Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

The Robert Greenberg Blog

Debussy (fourth from left at top, wearing the top hat) on the steps of the Villa Medici in Rome among his “colleagues”; circa 1886

Dr. Bob Prescribes Claude Debussy

August 24th, 2022
An unhappy Claude Debussy photographed in Rome in 1885, at the age of 23 Picking Up from Where We Left Off from Monday’s Music History Monday . . . Claude Debussy (1862-1918), preternaturally talented little cocker that he was, entered the Paris Conservatoire in 1872 at the age of ten. He remained there for twelve…

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Music History Monday: Debussy

August 22nd, 2022
Claude Debussy (1862-1918) in 1902 We celebrate the birth on August 22, 1862 – 160 years ago today - of the French composer and pianist Claude Debussy.  Born in the Paris suburb of St. Germain-en-Laye, he died in Paris on March 25, 1918, at the age of 55.  Let’s tell it like it is: Monsieur…

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Woodstock Festival, Day 2, July 16, 1969: what a crowd of over 450,000 people looks like

Dr. Bob Prescribes: Woodstock: 3 Days of Peace and Music

August 16th, 2022
Indulge me, please, the musings of a 68-year-old baby boomer. Aging sucks. Like you needed me to tell you, right? I’m not just talking about our knees, shoulders, fingers, hairlines and waistlines; sagging, spotted skin; sore hips, fatty livers, and forgetfulness; and the terrible knowledge that our physical discomfort notwithstanding, our time on this earth…

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Woodstock Festival co-creator principal producer, Michael Lange at center, during the festival

Music History Monday: Woodstock: A Triumph of Locational Branding!

August 15th, 2022
We mark the opening of the so-called “Woodstock Festival” on August 15, 1969 – 53 years ago today - “so-called” for the following reasons. “Woodstock.” Even without considering the original festival that bears its name, “Woodstock”, as a placename has a homey, countryside-like quality to it. And a beautiful, quaint town it is, with a…

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The Miles Davis Sextet in the recording studio; left-to-right: Bill Evans. Miles Davis, Cannonball Adderley, and John Coltrane; not pictured, Paul Chambers and Jimmy Cobb

Dr. Bob Prescribes Miles Davis – Kind of Blue

August 9th, 2022
Miles Davis Sextet performing live circa 1959; left-to-right Bill Evans, Paul Chambers, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Julian “Cannonball” Adderley; not in photo, Jimmy Cobb We must contemplate the weighty. Jazz is, by its very nature, a conversational and dynamic art form, in which performers improvise on a chord progression or on a series of scales…

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The Beatles - Abbey Road album cover: photo by Iain Macmillan, design by John Kosh

Music History Monday: Abbey Road, and This and That

August 8th, 2022
August 8 is a great day, a signal day, an epic day for both good and bad reasons in the history of popular, rock, and jazz music.  We’d observe a few of today’s date-related events before moving on to our featured story. First, with heads respectfully bowed, we would note some of those who have…

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Wilhelm Friedemann Bach (1710-1784) circa 1725, at the age of 15

Dr. Bob Prescribes Wilhelm Friedemann Bach

August 2nd, 2022
Wilhelm Friedemann Bach (1710-1784) circa 1725, at the age of 15 Weimar On July 14, 1708, the newly appointed court organist Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) and his wife Maria Barbara Bach (1684-1720) arrived in the Thuringian (central German) city of Weimar from Bach’s previous post in the Thuringian city of Mühlhausen.  The young couple moved…

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Wilhelm Friedemann Bach (1710-1784) circa 1760, oil on canvas by Wilhelm Weitsch

Music History Monday: The Wayward Bach, His Wayward Daughter, and the Bachs of Oklahoma

August 1st, 2022
Wilhelm Friedemann Bach (1710-1784) circa 1760, oil on canvas by Wilhelm Weitsch We mark the death on August 1, 1784 – 238 years ago today – of the German composer and organist Wilhelm Friedemann Bach in Berlin at the age of 73.  Born in the central German city of Weimar on November 22, 1710, Wilhelm…

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Thomas Hampson in 2014

Dr. Bob Prescribes Thomas Hampson

July 26th, 2022
Back on June 21, in my Dr. Bob Prescribes post entitled “The Joys of Bassi”, I asserted that, in my experience, baritones, bass-baritones, and bass singers – like the people that play their instrumental equivalents, the string bass and low brass – are the salts of the earth of the vocal world. I observed that,…

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Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton (1926-1984)

Music History Monday: Under the Covers

July 25th, 2022
Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton (1926-1984) We mark the death on July 25, 1984 – 38 years ago today – of the American Rhythm and Blues singer Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton.  Born on December 11, 1926, she died in Los Angeles of both heart and liver disease brought on by alcohol abuse.  According to…

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