Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

The Robert Greenberg Blog

Maestro Uzeyir Hajibeyov in 1945

Music History Monday: Uzeyir Hajibeyov

September 18th, 2017

Music of the Twentieth Century Mozart In Vienna Joining the crazy list of days dedicated to various objects, medical conditions, and foodstuffs (National Slinky Day; National Jock Itch Day; National Hostess Cupcake Day) are a number of days dedicated to music. For example, the International Music Day (IMD), which is celebrated on October 1, was… 

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Music History Monday: What a Way to Go

September 11th, 2017

9-11; a somber day for us all. A day for reflection, contemplation and yes, a day to grieve. Far more often than not, this post is about celebration: celebrating the life of a musician or some great (or small) event in music history. If we chose to, we could celebrate the lives and music of… 

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Music History Monday: A Rather Strange Fellow

September 4th, 2017

Today we mark the 193rd anniversary of the birth of the Austrian composer and organist Anton Joseph Bruckner. When I was a graduate student back in the late 1970s and early 1980s, one of my classmates was a musicologist named Stephen Parkeny. He was a wonderful guy – sweet, smart, and very talented – whose… 

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Elvis - The King

Music History Monday: Summer Break

July 24th, 2017

Risking, I know, the deadly sin of pride (why is there no such equivalent as the “sin of self-loathing”, which can, under many circumstances, be more dangerous and deadly than pride?), Risking the sin of pride I’d tell you that having started these Music History Mondays on September 16 of last year (2016), I have… 

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George Frideric Handel

Music History Monday: Water Music, Fiction and Facts

July 17th, 2017

On July 17, 1717 – exactly 300 years ago today – George Frederich Handel’s Orchestral Suites in F Major and D Major (collectively known as his Water Music) received their premiere during a royal cruise down the River Thames from Whitehall to Chelsea. Here’s the story – the great story – that’s usually told about… 

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Carl Orff

Music History Monday: To Dance With the Devil

July 10th, 2017

Today we recognize the birth – 122 years ago, in Munich – of the composer and educator Carl Orff. Orff lived a long and productive life. He died on March 29, 1982 at the age of 86. He was a composer of great talent whose works draw on influences as diverse as ancient Greek tragedy… 

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Leoš Janáček

Music History Monday: Leoš Janáček: Composer, Patriot and Patriot Composer!

July 3rd, 2017

Today we mark the 163rd anniversary of the birth – on July 3, 1854 – of the Czech (Moravian) composer Leoš Janáček. First things first, as Janáček’s name is notoriously mispronounced by non-Czechs. His first name – Leoš – is easy enough: “Lay-osh.” But his surname is a challenge for those of us who have trouble… 

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Mozart circa 1780, detail from portrait by Johann Nepomuk della Croce

Music History Monday: How Did He Do It?

June 26th, 2017

On this day in 1788 Wolfgang Mozart completed the score of his Symphony No. 39 in E-flat Major, K. 543. It is – with no exaggeration or hyperbole intended – a virtually perfect work: with the greatest of respect to Joseph Haydn, Mozart’s K. 543 is the most exquisitely constructed and expressively sublime Classical era-styled… 

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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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