Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

Archive for Martha Argerich

Dr. Bob Prescribes Martha Argerich

Yesterday – Monday, June 5 – marked Martha Argerich’s 82nd birthday. As promised in yesterday’s Music History Monday post, it is a birthday we will celebrate here, now, today, in Dr. Bob Prescribes! Over the course of her storied career, Martha Argerich has made people say the darndest things. I present for your reading pleasure a selection of frankly gushing statements by some otherwise jaded, hard-nosed music critics (as if there’s any other kind!): Writing in The New Yorker in 2001, Alex Ross asserts that: “[Argerich] reigns supreme over the feudalistic world of virtuoso pianists. Rivals become mere fans around her, lingering at the door of her dressing room and then skulking away. Argerich brings to bear qualities that are seldom contained in one person: she is a pianist of brain-teasing technical agility; she is a charismatic woman with an enigmatic reputation; she is an unaffected interpreter whose native language is music. This last may be the quality that sets her apart. A lot of pianists play huge double octaves; a lot of pianists photograph well. But few have the unerring naturalness of phrasing that allows them to embody the music rather than interpret it.” Critic Barney Zweitz, writing in […]

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Music History Monday: Never Eat Anything That Can Bite You Back!

On June 5, 1977 – 46 years ago today – the shock-rock superstar Alice Cooper’s pet boa constrictor and concert co-star, a creature rather cleverly named “Julius Squeezer,” suffered what turned out to be a fatal bite from a live rat it was eating for breakfast. No doubt: Julius probably should have ordered the scrambled eggs and toast, and in doing so would have heeded the advice offered by the title of this post: “never eat anything that can bite you back.” This is a heartbreaking tale, a tragic love story between a boy and his reptile, a love story brought to an ignominious end by an alpha-rodent. But it is also a story of hope, renewal, and love rekindled, as the auditions Alice Cooper subsequently held for a replacement snake allowed him to discover his new boa, a precious girl-snake named “Angel.” Now of course we’re going to expand on this saga of reptilian eradication-by-rambunctious-rat and subsequent replacement in just a bit. But first, we’d observe two other, date-relevant items. First, we mark the birth on June 5, 1941 – 82 years ago today – of the pianist Martha Argerich, in Buenos Aires, Argentina. To my ear and mind, […]

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