Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

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Bill Evans performing at San Francisco’s Keystone Korner, just days before his death on September 15, 1980

Music History Monday: William John Evans

August 16th, 2021
Bill Evans (1929-1980), performing at San Francisco’s Keystone Korner, just days before his death on September 15, 1980 We mark the birth on August 16, 1929 – 92 years ago today – of the jazz pianist and composer William John “Bill” Evans, in Plainfield, New Jersey. He died, tragically and all-too-young on September 15, 1980…

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Fyodor Serafimovich Druzhinin

Dr. Bob Prescribes: Shostakovich Sonata for Viola

August 10th, 2021
Fyodor Serafimovich Druzhinin (1932-2007); Shostakovich’s wife, Irina, sits listening in the upper right Dmitri Shostakovich wrote a lot of chamber music, including fifteen string quartets.  From almost the beginning of Shostakovich’s career as a composer of chamber music, the viola, the tenor voice of the string quartet - with its full, warm, restrained, and yet…

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Dmitri Dmitriyevich Shostakovich in 1973

Music History Monday: Shostakovich’s Death

August 9th, 2021
Dmitri Dmitriyevich Shostakovich (1906-1975) in 1973 We mark the death on August 9, 1975 – 46 years ago today – of the composer Dmitri Shostakovich at the age of 68, in Moscow. He was born on September 25, 1906, in St. Petersburg. Does Stress Kill? If stress kills, Dmitri Shostakovich should never have lived past…

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Carlos Chávez in 1937, photographed by Carl von Vechten

Dr. Bob Prescribes Carlos Chávez: Complete Symphonies

August 3rd, 2021
Carlos Chávez in 1937, photographed by Carl von Vechten Chávez’s emergence as a composer in 1920 – at the age of 21 - could not have been better timed. You see, 1920 saw the end of the Mexican Revolution and the inauguration of Álvaro Obregón as a constitutional president. According to musicologist J. Carlos Estenssoro:…

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Carlos Chávez (1899-1978)”, circa 1950

Music History Monday: Carlos Chávez

August 2nd, 2021
Carlos Chávez (1899-1978)”, circa 1950 We mark the death on August 2, 1978 – 43 years ago today – of the Mexican composer, pianist, conductor, music educator, and journalist Carlos Chávez at the age of 79, in Mexico City. What’s the Problem Here? Allow me, por favor, to express a pet peeve framed as a…

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Franz Xaver Mozart (1791-1844), in 1844 not long before his death

Dr. Bob Prescribes Wolfgang Mozart, Among Friends

July 27th, 2021
I tried, honest to gods, I tried. My M.O. in these Dr. Bob Prescribes posts has been consistent: if I feature a lesser-known composer in a Music History Monday post, I will follow up in the next day’s Dr. Bob Prescribes with a work (or works) by that same composer. Franz Xaver Mozart (1791-1844), in…

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Franz Xaver Mozart in 1825

Music History Monday: Franz Xaver Mozart and the Grandmother of All Shadows

July 26th, 2021
Let us wish a happy birthday to three notable musicians, the third of whom will be the topic of today’s post. John Field (1785-1837) On July 26, 1785 – 236 years ago today – the composer, pianist, and teacher John Field was born in Dublin. His Nocturnes for piano powerfully influenced those of Frédéric Chopin.…

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Gioachino Rossini (1792-1868) in 1829

Dr. Bob Prescribes Rossini Overtures

July 20th, 2021
Winston Churchill (1874-1965) and his wife Clementine (1885-1977), circa 1944 It's All About Branding Yesterday’s Music History Monday post marked the use of the first four notes of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 as a call sign for a BBC radio show called London Calling Europe, a propaganda/information show broadcast from London into Nazi-occupied Europe. It…

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Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Winston Churchill, circa 1944

Music History Monday: “V” for Victory!

July 19th, 2021
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Winston Churchill (1874-1965), circa 1944 On July 19, 1941 – 80 years ago today – the BBC World Service began using the first four notes of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 of 1808 as a “linking” device on its broadcasts into Nazi-occupied Europe.  Why the BBC chose to use music…

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Holding my 1966 edition of Quantz’s On Playing the Flute

Dr. Bob Prescribes Johann Joachim (“J. J.”) Quantz

July 13th, 2021
I regularly receive emails from people who want to post music blogs on my Facebook Page, for which - they are always thrilled to tell me - they’ll only charge me $50, or $100, or $200; whatever. Holding my 1966 edition of Quantz’s On Playing the Flute I receive, on average, upwards of 500 emails…

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