Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

The Robert Greenberg Blog

George Gershwin

Dr. Bob Prescribes George Gershwin Songs

October 20th, 2020
George Gershwin (1898-1937) Two weeks ago, my Dr. Bob Prescribes post featured the guitarist Tommy Emmanuel, despite the fact that it would have been entirely appropriate – given the Music History Monday post the day before on Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice - to feature a post on that opera. Given yesterday’s Music History Monday post…

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Franz Schubert in 1825

Franz Schubert’s “Gretchen am Spinnrade”

October 19th, 2020
Franz Peter Schubert (1797-1828) in 1825, watercolor by Wilhelm August Rieder On October 19, 1814 – 206 years ago today – Franz Schubert composed his first masterwork, the song Gretchen am Spinnrade – “Gretchen at the Spinning Wheel” – for solo voice and piano, on a text by Johann von Goethe. Schubert was 17 years…

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Ralph Vaughn Williams in 1949

Dr. Bob Prescribes Ralph Vaughan Williams: Symphony No. 5

October 13th, 2020
We are compelled, for a moment, to discuss the food of the British Isles. We ask: why should such a sophisticated and culturally diverse nation – one just a few miles away from France - be so gastronomically bereft by comparison? How many of us would honestly prefer an English kidney pudding to a French…

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Music History Monday: And Please, Don’t Call Me “Ralph”!

October 12th, 2020
Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) in 1921 We mark the birth on October 12, 1872 – 148 years ago today – of the English composer, conductor, folksong collector and teacher Ralph (R-A-L-P-H, pronounced “Rayf”) Vaughan Williams in the village of Down Ampney, in the Cotswold district of Gloucester, 75 miles west of London. He died in…

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Tommy Emmanuel

Dr. Bob Prescribes Tommy Emmanuel

October 6th, 2020
Tommy Emmanuel (born 1955) As per my usual MO, my original intention for today’s Dr. Bob Prescribes post was to follow up on yesterday’s Music History Monday with a recommendation for Christoph Willibald Gluck’s opera, Orfeo ed Euridice. Composed in 1762, it is the earliest opera in the standard operatic repertoire today. However, my present…

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Christoph Willibald Gluck at the clavichord, painted in 1775

Music History Monday: Gluck and Orfeo ed Euridice

October 5th, 2020
Christoph Willibald Gluck (1714-1787) at the clavichord, painted in 1775 by Joseph Duplessis We mark the premiere performance on October 5, 1762 – 258 years ago today – of Christoph Willibald Gluck’s opera Orfeo ed Euridice at the Burgtheater in Vienna, in the presence of Empress Maria Theresa her very self.  The history of opera…

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A modern soprano clarinet

Dr. Bob Prescribes Mozart: Quintet for Clarinet and Strings

September 29th, 2020
This post is a sort of hybrid of what we might call a combination of “Music History Tuesday” (if such a thing actually existed) and Dr. Bob Prescribes. Here we go! Mozart in 1789 by the German portrait artist Dora (Doris, Dorothea) Stock (1760-1832) We mark the completion – on September 29, 1789 – 231…

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Music History Monday: The Planets

September 28th, 2020
Gustav Holst (1874-1934) We mark the premiere performance - on September 28, 1918 – 102 years ago today – of Gustav Holst’s The Planets in Queen’s Hall, London, under the baton of Adrian Boult. To hear Holst (1874-1934) tell it, The Planets became an albatross around his neck; a monkey on his back; a large,…

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Stravinsky in 1921

Dr. Bob Prescribes Stravinsky’s “Les Noces”

September 22nd, 2020
Stravinsky (1882-1971) in 1921 When discussing the long compositional life of Igor Stravinsky (he completed his first masterwork, The Firebird, in 1910; his last, Requiem Canticles, in 1966 [see Dr. Bob Prescribes for a post on the latter April 7, 2020]), his output is often conveniently divided into three large compositional “periods”: his “Russian period”…

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Stravinsky with his children in Morges, Switzerland, 1915

Music History Monday: The Prodigal Son Returns

September 21st, 2020
On September 21, 1962 – 58 years ago today – the composer Igor Stravinsky returned to Russia for the first time in 48 years: he had been gone since 1914. Stravinsky’s parents Fyodor Ignatievich Stravinsky (1843-1902) and Anna Kirillovna Stravinskaya (born Kholodovskaya, 1854-1939) in 1874 Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky was born on June 17, 1882 in…

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