Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

Archive for Ignaz Schuppanzigh

Music History Monday: A Bevy of Firsts and Number Ones!

Before moving on to our “firsts” and “number ones”, we would acknowledge an event that picks up on the Music History Monday post of March 2, 2020. That postmarked the death in 1830 of the violinist and conductor Ignaz Schuppanzigh. Schuppanzigh was a loyal friend and supporter of Beethoven and his music, despite Beethoven’s often abusive fat-shaming of the admittedly zaftig violinist. Schuppanzigh participated in more premieres of Beethoven’s music than any other musician other than Beethoven himself, and his unwavering devotion to Beethoven and his music continued after Beethoven’s death. On March 23, 1828 – 192 years ago today – the Schuppanzigh String Quartet posthumously premiered Beethoven’s final string quartet: the F major, Op. 135 of 1826 in Vienna. At the time of the premiere Beethoven had been dead for just under a year: for 362 days. With this posthumous premiere, Schuppanzigh’s life-long service to Beethoven as a first performer came to an end. On March 23, 1956 – 64 years ago today – RCA Victor records released Elvis Presley’s debut LP (long-playing) record, catalog number LPM-1254. There are 12 songs on the album, six on each side, recorded between July 5, 1954 and January 30, 1956, totaling 28 […]

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Music History Monday: M’Lord Falstaff

We mark the death, in Vienna, on March 2, 1830 – 190 years ago today – of the violinist and conductor Ignaz Schuppanzigh. Born in Vienna on November 20, 1776, he was 53 at the time of his death, reportedly of “paralysis”, whatever that’s supposed to mean. Speaking generally but accurately, a measure of professional contentment can be hard to come by in the professional musical world. That’s because a professional career – for composers and performers alike – consists (particularly early in our careers when we are most vulnerable) of a seemingly endless sequence of (often failed) auditions; rejection; criticism (sometimes fair but more usually unfair); rejection; scratching out a living that is in no way commensurate with one’s talents and skills; and rejection. (Did I remember to mention “rejection”?) Sure, what audiences see and hear during a concert performance are skilled musicians, playing their hearts out and receiving – in the end – applause for a job well done. But hang out afterward and scratch the scab that is any professional musician’s psyche, and the frustration will likely spurt forth like goobers from a lanced boil. One will rarely – if ever – meet a professional musician who, […]

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