Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

The Robert Greenberg Blog

Gustav Holst (1874-1934)

Dr Bob Prescribes: Gustav Holst – The Planets

December 18th, 2018
Oh my. This was going to be a straightforward review of my favorite recording of one of my favorite orchestral works, Gustav Holst’s The Planets. However, having done my research I have come face to face with an issue and an attendant moral dilemma that has caused me to question whether (or not) I should…

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28 year-old Schubert in 1825

Music History Monday: Buried Treasure

December 17th, 2018
Manuscript of Franz Schubert’s Symphony in B Minor, “Unfinished”, movement 1, page 1 On December 17, 1865 – 153 years ago today – the two complete movements that make up Franz Schubert’s so-called “Unfinished Symphony” received their premiere in Vienna, in a performance conducted by Johann von Herbeck (1831-1877). Schubert had completed those two movements in…

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Robert Greenberg Audio Gear: SONY SACD deck; Klark Technik Equalizer; Krell KSP-7B preamplifier

Dr. Bob Prescribes: Adventures in Geekdom

December 11th, 2018
I am, uncharacteristically, presently screaming with joy; alternately dancing and weeping and generally making a scene in the thankful privacy of my home office/studio. What – pray tell – should have inspired such a broad and sustained outburst of emotion? Have I won the Lottery? Been the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation Grant? Finally binge-watched…

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Boris Godunov

Music History Monday: The Best of Intentions or With Friends Like These…

December 10th, 2018
Boris Godunov On December 10, 1896 (or November 28 in the old-style Russian Julian calendar) – 122 years ago today - Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s rewritten and re-orchestrated version of Modest Mussorgsky’s greatest masterwork, the opera Boris Godunov, received its premiere in St. Petersburg Russia at the Great Hall of the St. Petersburg Conservatory. Rimsky-Korsakov’s version of…

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An idealized portrait of Johann Nepomuk Hummel in his later years

Dr. Bob Prescribes: Hummel: Piano Concertos Opp 89 & 85

December 4th, 2018
Johann Nepomuk Hummel (1778-1837) Hummel as a young man Hummel was born in Pressburg – what is now Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia – on November 14, 1778. He died in Weimar, in what today is central Germany, on October 17, 1837, where he held the position of Kapellmeister for eighteen years.  Hummel was a…

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George Gershwin ca. 1925

Music History Monday: A Concerto, by George!

December 3rd, 2018
George Gershwin ca. 1925 On December 3, 1925 – 93 years ago today – George Gershwin’s Concerto in F for piano and orchestra received its world premiere at Carnegie Hall, with Gershwin at the piano and the New York Symphony Society Orchestra under the baton of Walter Damrosch.  Statement: George Gershwin is among the handful…

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How to Understand and Listen to Great Music - Audio Cassettes

Dr. Bob Prescribes: Superbo di me stesso

November 27th, 2018
Audio tapes: how quaint! I recorded my first course for The Teaching Company (now branded as “The Great Courses”) in May of 1993. That was the first edition of How to Listen to and Understand Great Music. To date, I’ve recorded 666 forty-five minute lectures for The Teaching Company/The Great Courses, and virtually every single…

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Joseph Haydn, forensic reconstruction by Thomas Becker

Music History Monday: That Infernal Beast!

November 26th, 2018
St. Stephen’s Cathedral We mark today the 258th anniversary of the marriage of Joseph Haydn to Maria Anna Aloysia Apollonia Keller in St. Stephen’s Cathedral in the great city of Vienna. The groom was 28 years old and his blushing bride 31. We contemplate the institution of marriage. Marriage is like swinging a golf club:…

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Vocal Sampling

Dr. Bob Prescribes: Vocal Sampling

November 20th, 2018
You're going to thank me for this Dr. Bob's Neighborhood It was Wednesday, September 18, 2002 (I didn’t remember that date; I looked it up). I was stuck in the car, driving somewhere. (Generally but accurately speaking, when you’re driving anywhere in the San Francisco Bay Area, you are very like stuck in the car,…

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Schubert’s and Beethoven’s graves (back right and back left, respectively) in the “Garden of Honor” in Vienna’s Zentralfriedhof

Music History Monday: Schubert’s Death

November 19th, 2018
The building in which Schubert died at Kettenbrückengasse 6 in Vienna November 19 is a sad day for us all. On November 19, 1828 - 190 years ago today – Franz Schubert died in Vienna at his brother Ferdinand’s third floor flat at Kettenbrückengasse 6 (in Schubert’s day, the address was Firmiansgasse 694). The building…

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