Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

The Robert Greenberg Blog

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) in 1746, the year he completed the final version of the St Matthew Passion

Dr. Bob Prescribes Johann Sebastian Bach: St. Matthew Passion

April 18th, 2023
The Easter Holiday has come and gone, but the melody lingers.  The “melody” to which I specifically refer is Johann Sebastian Bach’s epic St Matthew Passion, which was first performed on Good Friday, April 11, 1727, at the St. Thomas Church (or Thomaskirche) in the Saxon city of Leipzig.  Revised versions of the St Matthew…

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Self-caricature by Caruso himself, making his first records in a hotel room in Milan in April 1902; note the drawing of Nipper the dog listening to “his master’s voice” at the upper right, originally the logo of Emile Berliner’s The Gramophone Company

Music History Monday: I Left My Nerve in San Francisco

April 17th, 2023
Grand Opera House (originally “Wade’s Opera House”), San Francisco, in 1881 We mark the final San Francisco performance - on the evening of Tuesday, April 17, 1906, 117 years ago today – of the great Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1874-1921).  That performance at the no longer extant Grand Opera House at No. 2 Mission Street…

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Johannes Brahms at twenty

Dr. Bob Prescribes Johannes Brahms: A German Requiem

April 11th, 2023
Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) was born and raised in the cold, dank, north German city of Hamburg. (As an adult, he habitually vacationed in the warmer climes of Italy; it would seem that it took him half a lifetime to warm his frozen bones!) Johannes Brahms at twenty Physically, Brahms matured very slowly. By the age…

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Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) in 1866

Music History Monday: A Mama’s Boy, and Proud of It!

April 10th, 2023
We mark the premiere on April 10, 1868 – 155 years ago today – of Johannes Brahms’ magnificent A German Requiem, for vocal soloists, chorus, and orchestra. Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) in 1866 Johannes Brahms, Again? I know I’ve been going heavy on Brahms (1833-1897) as of late. I would apologize if he wasn’t so fascinating…

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Dave McKenna in 1990, age 60

Dr. Bob Prescribes Dave McKenna, solo piano

April 4th, 2023
It Happens Every Spring Five days ago, on March 30, 2023, something took place that hadn’t happened since 1968, 55 years ago: major league baseball’s Opening Day took place with all thirty teams starting their season on the same day. I am aware that this year, spring technically began on March 20, 2023.  But let’s…

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Johannes Brahms on his deathbed, April 1897

Music History Monday: The Death of Johannes Brahms

April 3rd, 2023
Johannes Brahms on his deathbed, April 1897 We mark the death on April 3, 1897 – 126 years ago today – of the German composer and pianist Johannes Brahms at the age of 63.  One of the great ones and along with Sebastian Bach and Louis van Beethoven one of the three bees - the…

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Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) in 1791, by John Hoppner

Dr. Bob Prescribes Joseph Haydn, Mass in the Time of War

March 28th, 2023
Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) in 1791, by John Hoppner Haydn’s Masses During the course of his career, Haydn composed a total of fourteen settings of the mass.  This means he set the same words to music fourteen times.  One might think that in doing so, Haydn could not possibly have avoided repeating himself, but one would…

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Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) in 1791, at the age of 59

Music History Monday: Papa’s Last Appearance

March 27th, 2023
A quick comment in reference to the title of today’s post, “Papa’s Last Appearance.” Not that you really need me to tell you, but by “Papa” we are not referring to Papa John Schnatter, who founded “Papa John’s Pizza” in 1984.  Neither are we referring to the stand-up comedian Tom Papa, the sportscaster Greg Papa,…

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Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971) and Vaslav Nijinsky (1889-1950) in 1911; Nijinsky is costumed as Petrushka

Dr. Bob Prescribes Igor Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring (1912)

March 21st, 2023
“What Right Had He to Write This Thing?” Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971) and Vaslav Nijinsky (1889-1950) in 1911; Nijinsky is costumed as Petrushka A happy vernal equinox to everyone and sundry! Yes, technically the first day of spring in 2023 was yesterday, March 20. But I was taught that the first day of spring is usually…

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John Lennon (1940-1980) and Yoko Ono (born 1933) immediately after their wedding in Gibraltar (the famed “rock” is in the background); John is holding their marriage certificate over his head

Music History Monday: Why All the Hate?

March 20th, 2023
We mark the wedding on March 20, 1969 – 54 years ago today – between the Liverpool-born Beatle John Lennon (1940-1980) and the Tokyo-born artist and musician Yoko Ono (born 1933).  Their wedding took place in the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar, at the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula.  At the time of their…

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