Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

The Robert Greenberg Blog

Yehudi Menuhin (1916-1999)

Music History Monday: One of the Really Good Guys

April 22nd, 2024
Yehudi Menuhin (1916-1999) We mark the birth on April 22, 1916 – 108 years ago today - of one of the really good guys of twentieth century music: the American-British violinist, conductor, and teacher Yehudi Menuhin. A reminder: because of my trip to Vienna, I am still – for this week – posting abbreviated Music History…

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Bessie Smith, circa 1923

Music History Monday Replay: “The Empress” – Bessie Smith

April 15th, 2024
I am writing this post from my hotel room in what is presently (but sadly, not for long) warm and sunny Vienna.  As I mentioned last week, I will be here for eight days acting as “color commentator” for a musical tour of the city sponsored by Wondrium (a.k.a. The Teaching Company/The Great Courses).  I…

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Beethoven (1770-1827) in 1820, painted by Joseph Karl Stieler

Dr. Bob Prescribes Ludwig van Beethoven, Diabelli Variations for piano

April 9th, 2024
Beethoven (1770-1827) in 1820, painted by Joseph Karl Stieler The Project In early 1819, the Vienna-based music publisher Anton Diabelli (1781-1858) had what was a great idea for a charity project. He sent a brief waltz of his own composition to 50 composers living in Austria and invited each of them to compose a single…

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Anton Diabelli (1781-1858)

Music History Monday: The Guy Who Wrote the “Waltz”

April 8th, 2024
Anton Diabelli (1781-1858) We mark the death on April 8, 1858 – 166 years ago today – of the Austrian composer, editor, and music publisher Anton Diabelli in Vienna, at the age of 76.  Born on September 5, 1781, his enduring fame is based on a waltz of his composition that became the basis for…

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Dylan circa 2016

Dr. Bob Prescribes Bob Dylan: the Television Commercials

April 2nd, 2024
For the second week in a row, I’m offering up a different sort of Dr. Bob Prescribes (DBP) post.  Yesterday’s Music History Monday marked the private ceremony, held on April 1, 2017, during which Bob Dylan received his Novel Prize for Literature.  Typically, if I were to follow my usual modus operandi in today’s DBP,…

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Bob Dylan (born 1941) in 2017

Music History Monday: Bob Dylan: Nobel Laureate

April 1st, 2024
Bob Dylan (born 1941) in 2017 On April 1, 2017 – 7 years ago today – Bob Dylan (born Robert Allen Zimmerman, 1941) was awarded his Nobel Prize in Literature in a private ceremony held at an undisclosed location in Stockholm, Sweden.  At the ceremony, Dylan received his gold Nobel Prize medal and his Nobel…

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Toscanini, circa 1937

Dr. Bob Prescribes: Arturo Toscanini

March 27th, 2024
Today’s Dr. Bob Prescribes post takes a different tack than usual.  Rather than prescribing/recommending a particular CD (or DVD, or book), today’s post will feature a series of links to various video performances of Arturo Toscanini conducting the NBC Symphony, interviews with people who knew him, and audio recordings of a very few of his…

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Arturo Toscanini (1867-1957) circa 1890

Music History Monday: The Towering Inferno

March 25th, 2024
Arturo Toscanini (1867-1957) circa 1890 We mark the birth on March 25, 1867 – 157 years ago today – of the cellist and conductor Arturo Toscanini, in the city of Parma, in what was then the Kingdom of Italy.  He died, at the age of 89, on January 16, 1957, at his home in the…

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Scheherazade and the Sultan, by Ferdinand Keller, 1880

Dr. Bob Prescribes: Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov – Scheherazade

March 19th, 2024
We begin where we left off in yesterday’s Music History Monday post, with what was the closing statement: Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908) circa 1886 “It's a fact: the very history of twentieth century Russian, Russian expatriate, and Soviet composers starts with Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908), whose own roots trace back through The Five to Glinka and the…

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Nikolai Andreyevich Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908), painted in 1896 by Ilya Repin

Music History Monday: Fake It ‘til You Make It

March 18th, 2024
Nikolai Andreyevich Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908), painted in 1896 by Ilya Repin We mark the birth of the Russian composer Nikolai Andreyevich Rimsky-Korsakov on March 18, 1844: 180 years ago today.  Born in the Russian town of Tikhvin – roughly 120 miles east of St. Petersburg - Rimsky-Korsakov died at the age of 64, on June 21,…

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