• Summary

  • Exploring Music History with Professor Robert Greenberg one Monday at a time. Every Monday Robert Greenberg explores some timely, perhaps intriguing and even, if we are lucky, salacious chunk of musical information relevant to that date, or to … whatever. If on (rare) occasion these features appear a tad irreverent, well, that’s okay: we would do well to remember that cultural icons do not create and make music but rather, people do, and people can do and say the darndest things.
    © Robert Greenberg Music
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Episodes
  • Oct 3 2022

    We mark the death on October 3, 1931 – 91 years ago today – of the Danish composer and violinist Carl Nielsen in Copenhagen, at the age of 66. Nielsen had what we colloquially call “a bad ticker.”  He suffered his first heart attack in 1925, when he was sixty years old.  A nasty series of heart attacks put him in Copenhagen’s National Hospital (the Rigshospitalet) on October 1, 1931.  He died there at 12:10 am on October 3.  Surrounded by his family, his last words were: “You are standing here as if you were waiting for something.” (We could take those last words a variety of ways.  For example, we might assume that Nielsen, suffering from delirium, was genuinely curious as to why his entire family was gathered around his bed.  But knowing Nielsen as we do – he was a salty, funny, straight-shooting person and a proud family man, married to a famous sculptress and the father of five kids – we’d like to think that Nielsen went to his death cracking an ironic joke.  Not quite as ironic as Chicago’s founding guitarist and vocalist Terry Kath’s last words, “Don’t worry, it’s not loaded”, but ironic enough.) Despite […]

    The post Music History Monday: Carl Nielsen first appeared on Robert Greenberg.

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    19 mins
  • Sep 26 2022

    We mark the death on September 26, 1945 – 77 years ago today – of the pianist, composer, and Hungarian patriot Béla Bartók. Born in what was then the Hungarian town of Nagyszentmiklós(now Sînnicolau Mare in Romania) on March 25, 1881, Bartók died – during what he called his “comfortable exile” – in New York City. Before moving on to Bartók’s “American Exile”, let’s establish –as we can from our vantage point in 2022 – his creds as a great and influential twentieth century composer! In 1961, 16 years after Bartók’s death, Pierre Boulez (1925-2016) – composer, conductor, and, in the words of his teacher Olivier Messiaen, the great insufferable one – wrote this about Bartók’s music: “The pieces most applauded are the least good; his best products are loved in their weaker aspects. His work triumphs now through its ambiguity. Ambiguity that will surely bring him insults during future evaluation. His work has not the profound unity and novelty of Webern’s or the vigorous controlled dynamism of Stravinsky’s. His language lacks interior coherence. His name will live on in the limited ensemble of his chamber music.”  Boulez was not just wrong; he was snotty wrong.  But the degree of […]

    The post Music History Monday: Béla Bartók’s American Exile first appeared on Robert Greenberg.

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    21 mins
  • Sep 19 2022

    “Don’t give up your day gig.” Along with “don’t eat yellow snow” and “fake it ‘til you make it”, “don’t give up your day gig” remains one of the oldest, hoariest, clichéd pieces of advice anyone can give or receive. But unless you were lucky/wise enough to heed the other greatest piece of advice any musician can receive, that being “marry rich”, “don’t give up your day gig” is still among the very best pieces of advice a musician can receive. Very few of us get our dream job right out of school; hell, very few of us ever get our dream job. All too rapidly, reality intrudes on youthful artistic idealism and no matter how much one wants to compose, or play violin, or sing, unless we can find someone willing to pay us to do so, we must all do something to make money. And then, as we get older and develop a taste for the finer things in life – like feeding, clothing, and housing our children – our day gigs become not just a matter of survival for ourselves but for those around us. Now, here and there and every now and then, someone gets very […]

    The post Music History Monday: Day Gigs first appeared on Robert Greenberg.

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    18 mins

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The Single Best Way to Learn About Classical Music

I don't write reviews. I'm writing this one as a public service. I've followed Professor Greenberg's lectures for well over 10 years. If you want to better understand and appreciate classical (or as he would say concert) music, this is the best place to go. I have all of his lectures and have listened to them multiple times. He is incredibly approachable and entertaining in his presentation. And the quality of his work is top notch.

No matter how much you know (or don't know) about classical music, you will learn things, enjoy the presentations, and find even more things to love about classical music.

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So, this is an abbreviation?

How misleading Audible. Where is the audio? Is this something we have to purchase separately?