Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

The Robert Greenberg Blog

Postcard for the premiere performance of Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll, Christmas day 1876, at Villa Tribschen on Lake Lucerne

Dr. Bob Prescribes Siegfried Idyll

August 18th, 2020
Advertising postcard picturing Wagner (with his father-in-law Franz Liszt directly behind him) greeting Kaiser Wilhelm I at the inaugural Bayreuth Festival in 1876 Yesterday’s Music History Monday marked the 144th anniversary of the premiere of Richard Wagner’s music drama Götterdämmerung (“The Twilight of the Gods), the fourth and final installment of his epic tetralogy The…

Continue Reading

Richard Wagner’s “Festival Theater” in Bayreuth

Music History Monday: The Miracle at Bayreuth!

August 17th, 2020
Richard Wagner’s “Festival Theater” in Bayreuth On August 17, 1876 – 144 years ago today – Richard Wagner’s music drama Götterdämmerung (“Twilight of the Gods”) received its premiere in his newly-opened “Festival Theater” in Bayreuth, Germany. That performance of Götterdämmerung brought to its conclusion the first production of Wagner’s epic four evening tetralogy, The Ring…

Continue Reading

The first page of Mozart’s manuscript of the Jupiter Symphony

Dr. Bob Prescribes: Mozart, Symphony in C major, “Jupiter”, K. 551

August 12th, 2020
The first page of Mozart’s manuscript of the Jupiter Symphony; note the date of completion appended to the upper right-hand corner: “10 Aug 1788” Nicknames. We turn to that paragon of informational accuracy, Wikipedia, for the following definition of the word “nickname”: “A nickname is a substitute for the proper name of a familiar person, place or…

Continue Reading

Mozart in 1789

Music History Monday: Mozart’s “Jupiter” Symphony and the Summer of 1788

August 10th, 2020
Mozart in 1789 by the German portrait artist Dora (Doris, Dorothea) Stock (1760-1832) We mark the completion, on August 10, 1788 – 232 years ago today – of Mozart’s Symphony in C major, catalogued by Ludwig Köchel as K. 551 and nicknamed the “Jupiter”. It was Mozart’s final symphony, a towering, innovative masterwork, the greatest…

Continue Reading

Louise Farrenc

Dr. Bob Prescribes Louise Farrenc

August 4th, 2020
Louise Farrenc (1804-1875) Soon after I opened up shop on Patreon, I was asked to comment on the music of Louise Farrenc (1804-1875). Not for the first time and certainly not for the last, I was brought up short . . . Louise who? I’m not sure I was brave enough to admit my ignorance,…

Continue Reading

Teatro alla Scala

Music History Monday: The Grandmother of them all: the Teatro alla Scala

August 3rd, 2020
Teatro alla Scala We mark the opening on August 3, 1778 – 242 years today – of the grandmother of all opera houses, the Teatro alla Scala, or simply “La Scala.” The inaugural performance was the premiere of Antonio Salieri's opera Europa Riconosciuta, or “Europe Rewarded”.  Professional baseball in a time of COVID I trust…

Continue Reading

Ferruccio Busoni in 1913

Dr. Bob Prescribes Ferruccio Busoni: Fantasia Contrappuntistica

July 28th, 2020
Ferruccio Busoni (1866-1924) in 1913 Yesterday’s Music History Monday post marked the death on July 27, 1924 of the musical polymath Ferruccio Busoni (1866-1924). Today’s Dr. Bob Prescribes post picks up where yesterday’s Music History Monday left off, with an examination of what is, perhaps, Busoni’s single most representative work: his massive, 30-plus minute-long Fantasia…

Continue Reading

Ferruccio Busoni in 1906

Music History Monday: Ferruccio Busoni

July 27th, 2020
Ferruccio Busoni (1866-1924) in 1906 We mark the death on July 27, 1924 – 96 years ago today – of the composer and pianist Ferruccio Busoni, who great fame rests on having invented the ice-smoothing machine popularized by none-other-than Charles Schulz’s Snoopy. Nah, I’m just messing with you: it was Frank Zamboni, 1901-1988, who invented…

Continue Reading

Dmitri Dmitriyevich Shostakovich on the cover of Time magazine, July 20, 1942

Music History Monday: Shostakovich: Time magazine, a String Quartet, and a Symphony!

July 20th, 2020
Dmitri Dmitriyevich Shostakovich (1906-1975) on the cover of Time magazine, July 20, 1942 July 20th was a very important date in the life of the Soviet composer Dmitri Dmitriyevich Shostakovich. On July 20, 1942 – 78 years ago today – he appeared on the cover of Time magazine, wearing his Leningrad firefighter’s helmet and becoming,…

Continue Reading

Ludwig van Beethoven circa 1806

Dr. Bob Prescribes Beethoven Piano Concerto in D, Op. 61a

July 14th, 2020
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) circa 1806 Compositionally, 1806 was a miraculous year for Herr Ludwig van Beethoven. Among the works he completed that year were the Piano Sonata in F minor, the Appassionata, Op. 57; the Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major, Op. 58; the three so-called “Razumovsky” String Quartets, Op. 59, nos. 1,…

Continue Reading