Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

The Robert Greenberg Blog

Composer David Diamond in 1987

Dr. Bob Prescribes: David Diamond

May 22nd, 2019
David Diamond in 1987 David Leo Diamond (1915-2005) composed eleven symphonies. When he died at 89 of congestive heart failure on June 13, 2005 in the Town of Brighten – located on the southeastern border of his native city of Rochester, New York – he left no family or heirs. A prolific composer, his greatest…

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Clara Schumann in late 1854

Music History Monday: Battered but Unbroken

May 20th, 2019
Clara Schumann in 1857, age 38 With our heads bowed and our hands on our hearts, we mark the death – 123 years ago today – of the pianist and composer Clara Wieck Schumann, who died of a stroke at the age of 76 on May 20, 1896. She was among the most outstanding pianists…

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Photo of Henry Cowell

Dr. Bob Prescribes Henry Cowell

May 14th, 2019
Henry Cowell | Photo © Sidney Cowell Henry Cowell was an American iconoclast: a maverick composer who created his own most original musical language in response to a particular, uniquely “American” experience. A list of such radical American composers begins with Cowell’s personal hero and role model, Charles Ives and continues with Cowell’s own students…

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Portrait of Mozart in 1777

Music History Monday: A Child (and a Man!) of the Theater

May 13th, 2019
On this day in 1767 – 252 years ago today – Wolfgang Mozart’s first opera, entitled Apollo and Hyacinthus received its premiere in Mozart’s hometown of Salzburg. The composer was 11 years old. Mozart in 1777. Mozart’s father Leopold wrote of this portrait, ”It has little value as a piece of art, but as to…

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28 year-old Schubert in 1825

Dr. Bob Prescribes: Schubert, String Quartet No. 14

May 7th, 2019
Rolling Stone Magazine cover; issue 963; December 9, 2004 I am taking a one-week hiatus from my celebration of mid-century American orchestral composers because of something I wrote yesterday in Music History Monday for May 6, 2019. That post was about the inception of the song (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction by Keith Richards.  Here’s…

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Keith Richards at RCA studios in Hollywood California

Music History Monday: How We Love Our Toys!

May 6th, 2019
Keith Richards (born 1943) in 1965 It was most likely sometime during the evening of May 6, 1965 – 54 years ago today – that Keith Richards, the lead guitar player for the Rolling Stones, worked out the opening riff for the song (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction. Satisfaction went on to become one of…

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Samuel Barber

Dr. Bob Prescribes: Samuel Barber – Symphony No. 1

April 30th, 2019
Samuel Barber (1910-1981) Let’s get this out of the way right away: Samuel Barber is among the greatest composers ever born in the United States, a composer of operas, symphonies, concerti, numerous other orchestral works and piles of chamber music, piano music, choral works and songs. Almost all of his music has been published and…

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A rather flattering portrait Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) by Johann Carl Rößler, 1799

Music History Monday: The Creation

April 29th, 2019
A rather flattering portrait Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) by Johann Carl Rößler, 1799 On April 29, 1798 – 221 years ago today – Joseph Haydn’s oratorio The Creation was first performed before a star-studded, invitation-only audience at the Schwarzenberg Palace in Vienna.  Getting older, or “when I’m 65.” An ugly confession. Eleven days ago, on April…

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Peter Mennin (1923-1983)

Dr. Bob Prescribes: Peter Mennin

April 24th, 2019
Peter Mennin (1923-1983) Peter Mennin was a symphonist: of his 26 works, 9 were symphonies.  (Let’s get this “the curse of the 9-thing” out of the way here and now. Mennin completed his Ninth Symphony in 1981, at the age of 58. In 1982, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He died on June 17,…

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Johann Sebastian Bach in 1746

Music History Monday: A Marriage of Convenience

April 22nd, 2019
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) in 1746, by Elias Gottlob Haussmann On April 22, 1723 – 296 years ago today – the 38-year-old Johann Sebastian Bach was elected music director and cantor of St. Thomas church in Leipzig. Despite the fact that it was a prestigious position, Bach felt scant enthusiasm for the job and considered…

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