Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

Archive for Lang Lang

Music History Monday: Lending a Hand

Before moving on to the main topic for today’s post, I would like to announce a new feature here on Music History Monday, something called “This Day in Musical Stupid.” I explain. As regular readers of this post know, I will, occasionally, dedicate a post to the shenanigans and sometimes plain old idiocy of musicians as they go about their daily lives and business. More often (far more often!) than not, such antics are perpetrated by pop, rock, rap, and hip-hop “artists”, but frankly, not always. In the past, if there is a topic of genuine import on a given Monday, I would ignore such events. In the past, I have only reported them when there was nothing else to write about. My thinking on this has changed. Why should I deny you the special pleasure that observing other people’s stupidity can give? Exactly. So whenever I can, I will initiate a Music History Monday post with just such a date appropriate event. Here’s today’s “This Day in Musical Stupid.” Just so, musicians, who are, in their own right athletes, must know their physical limits. Yes: we read about Franz Liszt (1811-1886) holing up in 1831 at the age of […]

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Music History Monday: Our Kind of Musician

Today we recognize and celebrate the birth, 207 years ago today, of someone who can rightfully be called “a musician’s musician”: the violinist, composer and teacher Ferdinand David. We will get to the specifics of Maestro David’s life and career in a moment. With your indulgence, a brief bit of editorializing. Marlon Brando (1924-2004). Yes, Marlon Brando: actor, director, activist, and father of at least 16 children (at least 16 children). A movie with Marlon Brando wasn’t a movie in which Marlon Brando played a role so much as a movie in which Marlon Brando played Marlon Brando playing a role. Accordingly, I would suggest that in The Godfather, Marlon Brando portrayed Marlon Brando playing Vito Corleone; in Apocalypse Now, Marlon Brando portrayed Marlon Brando playing Colonel Walter Kurtz. Brando was so brilliant, his persona so pronounced, his affectations so uniquely individual, that his personal brand always seemed to overshadow the characters he played. So it is with certain musicians as well. The pianist Yuja Wang, for example. She is brilliant, but so are lots of other elite pianists. Ah, but those other pianists don’t come out on stage like Ms. Wang wearing micro-micro-miniskirts and 6-inch stiletto heels. Then there’s […]

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