Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

Archive for Johann Peter Salomon

Music History Monday: An Anthem to Remember

On this day 221 years ago – February 12, 1797 – Joseph Haydn’s String Quartet in C Major, Op. 76, No. 3 received its premiere. The quartet’s nickname – “Emperor” – stems from the theme of its second movement, a theme composed a few months before the string quartet. Background In 1761, the 29 year-old Joseph Haydn was hired as a musical functionary by the fabulously wealthy Esterhazy family of Hungary. 29 years later – on September 28, 1790 – Joseph Haydn’s boss and benefactor Prince Nicolas Esterhazy kicked the scepter and passed on to the great unknown. Nicholas was succeeded by his son, Prince Anton, who didn’t give a rat’s rump for music; one of Anton’s first acts as Prince was to dismiss almost all the musicians his father had hired. Haydn was granted a 1400 florin annual salary and sent on his way. Was a grief-stricken Haydn left wondering what to do? No he was not. In fact, we can well imagine the spry, energetic Haydn doing some flying chest-bumps around the castle, jumping into some splits, hitting a moonwalk and then the rug for some one-handed pushups, because he was free at last! Haydn left the Esterhazy […]

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Music History Monday: Movers and Shakers

Today we celebrate the birth – on February 20, 1749 – of the violinist, composer, and impresario Johann Peter Salomon. His name is relatively unknown today, yet without him the musical legacy of the late eighteenth century would be much the poorer. Let us contemplate, for a moment, the massive, gleaming 6.5-liter engine that powers the Lamborghini Aventado SV (superveloce, meaning “super velocity), a V-12 monster that generates 740 horsepower and 509 pound-feet of torque; the beating heart of a $500,000 sports car. Be still our hearts. Now imagine next to it a mundane case of motor oil, $36.99 at Costco. Nothing sexy there. Except for the fact that without the oil – the engine’s life-blood – that Lamborghini V12 cannot function. So it is with most things in our world. We are aware of the glitzy surfaces of things, people, and organization but rarely think twice about the life-blood that allows them to tick. A symphony orchestra or an opera company? Without the union steward and back stage crew nothing happens. A Federal District Court or even SCOTUS? Without their law clerks they couldn’t function for a day. Yes: from the guy who inflates (or doesn’t inflate) Tom Brady’s […]

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