Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

The Robert Greenberg Blog

Tony Bennett in January 1960

Dr. Bob Prescribes Tony Bennett and Bill Evans

June 22nd, 2021
Tony Bennett (born 1926) in January 1960 I’m altering my usual MO here. Usually, when my Music History Monday post celebrates the premiere of a piece of music, the next day’s Dr. Bob Prescribes post goes on the recommend a recording of that piece. As yesterday’s Music History Monday was about Richard Wagner’s The Mastersingers…

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Richard Wagner circa 1868

Music History Monday: The Mastersingers of Nuremberg

June 21st, 2021
Richard Wagner (1813-1883) circa 1868 We mark the premiere performance on June 21, 1868 – 153 years ago today – of Richard Wagner’s music drama The Mastersingers of Nuremberg. The performance took place at the National Theater Munich, which today is the home of the Bavarian State Opera. Conducted by Franz Liszt’s student (and son-in-law)…

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Dr. Bob Prescribes: Henry Mancini

June 15th, 2021
Henry Mancini (1924-1994) Enrico Nicola “Henry” Mancini was born on April 16, 1924, in Cleveland, Ohio. He grew up in the western Pennsylvanian town of West Aliquippa, about 15 miles northwest of Pittsburgh. Apropos of nothing, my research reveals an astonishing number of high-end professional athletes hail from “greater” Aliquippa, including Jon Baldwin (National Football…

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Henry Mancini

Music History Monday: Henry Mancini

June 14th, 2021
Henry Mancini (1924-1994) We mark the death on June 14, 1994 – 27 years ago today - of the composer, songwriter, conductor, and arranger Enrico Nicola “Henry” Mancini in Beverly Hills, California, at the age of seventy. Known primarily for his film and television scores, Mancini received twenty Grammy Awards and four Oscars.  Today’s Music…

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Gilbert Kaplan

Dr. Bob Prescribes: Florence Foster Jenkins

June 9th, 2021
“Pay-to-play” (aka “P2P”). It’s a fairly new term for something as old as the hills: paying (bribing?) others “for services or the privilege to engage in certain activities.” P2P is particularly big in the book and music publishing industry today, in which publishers require authors and composers to underwrite the costs of production (and not…

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Francesca Cuzzoni

Music History Monday: When Opera Singers Misbehave

June 7th, 2021
Francesca Cuzzoni (1696-1778) On June 7, 1727 – 294 years ago today – a long-running feud between the sopranos Francesca Cuzzoni and Faustina Bordoni broke out into open warfare – a screaming, hair-pulling, dress-ripping physical altercation on stage, in London – during a performance of Giovanni Bonancini’s opera Astianatte (of 1725). After pulling the “ladies”…

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Don Ellis (left) and Hank Levy, circa 1971

Dr. Bob Prescribes: Hank Levy and Don Ellis

June 1st, 2021
Don Ellis (left) and Hank Levy, circa 1971 It is possible to know too much. A wine aficionado has no taste for a $14.00 bottle of Pinot. A modern dance devotee would not deign to attend a square dance. A cocktail shaker enthusiast won’t look twice at a mass-marketed chrome shaker from the 1930s. This…

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Haydn’s house in Vienna - taken in 2014 with yours truly out front

Music History Monday: Haydn’s Death and His Final Road Trip

May 31st, 2021
Haydn’s house in Vienna; its original address was Kleine Steingasse 73 (today Haydngasse 19), taken in 2014 with yours truly out front We mark the death, on May 31, 1809 – 212 years ago today – of the incomparable Joseph Haydn, at his home in Vienna at Kleine Steingasse 73 (today, the address is Haydngasse…

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Ludwig/Louis/Luigi van Beethoven in 1803

Dr. Bob Prescribes Beethoven: Complete Sonatas for Violin and Piano

May 25th, 2021
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) in 1803, the year he completed and premiered – along with George Bridgetower - his Violin Sonata in A major, Op. 47, “Kreutzer”, by Christian Horneman By the Numbers Some important Beethoven numbers. Zero: the number of wastepaper baskets Beethoven owned. (The man kept everything.) Zero: the number of hair-styling implements…

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Ludwig van Beethoven in 1803, painted by Christian Horneman

Music History Monday: George Bridgetower, Louis van Beethoven, Rodolphe Kreutzer, and a Sonata for Violin!

May 24th, 2021
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) in 1803, painted by Christian Horneman We mark the premiere on May 24, 1803 – 218 years ago today – of Beethoven’s Violin Sonata No. 9 in A major, Op. 47. When published in 1805, it was dedicated to the French violinist Rodolphe Kreutzer, and has been known as the “Kreutzer…

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