Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

Archive for Ora TV

Scandalous Overtures — Brahms: The King of Practical Jokes

According to my Oxford English Dictionary, a practical joke is “a trick played on someone in order to make them look foolish and amuse others.” As definitions go that one is DEAD ON. Unlike a verbal joke, which features a storyteller and a presumably amused listener, a practical joke requires a victim: a patsy, a fall guy (or gal) whose victimization (and potential humiliation) becomes the source of amusement for the perpetrator and whomever else is looking on. Some practical jokes can be funny; for example, the ones on the old Candid Camera TV show. Still, I suspect that many of the show’s victims were not particularly amused at all, and only acted like good sports because they saw the camera at the conclusion of their ordeals. Generally speaking, I have found that people do not like to be publicly duped, embarrassed, and held up to ridicule. The advent of YouTube has turned everyone and her sister-in-law into an Allen Funt (the host of Candid Camera). We can watch folks become the butt of someone else’s pranks all day, along with that offshoot of the practical joke, the video “fail”. It makes us wonder: What sort of people perpetrate practical […]

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Announcing A New Series for Ora TV — “Conspiracies, Peccadilloes, and Dirty Little Secrets! Fun and Games with the Great Composers”

I have been busy with a new project that I am now in the position to share with you! I have been writing a series of fifteen eight-minute episodes (1100-1150 words each) for Ora TV, an on-demand digital television network founded in 2012 by Carlos Slim (Forbes Magazine’s 2013 “richest man in the world”) and Larry King. The CEO of Ora TV, a fine gent named Jon Housman, contacted me after reading my December 4 post on Mozart’s death on this very site. Together, we have developed a show entitled: “Conspiracies, Peccadilloes, and Dirty Little Secrets! Fun and Games with the Great Composers” in which each episode focuses on a conspiracy, or a peccadillo, or a dirty little secret from the life of a composer. Aside from the purely salacious, voyeuristic joy of dishing dirt on famous dead people, the point of this series is to render composers, who for reasons mysterious to me are among the most hallowed of historical figures, more real, more human, and more accessible. By doing so, this series is ultimately intended to make their music – which is so often treated like some supra-human thing – more real, more human, and more accessible as […]

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