Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

The Robert Greenberg Blog

Édith Piaf (1915-1963)

Music History Monday: Getting Personal: Édith Piaf

December 19th, 2022
Édith Piaf (1915-1963) We mark the birth on December 19, 1915 – 107 years ago today – of the French singer and actress Édith Piaf in the Belleville district of Paris.  Born Édith Giovanna Gassion, she came to be considered France’s national chanteuse, one of the most celebrated singers of the twentieth century, a French…

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Dr. Bob Prescribes Joey DeFrancesco, organ

December 13th, 2022
Live and Learn An Emenee Chord Organ I have been known to make snide comments about the electric organ. This is an unfortunate artifact of my childhood in the 1950s and 60s, when toy organs made by “Emenee Industries Inc.” (of New York, N.Y.) were everywhere.  They came in different sizes, though the ones I…

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Map of New Jersey

Music History Monday: The Garden State Hall of Fame

December 12th, 2022
“The Garden State” (having been born in Brooklyn, New York, I grew up in Willingboro, New Jersey, just northeast of 75° latitude and 40° longitude December 12 is a crazy day in American jazz and popular music history, a day that saw the births of five – count ‘em, five – significant musicians, three of…

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Amadeus, deathbed dictation scene between Mozart (Tom Hulce) and Salieri (F. Murray Abraham)

Dr. Bob Prescribes Wolfgang Mozart: Requiem, K. 626 (1791)

December 6th, 2022
The Commission During the summer of 1791 – some five months before his death – Mozart was anonymously commissioned to compose a Requiem Mass: a mass for the dead. More than any other single element, it was this anonymous commission that helped to later fuel the myth that Mozart had, in fact, been murdered. Constanze…

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Mozart at 24 in 1780; detail from portrait by Johann Nepomuk della Croce

Music History Monday: Myths of Mayhem and Murder!

December 5th, 2022
Here We Go Again . . . It has come to pass. I have been writing these Music History Monday posts for long enough that Monday dates and events have begun to repeat. And as a result, December 5, which was a Monday in 2016, once again falls on a Monday today. Ordinarily there are…

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Aaron Copland in Paris, circa 1923

Dr. Bob Prescribes Aaron Copland, Music for the Theatre (1925)

November 29th, 2022
Aaron Copland in France, 1921-1924 Aaron Copland in Paris, circa 1923 Aaron Copland (1900-1990) never went to college. It was a decision that he later claimed to regret, although it’s hard to imagine how he could have gotten a better education than the one he actually received. He had begun to study music composition with…

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Aaron Copland in 1933

Music History Monday: Aaron Copland in New York

November 28th, 2022
Aaron Copland (1900-1990) in 1933 We mark the New York premiere on November 28, 1925 – 97 years ago today – of Aaron Copland’s Music for the Theater, at a League of Composer’s concert conducted by Serge Koussevitzky at New York’s Town Hall. The actual world premiere of the piece took place eight days before,…

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Henry Purcell (1659-1695), portrait attributed to Godfrey Kneller

Dr. Bob Prescribes Henry Purcell

November 22nd, 2022
Henry Purcell (1659-1695), portrait attributed to Godfrey Kneller When we think of Henry Purcell (1659-1695), if we think of him at all, what comes to mind are two of his operas – The Fairy’s Kiss and Dido and Aeneas – and perhaps a few well-worn songs.  You’ll pardon me the comparison, but this is like…

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Henry Purcell (1659-1695), portrait by John Closterman, circa 1695

Music History Monday: Henry Purcell and British Music Restored!

November 21st, 2022
Henry Purcell (1659-1695), portrait by John Closterman, circa 1695 We mark the death on November 21, 1695 – 327 years ago today – of the English composer and organist Henry Purcell, in London. He lies buried today in a place of singular honor, adjacent to the organ on which he performed in Westminster Abbey in…

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Fanny Mendelssohn-Hensel (1805-1847) in 1829

Dr. Bob Prescribes The Music of Fanny Mendelssohn-Hensel

November 15th, 2022
Fanny Mendelssohn-Hensel (1805-1847) in 1829 As a child and then as an adolescent, Fanny Mendelssohn’s all-encompassing commitment to music as a pianist and as composer never wavered.  Fanny was not quite 15-years-old when her father Abraham dropped the bomb and forbade her to pursue music as a career.  She was, instead, to learn how to…

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