Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

The Robert Greenberg Blog

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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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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