Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

The Robert Greenberg Blog

Carlo Broschi, “Farinelli” in 1734 by Bartolomeo Nazari

Music History Monday: Melding with the Geldings, or Balls to the Wall

September 16th, 2019
(What, you don’t “like” my title?  Please, don’t get testes about it.) Carlo Broschi, “Farinelli” (1705-1782) in 1734 by Bartolomeo Nazari We note the death on September 16, 1782 – 237 years ago today – of one of the greatest opera singers to have ever lived, the celebrated Italian castrato Carlo Maria Michelangelo Nicola Broschi,…

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Henryk Mikołaj Górecki

Dr. Bob Prescribes Górecki: Symphony No. 3

September 10th, 2019
I recorded a course entitled Music as a Mirror of History for The Great Courses/Teaching Company in 2015. The concept behind the course was to feature works composed in direct response to historical events, and to discuss those musical works in the context of the events that inspired them. The resulting course was as much…

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Elvis Presley and Ed Sullivan

Music History Monday: Elvis and the Tube

September 9th, 2019
Elvis Presley (1935-1977) and Ed Sullivan (1901-1974) On September 9, 1956 – 63 years ago today – Elvis Presley made his first appearance, live, on The Ed Sullivan Show. (The show was indeed broadcast live in the Eastern and Central time zones, though delayed for the Mountain and Pacific time zones.) It has been suggested…

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Leonard Bernstein in 1977

Dr. Bob Prescribes: Symphonic Dances from West Side Story

September 3rd, 2019
Jerome Robbins leading the original Broadway cast of West Side Story in rehearsal I am going to say it upfront; abuse me as you wish. In my humble but not entirely ill-informed opinion, West Side Story – with its story concept by William Shakespeare, “book” (play) by Arthur Laurents, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, choreography and…

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The Great Fire: The City of London burns, as seen from the Thames

Music History Monday: Light My Fire

September 2nd, 2019
45-rpm single of The Doors Light My Fire, recorded in August 1966 and released in January 1967 This post - Music History Monday - would not be possible without the internet. In a matter of seconds, I - or any one of us - can access a seemingly innumerable number of sites that will afford…

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Beethoven at age 13

Dr. Bob Prescribes: Beethoven Piano Quartet No. 3, WoO 36

August 27th, 2019
Beethoven (1770-1827) at 13 The year 2020 will mark our adored Louis van Beethoven’s 250th birthday. As discussed in Dr. Bob Prescribes on July 23, among my contributions to the coming year-of-living-Beethoven hoopla will be a series of posts exploring some of Beethoven’s lesser-known works and/or performances we should all know about. On July 23,…

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Lotte Lehmann circa 1935

Music History Monday: Lotte Lehmann

August 26th, 2019
Lotte Lehmann (1888-1976) circa 1935 “She had only to walk on stage to reduce the audience to a melting blob” On August 26, 1976 – 43 years ago today – the German-born soprano, opera star, lieder singer, movie actress, internationally renowned teacher, music historian and author, published poet, painter and illustrator Lotte Lehmann died in…

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Buddy Rich, circa 1968

Dr. Bob Prescribes: The Buddy Rich Big Band

August 20th, 2019
Buddy Rich, circa 1968 A confession: when it comes to jazz bands large and small, I generally dislike drum solos. My bad; color me a bore. But here’s the thing: if I buy a Keith Jarrett album, for example, I want to hear Keith Jarrett and not, with all due respect to the brilliant drummer…

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Monteverdi circa 1740

Music History Monday: The Gig of a Lifetime!

August 19th, 2019
Monteverdi (1567-1643) in 1630, painted by Bernardo Strozzi On August 19, 1613 – 406 years ago today - Claudio Monteverdi was appointed Maestro di Capella di San Marco: the director of music at Venice’s St. Mark’s Basilica. It was the gig of a lifetime! There’s no doubt about it: Claudio Monteverdi was one of the…

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Galina Ustvoslkaya in 1959

Dr. Bob Prescribes: Galina Ustvolskaya

August 13th, 2019
I have been appointed the “dramaturge” (or “dramaturg”) of The Phoenix Symphony (TPS). As far as Scrabble words go, “dramaturge” isn’t worth a whole lot: just 14 points barring any Premium Squares (which double or triple the value of letters or words). It is, however, a rather more useful crossword puzzle word, with or without…

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