Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

The Robert Greenberg Blog

Erroll Louis Garner

Dr. Bob Prescribes: Erroll Garner

March 12th, 2019
Erroll Garner performs Col Porter’s I Get a Kick Out of You, circa 1960: Erroll Louis Garner (1923-1977) was a 5’2” miracle: a virtuoso jazz pianist whose performances had the nuanced textures of big band charts; whose sheer, overpowering and contagious joy could not help but overwhelm listeners; who created a style of playing…

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The Maxim Gorky Theater

Music History Monday: The “Revival” Begins

March 11th, 2019
On March 11, 1829 – 190 years ago today – the 20-year-old Felix Mendelssohn conducted a heavily edited version of Johann Sebastian Bach’s sacred oratorio St. Matthew’s Passion at the Singakademie in Berlin. Located just north of the Unter den Linden and know today as the “Maxim Gorky Theater”, the Singakademie was, for many years,…

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Piano Duet ZOFO and yours truly on stage together, March 2018

Dr. Bob Prescribes: Piano Duets

March 5th, 2019
Transcriptions Piano Duet ZOFO and yours truly on stage together, March 2018 Today, we take for granted our ability to hear any music at any time. We live in the golden age of the couch potato; we have merely to flick our fingers (or thumbs!) and almost anything is available to us, much of it…

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Hotel Metropole, photographed by yours truly in 2016

Music History Monday: The Red Priest

March 4th, 2019
Probable portrait of Antonio Vivaldi, ca. 1723 On March 4, 1678 – 341 years ago today – the Italian composer, violinist, priest and rapscallion Antonio Vivaldi was born in Venice. Yes, I know we are all “one-of-a-kind” and that that phrase is way overworked, but truly, Antonio Lucio Vivaldi was a genre unto himself! Vivaldi…

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Gioachino Rossini (1792-1868)

Dr. Bob Prescribes – Rossini: The Barber of Seville

February 26th, 2019
Gioachino Rossini (1792-1868) Oft’ have I moaned and groaned about the licensing contracts signed by The Teaching Company/Great Courses and various recording companies, contracts that precluded me from identifying the performers heard on the musical excerpts in my courses. Yes indeed, this is entirely counter-intuitive; one would think that the record companies would want me…

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Myra Hess performing at the National Gallery

Music History Monday: Myra Hess

February 25th, 2019
Myra Hess (1890-1965) On February 25, 1890 – 129 years ago today – the pianist Julia Myra Hess was born in Hampstead in North West London. In a “Dr. Bob Prescribes” post, I rather energetically took the pianist Keith Jarrett to task for behaving like a brat – for haranguing and cursing at his audiences…

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Olly Wilson, 1937-2018

Patron Forum: Olly Wilson and Nerdy Arcana

February 21st, 2019
Olly Wilson, 1937-2018 On Saturday, February 16, I was honored to be the first speaker at a Memorial Symposium at the University of California, Berkeley for my friend and teacher, Olly Wilson. Olly – who died on March 12, 2018 - was a distinguished composer, musicologist, and author. His obituary can be read in The…

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Dr. Bob Prescribes: Don Giovanni

February 19th, 2019
Mozart in 1780, the year he composed Idomeneo at age 26 This Thursday – on September 21st – I will be giving a public lecture at UCLA’s Royce Hall entitled “Will the Real Mozart Please Stand Up?” On Saturday the 23rd, I will lead a two-hour seminar on Mozart’s opera Don Giovanni, which for logistical…

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Cover page of the first edition of Beethoven’s Piano Sonata in F Minor, Op. 57

Music History Monday: Appassionata

February 18th, 2019
Cover page of the first edition of Beethoven’s Piano Sonata in F Minor, Op. 57 On February 18, 1807 – 212 years ago today – Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 23 in F Minor, nicknamed by the publisher the “Appassionata”, was published in Vienna. The “Appassionata” is one of Beethoven’s most spectacular works, a piano sonata…

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Béla Fleck and Chick Corea

Dr. Bob Prescribes: Chick Corea and Béla Fleck

February 12th, 2019
Chick Corea My Dr. Bob Prescribes post of December 25, 2018 was dedicated to one of my very favorite jazz pianists, the late, great, Dave McKenna. During the course of that post, I offered up a short list of those jazz pianists who have most powerfully influenced my own playing. (I am a designated Steinway…

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