Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

The Robert Greenberg Blog

Stravinsky having a nightcap before lights-out

Dr. Bob Prescribes Fluids of Choice and Drinking Songs

May 14th, 2024
We pick up where we left off in yesterday’s Music History Monday. May 13th – yesterday’s date – has been designated by those fine people who designate such things as “World Cocktail Day” (as well as the first day of “American Craft Beer Week”).  I used the occasions to begin a discussion about the drinking habits…

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Bach (1685-1750) mit brewski

Music History Monday: What Day is Today?

May 13th, 2024
World Cocktail Day! Whoever wrote the copy for this notice was clearly well into their third, perhaps fourth cocktail We recognize May 13th as being, among other “days” here in the United States, National Frog Jumping Day, Leprechaun Day, International Hummus Day, National Crouton Day, and – wait for it - World Cocktail Day! National…

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Ella Fitzgerald (1917-1996) and Duke Ellington (center; 1899-1974) at the Downbeat Club in New York City in 1948; Benny Goodman (1909-1986) sits directly behind Ellington’s left shoulder

Dr. Bob Prescribes Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington

May 7th, 2024
Ella Fitzgerald (1917-1996) and Duke Ellington (center; 1899-1974) at the Downbeat Club in New York City in 1948; Benny Goodman (1909-1986) sits directly behind Ellington’s left shoulder My Music History Monday post back on June 15, 2020, marked the death on June 15, 1996, of the the “First Lady of Song,” the “Queen of Jazz,”…

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The Beatles “invade” New York, February 7, 1964

Music History Monday: The Evolution of Western Pop Music: USA (1960-2010)

May 6th, 2024
We mark the public release, on May 6, 2015 – nine years ago today – of a scientific/statistical study published by The Royal Society Open Science Journal, a study entitled “The Evolution of Western Pop Music: USA (1960-2010).” Royal Society Open Science Scoff not, my friends: this was, in fact, a high-end study conducted (and…

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Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington (1899-1974), in May 1943 at the Hurricane Club, Broadway & West 51st Street, New York City

Dr. Bob Prescribes Duke Ellington

April 30th, 2024
Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington (1899-1974) was an American jazz pianist and composer, someone who led his eponymous jazz band (or “orchestra,” as he preferred to call it), for what was a record-making 51 years: from 1923 until his death in 1974. Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington (1899-1974), in May 1943 at the Hurricane Club, Broadway &…

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John Wayne as Genghis Kahn (1956); not one of his finest cinematic moments

Music History Monday: The Duke

April 29th, 2024
John Wayne as Genghis Kahn (1956); not one of his finest cinematic moments We mark the birth of The Duke on April 29, 1899 – 125 years ago today – in Washington D.C.  By “The Duke,” we are not here referring to the actor John Wayne (who was born on May 26, 1907, in Winterset,…

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Menuhin and Benjamin Britten performing together some ten years later, circa 1955

Dr. Bob Prescribes Yehudi Menuhin

April 25th, 2024
Yehudi Menuhin (1916-1999) in 1976 Monday’s Music History Monday post marked the birth – on April 22, 1916 – of the distinguished American-British violinist, conductor, and teacher Yehudi Menuhin (1916-1999).  During the course of that post, I wrote that Menuhin: “was a man of unwavering moral integrity and courage: a soft-spoken, kind, gentle, and elegant…

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Yehudi Menuhin (1916-1999)

Music History Monday: One of the Really Good Guys

April 22nd, 2024
Yehudi Menuhin (1916-1999) We mark the birth on April 22, 1916 – 108 years ago today - of one of the really good guys of twentieth century music: the American-British violinist, conductor, and teacher Yehudi Menuhin. A reminder: because of my trip to Vienna, I am still – for this week – posting abbreviated Music History…

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Bessie Smith, circa 1923

Music History Monday Replay: “The Empress” – Bessie Smith

April 15th, 2024
I am writing this post from my hotel room in what is presently (but sadly, not for long) warm and sunny Vienna.  As I mentioned last week, I will be here for eight days acting as “color commentator” for a musical tour of the city sponsored by Wondrium (a.k.a. The Teaching Company/The Great Courses).  I…

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Beethoven (1770-1827) in 1820, painted by Joseph Karl Stieler

Dr. Bob Prescribes Ludwig van Beethoven, Diabelli Variations for piano

April 9th, 2024
Beethoven (1770-1827) in 1820, painted by Joseph Karl Stieler The Project In early 1819, the Vienna-based music publisher Anton Diabelli (1781-1858) had what was a great idea for a charity project. He sent a brief waltz of his own composition to 50 composers living in Austria and invited each of them to compose a single…

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