The Season, received its public premiere at the Redoutensaal: the still-extant great ballroom in the Imperial Palace (Hofburg) in central… 

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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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