Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

The Robert Greenberg Blog

Gustav Mahler in Chair

Dr. Bob Prescribes (sort of): Beethoven, Symphonies Nos. 5 and 7, as “retouched” by Gustav Mahler

November 13th, 2018
Gustav Mahler In November 1899 the composer and conductor Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) told his friend, the violist Natalie Bauer-Lechner:  “Beethoven’s First, Second, and Fourth Symphonies can still be performed by modern orchestras and conductors. All the rest, however, are quite beyond their powers. Only Richard Wagner and I myself have done these works justice. And…

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Neil Young performs at Farm Aid in 2010

Music History Monday: A Birthday, Some Critters, and a Fern!

November 12th, 2018
Neil Young On November 12, 1945 – 73 years ago today – the singer, songwriter, guitarist, pianist, producer, director, screenwriter, humanitarian, entrepreneur, inventor and environmentalist Neil Percival Young was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  Upfront: I would tell you that Maestro Neil Young has been part of my life since my coming of age (which…

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Trevor Pinnock

Dr. Bob Prescribes J. S. Bach, Brandenburg Concerti nos. 1-6

November 6th, 2018
A couple of weeks ago, my Patreon patron Lorenze Fedel responded to my battlefield conversion in favor of the fortepiano (Dr. Bob Prescribes, October 23) with the following comment, slightly edited for content. Sir Thomas Beecham “These [Brautigam recordings of the Beethoven Piano Sonatas] are now in my growing Amazon wish list. Next stop, Dr. Bob,…

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Elliott Carter

Music History Monday: A Life Well Lived

November 5th, 2018
Elliott Carter We mark the death of the American Composer Elliott Carter, who died six years ago today - on November 5, 2012 - one month shy of his 104th birthday. When Elliott Carter was born on December 11, 1908, Theodore Roosevelt was President; an Indian’s head was on the obverse of a United States…

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Natural horn with a range of crooks

Dr. Bob Prescribes: Johannes Brahms, Horn Trio in E-Flat Major, Op. 40 (1865)

October 30th, 2018
Johannes Brahms in 1865, age 32 When the Hamburg born-and-raised Johannes (“Hannes”) Brahms was around four years old, his father Johann Jakob Brahms decided it was high time the kid learned to play the three instruments that he himself played. Papa Brahms wanted his eldest son to follow him into the family trade and be,…

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Mozart in 1789

Music History Monday: Don Giovanni

October 29th, 2018
Mozart in 1789 On October 29, 1787 – 221 years ago today – Wolfgang Mozart’s opera Don Giovanni received its world premiere in the Bohemian capital of Prague. That premiere was – and remains - Mozart’s single most triumphant first performance.  In 1777, the 21 year-old Mozart wrote his father: “I have only to hear…

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Jan Woloniecki

Jan Woloniecki: Opera Fanatic of the Decade

October 26th, 2018
Jan Woloniecki We ponder - for a bit – the nature of hobbies: those avocational pursuits that run the gamut from harmless amusement to life-dominating passions. I will confess up front that I am a collector, and so I’ve got a certain insight into this hobby-thing that a non-collector/non-hobbyist will not have. My first wife,…

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Dr. Bob Prescribes: Beethoven: The Complete Piano Sonatas – Ronald Brautigam, fortepiano

October 23rd, 2018
Fine Dining I am presently looking for recipes for the best way to prepare crow. Sadly, there seem to be any: I’m told that crow meat smells bad and tastes worse (the things eat carrion, after all). Consequently, I fear that I’ll have to eat mine raw, crow tartare, as it were. (Does anyone out…

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Franz Liszt in 1858

Music History Monday: The First Rock Star

October 22nd, 2018
First known photo of Liszt, taken in 1843 when he was 32 years old. Party hats and noisemakers at the ready, today we celebrate the birth of Ferencz (that’s Hungarian; Franz in German) Liszt. (Woohoo! Let’s make some noise!) He was born on October 22, 1811 – 207 years ago today – in the market…

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Saying Ah In Phoenix

Behind the Scenes With The Phoenix Symphony

October 19th, 2018
Saying Ah In Phoenix In this week’s “Dr. Bob Prescribes” I mentioned that I spent a good portion of the first week of October in Phoenix with The Phoenix Symphony, there to record 22 video program notes for this season. I thought it might amuse you to see some photos and videos that document the…

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