Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

The Robert Greenberg Blog

Arnold Schoenberg

Music History Monday: Pierrot Lunaire

October 16th, 2017

There are certain first performances that we celebrate as being among the seminal events in music history. For example (and we would do well to memorize these dates!), the first performance of Claudio Monteverdi’s groundbreaking opera Orfeo occurred at Florence’s Pitti Palace on Friday, February 24, 1607. Handel’s Messiah was first performed on Tuesday, April… 

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Tōru Takemitsu

Music History Monday: Tōru Takemitsu

October 9th, 2017

Today we mark and celebrate the birth in Tokyo – 87 years ago yesterday on October 8, 1930 – of one of the greatest composers of the twentieth century: Tōru Takemitsu. Some historical background called for, as no East Asian country adopted Western music more rapidly and at an earlier date than did Japan. After… 

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Sting, Rachel Tucker

Music History Monday: Spreading the Love

October 2nd, 2017

October 2 was a most interesting day in music history. Rather than choose just one person or event for discussion, we’re going to spread the love today and observe three people and one event for whom/which October 2 was a signal date. Max Bruch and One Hit Wonders On October 2, 1920, 97 years ago… 

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Glenn Gould in 1959 at the age of 27

Music History Monday: One of a Kind

September 25th, 2017

Today we celebrate the birth of the pianist Glenn Herbert Gold. (That is the name on his birth certificate. The family began using the name “Gould” informally, when Glenn was seven years old, but he never formally changed his name to “Gould.”) He was born 85 years ago today – on September 25, 1932 –… 

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Maestro Uzeyir Hajibeyov in 1945

Music History Monday: Uzeyir Hajibeyov

September 18th, 2017

Music of the Twentieth Century Mozart In Vienna Joining the crazy list of days dedicated to various objects, medical conditions, and foodstuffs (National Slinky Day; National Jock Itch Day; National Hostess Cupcake Day) are a number of days dedicated to music. For example, the International Music Day (IMD), which is celebrated on October 1, was… 

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Music History Monday: What a Way to Go

September 11th, 2017

9-11; a somber day for us all. A day for reflection, contemplation and yes, a day to grieve. Far more often than not, this post is about celebration: celebrating the life of a musician or some great (or small) event in music history. If we chose to, we could celebrate the lives and music of… 

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Music History Monday: A Rather Strange Fellow

September 4th, 2017

Today we mark the 193rd anniversary of the birth of the Austrian composer and organist Anton Joseph Bruckner. When I was a graduate student back in the late 1970s and early 1980s, one of my classmates was a musicologist named Stephen Parkeny. He was a wonderful guy – sweet, smart, and very talented – whose… 

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Elvis - The King

Music History Monday: Summer Break

July 24th, 2017

Risking, I know, the deadly sin of pride (why is there no such equivalent as the “sin of self-loathing”, which can, under many circumstances, be more dangerous and deadly than pride?), Risking the sin of pride I’d tell you that having started these Music History Mondays on September 16 of last year (2016), I have… 

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George Frideric Handel

Music History Monday: Water Music, Fiction and Facts

July 17th, 2017

On July 17, 1717 – exactly 300 years ago today – George Frederich Handel’s Orchestral Suites in F Major and D Major (collectively known as his Water Music) received their premiere during a royal cruise down the River Thames from Whitehall to Chelsea. Here’s the story – the great story – that’s usually told about… 

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Carl Orff

Music History Monday: To Dance With the Devil

July 10th, 2017

Today we recognize the birth – 122 years ago, in Munich – of the composer and educator Carl Orff. Orff lived a long and productive life. He died on March 29, 1982 at the age of 86. He was a composer of great talent whose works draw on influences as diverse as ancient Greek tragedy… 

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