Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

Archive for Carmen

Dr. Bob Prescribes Carmen

This is the second of three posts celebrating the Spanish director Carlos Saura’s spectacular “Flamenco Trilogy”, his set of three movies in which the stories are told primarily through flamenco music and dance. My Dr. Bob Prescribes post for March 8 of this year addressed the first of these movies, Bodas de Sangre (“Blood Wedding”) of 1981. On May 19 we will tackle the third of the trilogy, El Amor Brujo (“Love, the Magician”, or “Spell-bound Love”, or “The Bewitched Love”) of 1986. For today, it’s the second film of the trilogy, Carmen, of 1983. The Flamenco Trilogy was a collaboration between Carlos Saura and the superb and justly famous flamenco dancer and choreographer Antonio Gades. Here’s how this post will be structured. First, I’ll offer up quick biographical sketches of Carmen’s principals: Carlos Saura, Antonio Gades, Cristina Hoyos, Laura del Sol, and the lead guitarist Paco de Lucía. Second, I’ll outline the overall action of the movie, drawing our video examples from the dance episodes. A final point before moving on: I really, really, really want you to watch the entire film; it is freaking brilliant. So please understand that the video excerpts offered up in this post constitute but a small […]

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Music History Monday: Here music has buried a treasure, but even fairer hope

We mark the death of the French composer Georges Bizet, who passed from this vale of tears on June 3, 1875, 144 years ago today. He was but 36 years, 7 months, and 9 days young when he passed. The title for today’s post is the epitaph that appeared on Franz Schubert’s original tombstone, written by Franz Grillparzer (1791-1872): “Here music has buried a treasure, but even fairer hope.” Ain’t that the truth. Schubert’s life-span was even shorter than Bizet’s: 31 years, 9 months, and 20 days.  (Grillparzer was a Vienna-born dramatist who, despite his contemporary fame as a playwright, is best remembered today for having written Beethoven’s funeral oration and Schubert’s epitaph!) We contemplate “regret”. I am a collector of certain antique/vintage items, and I have learned the hard way the truism that “you only regret that which you do not buy.” For example, I will go to my grave regretting the fact that I walked away from a complete, pristine Sterling Silver Erik Magnussen “Skyscraper Cocktail Set” in 2003.  I had my reasons (financial) for not buying the set at the time, but it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, never to be had again; should a like set come […]

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