Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

The Robert Greenberg Blog

Béla Fleck and Chick Corea

Dr. Bob Prescribes: Chick Corea and Béla Fleck

February 12th, 2019
Chick Corea My Dr. Bob Prescribes post of December 25, 2018 was dedicated to one of my very favorite jazz pianists, the late, great, Dave McKenna. During the course of that post, I offered up a short list of those jazz pianists who have most powerfully influenced my own playing. (I am a designated Steinway…

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Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901) in 1843

Music History Monday: The Right Composer at the Right Time and the Right Place

February 11th, 2019
Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901) in 1843 On February 11, 1843 – 176 years ago today – Giuseppe Verdi’s opera I Lombardi alla Prima Crociata (The Lombards of the First Crusade) received its first performance at the Teatro La Scala in Milan. It was the 29-year-old Verdi’s fourth opera. His third opera, the monumentally successful Nabucco (as in…

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Tchaikovsky (right) and violinist Joseph Kotek (left)

Doctor Bob Prescribes: Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 35

February 5th, 2019
Bessie Hurwitz in 1916 As I know I’ve mentioned all-too-many-times, my paternal grandmother, Bessie Hurwitz Greenberg, graduated in 1916 with a degree in piano from the New York Institute of Musical Art (renamed the Juilliard School in 1926). For the next fifty-plus years, she tortured generations of piano students from her studio in Queens, New…

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John and Yoko perform at the “John Sinclair Freedom Rally” in the early morning of December 11, 1971

Music History Monday: John, Yoko, and Strom

February 4th, 2019
John Lennon in 1972 On February 4, 1972 – 47 years ago today – Senator Strom Thurmond of South Carolina sent a memo to John Mitchell, the Attorney General of the United States, in which he demanded that John Lennon be deported! Why would the not very nice Mr. Thurmond want to do such a…

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Wolfgang Mozart, detail of a painting by his brother-in-law Joseph Lange

Patreon Patron Forum: Mozart Piano Concerto No. 25

January 31st, 2019
Wolfgang Mozart, detail of a painting by his brother-in-law Joseph Lange I have received an extremely thoughtful question from Patreon patron Leigh Harper. On the surface it might appear to be a technical question concerning the function of various sections of music relative to one another, the sort of question that appeals to music nerds…

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Bartók in 1940

Dr. Bob Prescribes Béla Bartók: Concerto for Orchestra

January 29th, 2019
Béla Bartók, circa 1925 I am frequently asked “who is my favorite composer?” My typical response – flippant but not insincere – is that I am a musical slut: I love whomever I’m with at the moment. I mean, really: when listening to Sebastian Bach’s St. Matthew Passion or playing the Goldberg Variations, how in…

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Dmitri Shostakovich in 1933

Music History Monday: Who Says There’s No Such Thing as a “Bad Review”?

January 28th, 2019
Pravda, page 3, January 28, 1936: “Muddle Instead of Music” is on the bottom left quadrant On January 28, 1936 – 83 years ago today – an article entitled “Muddle Instead of Music” appeared on page 3 of Pravda, the official newspaper of the Central Committee of the Communist Party. The article – dictated by…

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Richard Strauss ca. 1948

Dr. Bob Prescribes: Richard Strauss – Four Last Songs

January 22nd, 2019
There are fighting words, and then there are FIGHTING WORDS. Maria Callas (1923-1977) as Floria Tosca As for the former, small-case version of “fighting words” I would lump political discourse (which can, admittedly, get pretty hot these days; I trust none of you are put off by the fact that I keep politics out of…

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Dancing the “Hustle”

Music History Monday: Disco Inferno!

January 21st, 2019
Saturday Night Fever Album Cover On January 21, 1978 – 41 years ago today – the soundtrack album for the movie Saturday Night Fever, which featured the Bee Gees (the Brothers Gibbs), went to #1 on the Billboard Album Chart.  It proceeded to stay at number one for an astonishing 24 weeks – nearly 6…

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Teddy the cat in April, 2018

Dr. Bob Prescribes: A Franz Liszt Trilogy

January 15th, 2019
Ted in April, 2018 But first, we have a cat named Teddy. Ted is a rescue cat. He spent the first years of his life roaming the mean streets of Fresno, California. We got him (or more appropriately, he got us) in February of 2009, almost ten years ago. Based on the wear on his…

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