Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

The Robert Greenberg Blog

Steve Reich in 2005

Dr. Bob Prescribes Steve Reich

October 27th, 2020
Stephen (Steve) Michael Reich (born 1936) in 2005 Yesterday’s Music History Monday post, entitled “Musical Riots and Assorted Mayhem”, included a report of what happened when Steve Reich’s Four Organs for four electric organs and maracas (composed in 1970) was performed at Carnegie Hall on January 19, 1973. As we noted yesterday, the boos and…

Continue Reading

Music History Monday: Musical Riots and Assorted Mayhem

October 26th, 2020
Bill Haley (1925-1981) and his Comets at the Berlin Sportspalast, October 26, 1958 We mark the riot that occurred on October 26, 1958 – 62 years ago today – when Bill Haley and his Comets played a concert at Berlin’s Sportpalast to an audience of some 7000 people. Signs of trouble had occurred at Haley’s…

Continue Reading

George Gershwin

Dr. Bob Prescribes George Gershwin Songs

October 20th, 2020
George Gershwin (1898-1937) Two weeks ago, my Dr. Bob Prescribes post featured the guitarist Tommy Emmanuel, despite the fact that it would have been entirely appropriate – given the Music History Monday post the day before on Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice - to feature a post on that opera. Given yesterday’s Music History Monday post…

Continue Reading

Franz Schubert in 1825

Franz Schubert’s “Gretchen am Spinnrade”

October 19th, 2020
Franz Peter Schubert (1797-1828) in 1825, watercolor by Wilhelm August Rieder On October 19, 1814 – 206 years ago today – Franz Schubert composed his first masterwork, the song Gretchen am Spinnrade – “Gretchen at the Spinning Wheel” – for solo voice and piano, on a text by Johann von Goethe. Schubert was 17 years…

Continue Reading

Ralph Vaughn Williams in 1949

Dr. Bob Prescribes Ralph Vaughan Williams: Symphony No. 5

October 13th, 2020
We are compelled, for a moment, to discuss the food of the British Isles. We ask: why should such a sophisticated and culturally diverse nation – one just a few miles away from France - be so gastronomically bereft by comparison? How many of us would honestly prefer an English kidney pudding to a French…

Continue Reading

Music History Monday: And Please, Don’t Call Me “Ralph”!

October 12th, 2020
Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) in 1921 We mark the birth on October 12, 1872 – 148 years ago today – of the English composer, conductor, folksong collector and teacher Ralph (R-A-L-P-H, pronounced “Rayf”) Vaughan Williams in the village of Down Ampney, in the Cotswold district of Gloucester, 75 miles west of London. He died in…

Continue Reading

Tommy Emmanuel

Dr. Bob Prescribes Tommy Emmanuel

October 6th, 2020
Tommy Emmanuel (born 1955) As per my usual MO, my original intention for today’s Dr. Bob Prescribes post was to follow up on yesterday’s Music History Monday with a recommendation for Christoph Willibald Gluck’s opera, Orfeo ed Euridice. Composed in 1762, it is the earliest opera in the standard operatic repertoire today. However, my present…

Continue Reading

Christoph Willibald Gluck at the clavichord, painted in 1775

Music History Monday: Gluck and Orfeo ed Euridice

October 5th, 2020
Christoph Willibald Gluck (1714-1787) at the clavichord, painted in 1775 by Joseph Duplessis We mark the premiere performance on October 5, 1762 – 258 years ago today – of Christoph Willibald Gluck’s opera Orfeo ed Euridice at the Burgtheater in Vienna, in the presence of Empress Maria Theresa her very self.  The history of opera…

Continue Reading

A modern soprano clarinet

Dr. Bob Prescribes Mozart: Quintet for Clarinet and Strings

September 29th, 2020
This post is a sort of hybrid of what we might call a combination of “Music History Tuesday” (if such a thing actually existed) and Dr. Bob Prescribes. Here we go! Mozart in 1789 by the German portrait artist Dora (Doris, Dorothea) Stock (1760-1832) We mark the completion – on September 29, 1789 – 231…

Continue Reading

Music History Monday: The Planets

September 28th, 2020
Gustav Holst (1874-1934) We mark the premiere performance - on September 28, 1918 – 102 years ago today – of Gustav Holst’s The Planets in Queen’s Hall, London, under the baton of Adrian Boult. To hear Holst (1874-1934) tell it, The Planets became an albatross around his neck; a monkey on his back; a large,…

Continue Reading