Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

Archive for Pergolesi

Music History Monday: Puff the Magic Dragon

Before getting to the Puffster, I’d like us to recognize three other noteworthy musical events that have fallen on this date. On March 16, 1736 – 284 years ago today – the Italian composer Giovanni Pergolesi died in Pozzuoli Italy, a city that today is part of metropolitan Naples. Pergolesi passed away at the utterly obscene age of 26. He was born in Jesi, in central Italy not far from the Adriatic Sea. He spent his professional life – what there was of it – in Naples, where he experienced great success. He died of tuberculosis and, according to one source, “his ill health was probably due to his notorious profligacy”. Profligate or not, he was amazingly talented, and his early death robbed us all of someone special. We’re reminded of Schubert’s epitaph, written by Franz Grillparzer: “Music here has buried a rich treasure, but still fairer hopes.” On this day in 1947 – 73 years ago today – the coloratura soprano Margaret Truman (1924-2008), the daughter of then-President Harry Truman, made her professional radio debut when she sang with the Detroit Symphony. Ms. Truman continued to perform on stage, radio, and television through 1956. In the early years of […]

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