Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

The Robert Greenberg Blog

Enrico Caruso as Canio

Music History Monday: A One Hit Wonder?

May 21st, 2018

On May 21, 1892 – 126 years ago today – Ruggero Leoncavallo’s two-act opera I Pagliacci (“The Clowns”) received its premiere at the Teatro dal Verme in Milan under the baton of Arturo Toscanini. It was a phenomenal hit from the first and remains an A-list opera to this day. (It is typically paired in… 

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Leo Smit

Music History Monday: Leo Smit

May 14th, 2018

Today we remember and honor the Dutch composer Leo Smit, who was born on May 14, 1900 – 118 years ago today – in Amsterdam. As regular readers of this blog are aware, while I opine (and even bloviate) with fair regularity, I rarely get personal in my posts: Music History Monday is about events… 

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Antonio Salieri

Music History Monday: Feast or Famine

May 7th, 2018

I have come to realize over the eighteen months I’ve been writing these Music History Mondays that a date-sensitive blog (like this one) is a metaphor for life itself. On some days you just can’t buy a break while on others there are so many different possibilities that choosing one becomes well nigh impossible, a… 

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Lady Gaga

Music History Monday: Microphones

April 30th, 2018

On April 30th, 1977 – 41 years ago today – the English rock band Led Zeppelin set a new attendance record for a single-act, non-festival ticketed concert, when it played to an audience of 77,229 in Pontiac, Michigan at the Pontiac Silverdome, the capacity of which was a bit over 82,000. That information got me… 

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Sergei Prokofiev in New York in 1918

Music History Monday: One of a Kind!

April 23rd, 2018

On April 23, 1891 – 127 years ago today – the composer and pianist Sergei Prokofiev was born in the village of Sontsovka, in Ukraine. He was, very simply, one of a kind: a brilliant, tungsten-steel-fingered pianist; a great composer; and one of the most irksome and narcissistic artists ever to ply his trade (no… 

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The Break It Down Show

Music History Monday: The Break It Down Show

April 16th, 2018

April 16 is one of those dates during which pretty much nothing of interest happened by way of music history. Now please, that’s not to say that nothing happened on this date. For example, on April 16, 1954, Roy Orbison attended an Elvis Presley show in Dallas Texas. Wow. On April 16, 1983, Kirk Hammett… 

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Marion Anderson singing at the Lincoln Memorial, April 9, 1939

Music History Monday: Greatness

April 9th, 2018

On April 9, 1939 – 79 years ago today – the American contralto Marian Anderson performed before an audience of over 75,000 people on the National Mall in Washington D.C. It was one of the most important and inspirational concerts ever to take place on American soil; a concert that to this day has the… 

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Beethoven portrait in 1801 by Carl Riedel

Music History Monday: First Firsts

April 2nd, 2018

On April 2, 1800 – 218 years ago today – Ludwig van Beethoven staged his first public concert, a so-called “Akademie” or “benefit concert”, in which the financial beneficiary was to be one Ludwig van Beethoven. Among the works on the program were the premiere performances of Beethoven’s Septet for Winds and Strings, Op. 20… 

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Beethoven Schwarzspanierhaus

Music History Monday: We Would Raise a Toast to Beethoven, But, Well, That Would Be Inappropriate

March 26th, 2018

On March 26, 1827 – 191 years ago today – Ludwig van Beethoven died at the age of 56 years, 3 months, and 11 days in his third story apartment (what in Europe would have been called the second story) at Schwarzspanierstrasse 15, in a building called the Schwarzspanierhaus. (Schwarzspanierhaus means the “House of the Black-Robed Spaniards”,… 

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August Gerasch Burgtheater

Music History Monday: The Creation

March 19th, 2018

It was 219 years ago today – on March 19, 1799 – that Joseph Haydn’s epic, one hour and forty-five minute long oratorio The Creation (Die Schöpfung) received its public premiere in Vienna. Completed in 1798 when Haydn was 66 years old, The Creation is considered by many to be Haydn’s greatest work; truly, a… 

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