Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

The Robert Greenberg Blog

Dr. Bob Prescribes Holiday Music

December 24th, 2019
I offer up a hot, steaming mug (or if you prefer, an ice-cold martini) of gratitude to Jack Conte, who created the Patreon platform in 2013, and to my wonderful patrons for having given me the wherewithal to write, opine, and on occasion bloviate on topics musical.  I will in today’s Dr. Bob Prescribes acknowledge…

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Festivus Pole

Music History Monday: Is There Something Strange in the Air?

December 23rd, 2019
As readers of this blog and/or listeners to this podcast are aware, some Mondays present us with a plethora, a Mother’s Day buffet of musical topics from which to choose, while others are as dry as a perfect martini. During such days of topical feast or famine, coming up with a topic is equally challenging:…

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Dr. Bob Prescribes: The Life and Times of Beethoven – The First Angry Man

December 17th, 2019
Written and recorded by yours truly, Robert GreenbergAudible Originals, 2019 In February of this year, I was asked to be among the first “influencers” (yes, that’s how I was referred to: I, who am incapable of “influencing” my daughter to turn out the lights when she’s left a room or my son to flush the…

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Beethoven portrait in oils (detail) by Joseph Carl Stieler, 1820

Music History Monday: The Man

December 16th, 2019
Beethoven (1770-1827), portrait in oils (detail) by Joseph Carl Stieler, 1820 We mark the birth on December 16, 1770 – 249 years ago today – of Ludwig, or Louis, or Luigi (he went by all three names) van Beethoven, in the Rhineland city of Bonn. Although there is no documentary evidence confirming that Beethoven was…

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Nicolas Slonimsky (1893-1995)

Dr. Bob Prescribes Nicolas Slonimsky

December 10th, 2019
Nicolas Slonimsky (1893-1995) My Music History Monday post of November 25 last discussed, among other things, the role of the critic. Over the course of that post I asserted that “painful to the critical community though it may be, the fact remains that the surest way for a critic to be remembered is to get…

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Mikhail Ivanovich Glinka (1804-1857) in 1840

Music History Monday: A Life for the Tsar

December 9th, 2019
Mikhail Ivanovich Glinka (1804-1857) in 1840 On December 9, 1836 (or November 27, 1836 in the old style, Russian Julian calendar), Mikhail Glinka’s opera A Life for the Tsar received its premiere at the Imperial Bolshoi Theater in St. Petersburg, Russia. More than just an opera and a premiere, the opening night of A Life…

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Olivier Messiaen in 1946

Dr. Bob Prescribes Olivier Messiaen’s ‘Turangalîla’ Symphony

December 3rd, 2019
Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992) in 1946 Yesterday’s Music History Monday post noted and celebrated the premiere of Olivier Messiaen’s Turangalîla Symphony in Boston, on December 2, 1949, by the Boston Symphony conducted by Leonard Bernstein. Composed between 1946 and 1948, the Turangalîla Symphony caps the first part of Messiaen’s compositional career.  There’s nothing else like it…

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Messiaen in 1937, at the age of 29

Music History Monday: Turangalîla

December 2nd, 2019
December 2 is – was - a great date for world premieres, as well as for one unfortunate and extremely notable exit.   Brahms’ Symphony No. 3 received its first performance on December 3, 1883 – 136 years ago today – in Vienna, when it was performed by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton…

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Virgil Thomson

Dr. Bob Prescribes Virgil Thomson: Symphony on a Hymn Tune

November 26th, 2019
Virgil Thomson Yesterday’s Music History Monday post recognized the 123rd anniversary of the birth of the American composer and critic Virgil Thomson (1896-1989). That Music History Monday post focused on the particular pitfalls when a practitioner (in Thomson’s case, a composer) deigns also to become a critic. Today, we turn to Thomason’s music. As a…

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Virgil Thomson in 1972

Music History Monday: A Critical Voice

November 25th, 2019
Virgil Thomson in 1947 We recognize the birth on November 25, 1896 – 123 years ago today – of the American composer and music critic Virgil Thomson in Kansas City, Missouri.  Mr. Thomson was one of the most important American musicians and music critics of the twentieth century. But before we move on to him,…

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