Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

The Robert Greenberg Blog

The Sex Pistols in 1977

Music History Monday: Pretty Much the Worst

February 1st, 2021
Carolina Reaper Pepper There are times I crave spicy – I mean really spicy – food. (Speaking of which: I knew a guy at university from San Antonio – we belonged to the same “eating club’ which was our version of fraternities – who put Tabasco Sauce on everything: cereal, peanut butter sandwiches, vanilla ice…

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Dr. Bob Prescribes: Blame it on the Bossa Nova

January 26th, 2021
Brazil Yesterday’s Music History Monday post acknowledged the birth in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil of the Brazilian singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Antônio Carlos Jobim. That’s all the excuse we require for today’s foray into the music of Brazil, samba, and bossa nova! The name “Brazil” comes from the Portuguese word pau–brasil, meaning “brazilwood”: an East Indian tree from which…

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Richard Strauss (1864-1949) in 1911

Music History Monday: When Richard Strauss was “Modernity”: ‘Salome’ and ‘Elektra’

January 25th, 2021
Richard Strauss (1864-1949) in 1911 We mark the world premiere – on January 25, 1909 – 112 years ago today – of Ricard Strauss’ opera Elektra at the Semperoper, the opera house of the Sächsische Staatsoper – the Saxon State Opera – in Dresden. Today acknowledged as one of the masterworks of the operatic repertoire,…

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Ovid by Luca Signorelli

Dr. Bob Prescribes Absurdity

January 19th, 2021
Ovid (or not) by Luca Signorelli (circa 1445-1523) “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.” As hoary old aphorisms go, this one is right up there on the tiresome scale with “a penny saved is a penny earned”, “you miss 100% of the shots you do not take”, “when the…

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Shostakovich’s The Nose in a production by the Metropolitan Opera in 2013

Music History Monday: Concerts I Would Like to Have Attended (and One I am Glad to have Missed!)

January 18th, 2021
January is usually a concert-heavy month, following, as it does, the holiday-heavy month of December. In a non-COVID environment, theaters thrive in the cold and early darkness of January, as folks look for something to do while they wait out the winter in anticipation of warmer, longer days and baseball season.  January 18th is particularly…

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Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev

Dr. Bob Prescribes Prokofiev Piano Sonata No. 7

January 12th, 2021
Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev (1891-1953) Yesterday’s Music History Monday post focused on Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953), his ballet Romeo and Juliet, and his permanent return to the Soviet Union in 1936 at precisely the time Joseph Stalin’s Great Terror was shifting into full gear. Today’s Dr. Bob Prescribes explores Prokofiev’s explosive and in all ways awesome Piano…

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Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev circa 1940

Music History Monday: Prokofiev, Romeo and Juliet, and the B***h Goddess

January 11th, 2021
Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev (1891-1953), circa 1940 We mark the first performance of Sergei Prokofiev’s ballet Romeo and Juliet on January 11, 1940 - 81 years ago today - by the Kirov Ballet in Leningrad, what today is St. Petersburg. Prokofiev was born on April 23, 1891 in Ukraine. He attended the St. Petersburg Conservatory as…

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George Gershwin composing at the piano. American composer, 1898-1937.

Dr. Bob Prescribes George Gershwin, Concerto in F

January 5th, 2021
George Gershwin (1898-1937) A statement I’ve made before and will gladly make again: George Gershwin is among the handful of greatest composers the United States has produced, and his death at the age of 38 (of a brain tumor) should be considered an artistic tragedy comparable to the premature deaths of Schubert (at 31), Mozart…

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The Beatles, circa 1961

Music History Monday: A Rockin’ Day

January 4th, 2021
What July 4th is for Americans; what Bastille Day on July 14th is for the French; what St. Patrick’s Day on March 17th is for the Irish, and what the Black-Necked Crane Festival on November 11th is for the Bhutanese, so January 4th is for fans of rock ‘n’ roll: a day when so much…

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Maurice Ravel in 1912

Dr Bob Prescribes: Maurice Ravel, ‘Valses nobles et sentimentales’

December 29th, 2020
The “Waltz” Experienced ballroom dancers aside, I would suggest that most of us consider the “waltz” to be a stodgy thing, a choreographic burden to be born at weddings and such during which we shuffle out an approximation of a three-step, attempting to lead a partner who would rather not be lead (at least not…

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