Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

The Robert Greenberg Blog

Béla Bartók circa 1930

Dr. Bob Prescribes: Béla Bartók – Piano Concerto No. 2

July 16th, 2019 Last week’s Dr. Bob Prescribes post featured Alberto Ginastera’s Piano Concerto No. 1 of 1961. In the course of that post, I observed that the fourth movement finale of Ginastera’s concerto: “is a pedal-to-the-floor, hell-bent-for-leather, furious, drum-dominated, piano-as-percussion-instrument homage to the third and final movement of Béla Bartók’s Piano Concerto No. 2 of 1931…

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Carl Czerny in 1833

Music History Monday: What Would We Do Without Him?

July 15th, 2019
We mark the death on July 15, 1857 – 162 years ago today – of the Austrian composer, pianist and teacher Carl Czerny.  Carl Czerny (1791-1827) in 1833 What would we do without him? Indeed. Excepting Ferdinand Ries (who was, like Czerny, a student of Beethoven’s), no one has left us more numerous and more…

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Alberto Ginastera and cat at piano

Dr. Bob Prescribes: Alberto Ginastera

July 9th, 2019
Trust. Without trust we can’t believe, and speaking personally, if I don’t believe in something, I’m not going to invest my time in it. Apropos of music. I cannot tell you how many painful, dreary, mind-numbing, time-wasting concerts of “new music” I have had to sit through in my 65 years. I’m not just talking…

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George Antheil in 1927

Music History Monday: The Futurist Terrible

July 8th, 2019 A robotic performance of George Antheil’s Ballet Mécanique (sans airplane engines) staged at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. in March 2006 We mark the birth on July 8, 1900 – 119 years ago today – of the composer, pianist, author, inventor and self-described “bad boy of music”, George Antheil (pronounced Ann-tile). …

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Igor Stravinsky and Vaslav Nijinskyin 1911; Nijinsky is costumed as Petrushka

Dr. Bob Prescribes: Stravinsky – The Rite of Spring

July 2nd, 2019
Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971) and Vaslav Nijinsky (1889-1950) in 1911; Nijinsky is costumed as Petrushka Igor Stravinsky composed The Rite of Spring for the Ballets Russes in 1912, when he was thirty years old. Even if he had never written another piece of music, Stravinsky would still be famous, because excepting perhaps Yummy, Yummy, Yummy I…

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Pierre Monteux in 1952

Music History Monday: Pierre Monteux: One of the Great Ones

July 1st, 2019
Pierre Monteux (1875-1964) in 1952, San Francisco We acknowledge the death - on July 1, 1964, 55 years ago today – of the French-American conductor and teacher Pierre Monteux, who passed away at his home in Hancock, Maine at the age of 89. Conductors: love them or hate them, we can’t live without them. Composers…

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Oscar Emmanuel Peterson (1925-2007)

Dr. Bob Prescribes: Oscar Peterson

June 25th, 2019
Anthony Tillman Williams (1945-1997) in 1984 It’s a story I told before, in a blog dated July 28, 2013. Since it’s been almost six years I will be forgiven for telling it again. It was sometime in the spring of 1980. I was a graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley, living in a…

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The dancing mania by Hendrik Hondius, after Pieter Brueghel

Music History Monday: Boogie Fever

June 24th, 2019
On June 24, 1374 – 645 years ago today – the men, women, and children of the Rhineland city of Aachen began to dash out of their houses and into the streets, where – inexplicably, compulsively and uncontrollably - they began to twist and twirl, jump and shake, writhe and twitch until they dropped from…

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Paul Creston in 1943

Dr. Bob Prescribes: Paul Creston

June 18th, 2019
Paul Creston circa 1943, at age 37 When I and my compositional colleagues were ignorant graduate students (yes, ignorant and arrogant: I thought I was so freakin’ smart in my mid-twenties, only to realize, as real life unfolded, how colossally naïve I really was), when we were ignorant graduate students, among the nastiest things me…

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Igor Stravinsky circa 1968

Music History Monday: Igor Stravinsky

June 17th, 2019
Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971) circa 1968 We offer up our very best birthday wishes to Igor Stravinsky, who was born 137 years ago today, on June 17, 1882. A word of warning: saying Happy Birthday! to a Russian born before February 14, 1918 — as Stravinsky was — is an exercise in asterisks and parentheses. This is because it wasn’t…

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