Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

Archive for Patron Forum

Patron Forum: Olly Wilson and Nerdy Arcana

On Saturday, February 16, I was honored to be the first speaker at a Memorial Symposium at the University of California, Berkeley for my friend and teacher, Olly Wilson. Olly – who died on March 12, 2018 – was a distinguished composer, musicologist, and author. His obituary can be read in The New York Times. I will take the liberty of posting the comments I made at the event on Patreon next week.  Composers, performers, and friends flew in from all over the country for the symposium. The speakers and performers were an impressive lot, as a perusal of the program below will reveal: The presentations and discussions ran the gamut from the general to the technical; Olly was, after all, a composer of “modern music”, and any discussion of any music that would seek to be anything more than just superficial demands that the inner workings and makeup of the music – its grammar – be addressed.  I will admit that those discussions were my favorite of the day. Being self-employed, I rarely have the opportunity to hear other professional composers analyze and “talk shop” about music I love. It was, for me both enlightening and inspiring. Undoubtedly, there… 

Continue Reading…

Patreon Patron Forum: Mozart Piano Concerto No. 25

I have received an extremely thoughtful question from Patreon patron Leigh Harper. On the surface it might appear to be a technical question concerning the function of various sections of music relative to one another, the sort of question that appeals to music nerds like Harper and myself but might seem to be absurdly arcane for the rest of us.  However, Mr. Harper’s question is much more than that: it is one that cuts to the heart of how we use verbal/written language to describe musical events; events that, in fact, are not easily described using words. We will ruminate on this issue in a moment. But first, Leigh Harper’s question, ever-so-slightly edited. “Dear Dr. Bob – Relistening to your wonderful 1995 lectures Concert Masterworks… Stop A thousand pardons for interrupting Mr. Harper, but I must point out that he just got “A” in my class for having used a magic word: “relistening”. I have no doubt that Mr. Harper was indeed “relistening” (“rehear-sing”) to Concert Masterworks. Nevertheless, I am honor-bound to observe that survival among snobbish company requires a certain degree of intellectual bravado, and one of the easiest ways of affecting that bravado is to never say “I… 

Continue Reading…