Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

The Robert Greenberg Blog

Beethoven smiling

Dr. Bob Prescribes Beethoven Piano Concerto WoO 4

May 26th, 2020
Aw, gosh, jeez, thanks for remembering my birthday! What a birthday rip-off.  Until roughly March 15 of this year, I had always assumed that the two worst birthday rip-offs were being born on December 25 (“we’re giving you a combined birthday/holiday gift this year . . .”) and February 29 (“we’ll celebrate again in four…

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Vienna State Opera House

Music History Monday: If a Building Could Speak, this One Would Sing: The Vienna State Opera House

May 25th, 2020
Vienna State Opera House We mark the opening on May 25, 1869 – 151 years ago today - of the Vienna Court Opera (or Wiener Hofoper), which has been known since 1921 as the Vienna State Opera (or Wiener Staatsoper). The opening was a gala event: a performance of Wolfgang Mozart’s opera Don Giovanni attended…

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The Perfect Martini

The Perfect Martini

May 21st, 2020
Fluids. I am a slave to my fluids, my fluids in the morning and the evening. Judge me not.  In the morning, it’s a big mug of very strong Peet’s Arabian Mocha Java or Mocha Sanani, prepared in a French press. Coffee, like disco, is . . . life. In the early evening (after 6pm)…

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Franz Liszt (1811-1886) in 1839, by Henri Lehmann

Dr. Bob Prescribes Franz Liszt: ‘Transcendental Etudes’

May 19th, 2020
I spent the first few months of this year composing a set of six etudes for piano (posted on Patreon on April 2 and 9). As per my usual MO, I spent a couple of days prior to starting work listening to and/or reading through a batch of etudes by the usual suspects – Chopin,…

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Gustav Mahler in 1907

Music History Monday: Mahler’s Last Words

May 18th, 2020
An already fatally ill Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) returning to Europe from New York, April 1911; he would die a month later in Vienna We mark the passing, on May 18, 1911 – 109 years ago today – of the composer and conductor Gustav Mahler. Mahler, who was born on July 7, 1860 in the Bohemian…

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Berlin circa 1910

Dr. Bob Prescribes The Songs of Irving Berlin

May 12th, 2020
Irving Berlin (1888-1989), circa 1935 Irving Berlin (born Israel Isidore Beilin, 1888-1989) was the greatest songwriter ever to live and work in North America. His songs – for which he wrote both the words and music – capture the spirit and chronicle the events of the first half of twentieth century America in a manner…

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Irving Berlin circa 1930

Music History Monday: The Melody Lingers On: Irving Berlin

May 11th, 2020
Irving Berlin (1888-1989) circa 1930 We mark the birth on May 11, 1888 – 132 years ago today – of the Russian-born American songwriter Irving Berlin (1888-1989). Berlin wrote the words and music to over 1500 songs across a 60-plus year career. He is an American institution, whose life was, according to his obituary in…

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Mozart at the piano with his sister Maria Anna and father Leopold

Dr. Bob Prescribes Mozart Piano Sonatas

May 5th, 2020
My Dr. Bob Prescribes post for October 23, 2018, was titled “Fine Dining”. The post featured Ronald Brautigan’s revelatory performances of Beethoven’s 32 piano sonatas recorded on modern copies of late eighteenth and early nineteenth-century pianos built by Paul McNulty (born in Houston in 1953). (These early pianos are often referred to as “fortepianos”, which…

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The only known image of Bartolomeo Cristofori

Music History Monday: Bartolomeo Cristofori and the Invention of the Piano

May 4th, 2020
The only known image of Bartolomeo Cristofori; this is a photo of the original painting, which was destroyed during World War Two We mark the birth on May 4, 1655 – 365 years ago today – of the inventor, musical instrument builder, and engineer extraordinaire Bartolomeo Cristofori. Though born in the northern Italian city of…

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John Santos

Dr Bob Prescribes John Santos

April 28th, 2020
A couple of weeks ago, I did a Facebook Live show with Julie Stoltz of The Great Courses. When we first discussed doing the show, Julie asked me if I’d give a lecture of some sort after which I would field some questions. I wasn’t terribly interested in doing a lecture; heaven knows, there’s enough…

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