Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

Archive for The 23 Greatest Solo Works

“The 23 Greatest Solo Piano Works” Series to be shown for FREE in Chatham, NJ

Every now and then a friend sends along a link like this one, indicating that one of my The Teaching Company/Great Courses surveys is being publicly screened. According to the article, from the Chatham (New Jersey) Courier, my DVD series “The 23 Greatest Piano Solo Works” is being shown (free of charge) at the Senior Center of the Chathams starting on Monday, January 6. Now that’s what I’m talking about! And much as I’d wish that each-and-every-one of the fine folks who watch the series had paid full retail for it, I am, in truth, thrilled by this sort of thing. Dissemination, dispersion, and diffusion: we cannot glory in and celebrate our wonderful musical heritage too much and that is what I’d like to believe my courses are all about. Besides, should I ever find myself in Chatham, N.J. without a date, this should improve my chances of linking up with someone exponentially, provided that she is okay with hanging out with a younger guy.

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Schumann’s Kinderscenen, Op. 15, No. 7 — Träumerei

I’ve spent the last week editing the piano excerpts that will illustrate my upcoming The Great Courses survey, “The 23 Greatest Solo Works”. In honor of that poorly entitled and numerically challenged course (which will be available in early October), I offer up a brief piano masterwork, one with a story a mile long: Robert Schumann’s Kinderscenen, Op. 15, No. 7 (1838), a piece better known as Träumerei. In 1945, Schumann’s Träumerei – which means “Dreaming” – was selected by some forgotten apparatchik at Radio Moscow to be played in the background during a moment of silence at 6:55 pm on May 8, 1945, in memory of the victims of the Soviet Union’s war against Nazi Germany. Whoever that Radio Moscow functionary was, he has gained a measure of immortality for what was an inspired choice. Schumann’s work evokes a mood of aching melancholy, loss, and nostalgia, a mood very different from that evoked by the military or funeral music that might well have been chosen. Schumann’s Träumerei was immediately embraced by the Soviet people, who felt in its sweetness and longing not just their own grief but a healing sense of peace as well. Träumerei became the go-to piece […]

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