Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

Archive for Sale

Music History Monday: Strauss, Nietzsche, Zarathustra and Stanley

121 years ago today – on November 27, 1896 – Richard Strauss conducted the premiere performance of his sprawling orchestral tone poem Thus Spoke Zarathustra in Frankfurt. A momentary if gratuitous diversion… Over the course of the first half of my musical life I played a lot of gigs, both in bands and as a solo piano player. The bands ranged from fairly high end to not fairly high end. The best band I ever played with was led by the alto saxophonist Lee Konitz; the worst was a disco band the name of which will remain my little secret. My first band (a rock & roll garage band) was called “Cold Sun” and the last was a Klezmer group called “Hot Borscht”. (“Cold Sun” and “Hot Borscht”: temperature challenged tags in both cases.) As a solo player I’ve played pretty much everything, from cocktail parties, weddings, sing-a-longs, awards shows, and receptions to a long-running gig at a long defunct restaurant in Oakland, California called The Pewter House. One of the occupational hazards of playing the piano in public is the request. Among the most common requests I received in the 1970s were: “hey man, can you play ‘The Sting?’” […]

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The Great Courses as a Curriculum

September is “Fine Arts Celebration” month for The Great Courses. To that end, I have been asked to write up a music curriculum that TGC can post on its social media channels. I preview it below: Among the questions I am most frequently asked (along with “what’s that aftershave you’re wearing?”) is a curricular one. That is, if my 27 in-print courses should constitute a curriculum, in what order should they be consumed? An excellent question: in fact, I do not wear aftershave. As for a curriculum, this is what I would recommend: Category One: Pre-requisites “How to Listen to and Understand Great Music, third edition.” This remains The Great Courses’ “Music 101”, the entry-level pre-requisite for all my other courses. FYI: this course is an intensified version of the full-year music history sequence I used to teach at the San Francisco Conservatory. “How to Listen to and Understand Great Opera”. If “Great Music” (above) is Music 101, then this is Music 102: a broad survey of the single most important genre in Western music: opera. “The Fundamentals of Music”. This course expands on the vocabulary and listening skills first introduced in “Great Music” and “Great Opera.” From here on […]

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Great Courses Spring Warehouse Clearance Sale

Over FOURTEEN of my courses on sale during The Great Courses Spring Warehouse Clearance. Take advantage of courses up to 70% Off Today! On Sale Courses include: The 30 Greatest Orchestral Works How to Listen to and Understand Opera Bach and the High Baroque Concert Masterworks Music of Richard Wagner Life and Operas of Verdi Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas Chamber Music of Mozart String Quartets of Beethoven Operas of Mozart Great Masters: Tchaikovsky — His Life and Music Great Masters: Haydn — His Life and Music Great Masters: Shostakovich — His Life and Music Great Masters: Liszt — His Life and Music And more!

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