Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

Archive for George Crumb

Music History Monday: Carl Ruggles

Before moving on to Carl Ruggles, the featured composer of today’s post, we would offer the warmest of happy birthdays to one of the most brilliant composers of the twentieth century, who also happened to be one of the nicest human beings I’ve ever met, George Crumb.  He was born in Charleston, West Virginia on October 24, 1929 – 93 years ago today – and died at his home in the Philadelphia suburb of Media, Pennsylvania, on February 6, 2022, at the age of 92. I offered up an appreciation of Crumb in my Music History Monday post on the occasion of his 87th birthday on October 24, 2016.  We will revisit Crumb in my Music History Monday and Dr. Bob Prescribes posts for March 13 and 14, 2023 (yes, I plan ahead!) when we tackle his Black Angels for electric string quartet. On to the featured event for today’s post. We mark the death on October 24, 1971 – 51 years ago today – of the American composer, teacher, and painter Charles Sprague (“Carl”) Ruggles, in Bennington Vermont.  Born in Marion, Massachusetts on March 11, 1876, Ruggles was 95 years old at the time of his death. C-level People […]

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Music History Mondays: George Crumb: A Birthday Appreciation

A most happy birthday to the iconic American composer George Crumb, who was born in Charleston, West Virginia 87 years ago today. Youth is indeed wasted on the young. One of the many wonderful things about being a kid (and here I’m talking about anyone under the age of 25) is the revelatory, earth-shaking, full-contact emotional body slam that comes from discovering something new. And since most everything is new for young ‘uns, the pace of such revelations can be daily, creating a level of existential excitement that an old fart like me can only look upon with melancholic envy. (I would note that this “excitement of discovery” doesn’t necessarily provoke a positive response. I remember well when my daughter Lily—the third of my four kids—first tasted ice cream. She was about 18 months old; her eyes rolled back in her head and a beatific smile crossed her face when suddenly she fixed me, her father, whose loins contributed to giving her life, with a death glare that Medusa herself would have envied. I understood immediately what she was thinking: “you rotten b*stard, I’ve been alive for a year-and-a-half and you’ve only now allowed me to taste this bit of […]

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