Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

The Robert Greenberg Blog

Ottorino Respighi

Music History Monday: A Decidedly Politically-Incorrect Rant

July 9th, 2018

As events in music history go, July 9 is definitely on the lighter side. (Although, for me – personally – it is an important day, and I would use this opportunity to wish the happiest of birthdays to my beautiful daughter Rachel Amy, who was born in Berkeley, California 32 years ago today!) But back… 

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The Break It Down Show

Robert Greenberg Joins Cole Cuchna on the Break It Down Show

July 4th, 2018

Robert Greenberg joins Cole Cuchna of the Dissect Podcast on the Break It Down Show. Part One Part Two Related Courses

Pastel of Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Music History Monday: Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Enlightened Opera

July 2nd, 2018

240 years ago today – on July 2, 1778 – the Swiss-born philosopher, novelist, educator, music theorist and critic, and composer Jean-Jacques Rousseau died at age 66 in the township of Ermenonville, roughly 25 miles north-east of Paris. Rousseau was one of the greatest and most significant thinkers ever born to our species. According to… 

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Stravinsky in 1910

Music History Monday: The Firebird

June 25th, 2018

On June 25, 1910 – 108 years ago today – Igor Stravinsky’s The Firebird received its premiere at the Paris Opera House, in a ballet performance produced by Serge Diaghilev, staged by the Ballets Russes, and conducted by Gabriel Pierné. With choreography by Michel Fokine and the Firebird herself danced by the great Tamara Karsavina,… 

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Ignaz Joseph Pleyel

Music History Monday: There’s No Software Without the Hardware!

June 18th, 2018

Today we celebrate the birthday of the piano builder and composer Ignaz Joseph Pleyel, who was born in Ruppertsthal, Austria on June 18, 1757: 261 years ago today. It’s entirely understandable if you’ve never heard of Pleyel or his music, because his music – despite being extremely attractive and technically sound – has fallen into… 

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Richard Strauss in 1936

Music History Monday: Richard Strauss

June 11th, 2018

We celebrate the birth of the composer Richard Strauss, who was born on June 11, 1864, 154 years ago today. I will pull no punches here: in my humble (but happily expressed) opinion, Richard Strauss was one the greatest composers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. He was a melodist and musical dramatist on near… 

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Serge Koussevitzky

Music History Monday: Serge Koussevitzky and What it Takes to Be a Special Person!

June 4th, 2018

If I were a rich man, yabba-dabba-dabba yabba-dabba-dabba-daba-doo… Now look, I will be the first to acknowledge how lucky I am: in a world filled with want and poverty, my family and I live in the greatest of comfort. (The old joke must be told. The flight attendant settles an elderly gentleman into his seat… 

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Leopold Mozart

Music History Monday: Leopold Mozart

May 28th, 2018

On this day in 1787 – 231 years ago – Leopold Mozart, the father of Wolfgang Mozart, died in Salzburg at the age of 67. For all of his talents as a violinist, violin teacher, conductor and composer, history would have forgotten Johann Georg Leopold Mozart almost entirely had he not fathered and trained one… 

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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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