Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

The Robert Greenberg Blog

Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky on March 14, 1893

Music History Monday: His Own Requiem?

October 28th, 2019
We would acknowledge two date-appropriate musical events before moving on to the pirozhki and potatoes of this post. On October 28, 1896 – 123 years ago today – the American composer, conductor, and educator Howard Hanson was born in Wahoo, Nebraska. For an up-close-and-personal on Maestro Hanson and his Symphony No. 2, the “Romantic”, I…

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Ferrari F140 V12 engine

Dr. Bob Prescribes: Mahler, Symphony No. 2 “Resurrection”

October 22nd, 2019
Gregg Valentino, (b. 1960) How much is enough? Everyone, please say hello to Gregg Valentino. (“Hello Gregg.”) For a time, Gregg held the record for having the world’s largest biceps: 28 inches around. Gregg grew those guns through a combination of exercise, steroids, and a really nasty topical oil called “Synthol.” However he managed to…

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Georg Solti (1912-1997)

Music History Monday: Disproportionate Numbers and “The Screaming Skull”

October 21st, 2019
Georg Solti (1912-1997) We mark the birth, on October 21, 1912 – 107 years ago today - of the Hungarian-born pianist and conductor György Stern (better known as Sir Georg Solti) in Budapest, Hungary. Considered one of the greatest conductors to have ever lived, Solti is the Michael Phelps, the Simone Biles of the musical…

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Emil Gilels

Dr. Bob Prescribes Emil Gilels

October 15th, 2019
This post continues the celebration of Beethoven’s upcoming semiquincentennial (250th anniversary of his birth) by featuring what is, for me, my out-of-the-ballpark favorite performance of what is, for me, my favorite Beethoven Piano Concerto. We contemplate, for a moment, youth, innocence, and the inevitable loss of both. Lillian Patricia Clymer Greenberg, age 13, heaven help…

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Harry Lillis “Bing” Crosby

Music History Monday: Der Bingle

October 14th, 2019
Harry Lillis “Bing” (Der Bingle) Crosby (1903-1977) We mark the death on October 14, 1977 – 42 years ago today – of the American singer and actor Harry Lillis “Bing” Crosby of a so-called “widow maker”: a massive, dead-before-he-hit-the-ground heart attack. We sense that he went out the way he would have chosen to go…

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Jessye Norman

Dr. Bob Prescribes: Jessye Norman

October 8th, 2019
Death comes for us all, even the goddesses among us.  Pardon me such a lachrymose opening line, but Jessye Norman died on September 30, 2019 at the age of 74 and how can that be.  I had planned to write today about Johannes Brahms’ glorious vocal quartets (for soprano, alto, tenor, and bass voices and…

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José Feliciano circa 1968

Music History Monday: The Bombs Bursting in Air: Bombing The Star-Spangled Banner

October 7th, 2019 José Feliciano performing the Star-Spangled Banner on October 7, 1968 José Feliciano circa 1968 On October 7, 1968 – 51 years ago today – the Puerto Rican-born singer and songwriter José Feliciano (b. 1945) performed the Star-Spangled Banner in Detroit, before the fifth game of the World Series between the Detroit Tigers and the…

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

Celebrating ZOFO’s 10th Anniversary

October 3rd, 2019 On this past September 15, the amazing/killer/epic-fine piano duo ZOFO (“20-Fingered-Orchrestra) celebrated it’s tenth anniversary. (My Dr. Bob Prescribes post of March 5, 2019 was an undisguised fan-boy paean to this wonderful “ensemble”; it can be read on my Patreon subscription page.) ZOFO — meaning the pianists Keisuke Nakagoshi and Eva-Maria Zimmermann — celebrated their anniversary appropriately,…

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Robert and Clara Schumann in 1847

Dr. Bob Prescribes: Robert Schumann

October 1st, 2019
Robert and Clara in 1847 I have been asked to write a brief program note for the Library of Congress, and it just so happens that they have asked me to write about one of my favorite performing ensembles performing some of my absolutely favorite music. Talk about two birds with one stone! I will…

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Diane Damrau as the Queen of the Night

Music History Monday: Magic

September 30th, 2019
It was on September 30, 1791 – 228 years ago today – that Wolfgang Mozart’s opera-slash-singspiel, The Magic Flute, received its premiere at the Freihaustheater auf der Wieden in Vienna, conducted by Mozart himself.  Wolfgang Mozart (1756-1791) in 1789, by Doris Stock In terms of its story arc, The Magic Flute is a mess. Like…

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