Music History Monday

Music History Monday

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.

Episodes

December 4, 2023 13 mins

We mark the premiere on December 4, 1881 – 142 years ago today – of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s one-and-only violin concerto, his Violin Concerto in D major.  It received its premiere in Vienna, where it was performed by the violinist Adolf Brodsky and th...

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On November 27, 1896 – 127 years ago today – Richard Strauss conducted the premiere performance of his sprawling orchestral tone poem Thus Spoke Zarathustra in the German city of Frankfurt.  Requests A momentary and applicable (if gratuitous) diversion.  Over t...

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We mark the conclusion on November 20, 2022 – one year ago today – of the North American leg of Elton John’s “Farewell Yellow Brick Road: The Final Tour.”  The concert took place at Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles; it was the third of three “farewell” c...

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We mark the death on November 13, 1868 – 155 years ago today – of the opera composer Gioachino Antonio Rossini, in Paris, at the age of 76. He was one of the most famous and beloved artists of his time, and he remains no less so today. It is my humble ...

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November 6, 2023 19 mins

We mark the birth on November 6, 1854 – 169 years ago today – of the American composer, conductor, and violinist John Philip Sousa.  Born in Washington, D.C., Sousa died in Reading, Pennsylvania on March 6, 1932, at the age of 77. Timing, Location, Life ...

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We mark October 30, 1822 – 201 years ago today – as being the day on which Franz Schubert began what is now known as his Symphony No. 8 in B minor, the “Unfinished Symphony.”  Lost just months after Schubert completed the two movements that make up the...

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We mark the death on October 23, 1950 – 73 years ago today – of the Lithuanian-American singer and actor Al Jolson. Born “Asa Yoelson” on May 26, 1886, in the village of Srednik, in what was then the Russian Empire and what is today Lithuania, he died ...

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A few, necessary words before moving on to today’s post. Our hearts bleed for the events currently playing out in Israel and Gaza. Frankly, there are no words. Today is also the 14th anniversary of my wife Diane’s death; she died at the age of 35 on October 16,...

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October 9, 2023 17 mins

We mark the birth on October 9, 1835 – 188 years ago today – of Charles-Camille Saint-Saëns, in Paris.  He died in that magnificent city on Beethoven’s 151st birthday – on December 16, 1921 – at the age of 86. The Nose Physically, the adult Camille Saint-Saëns ...

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Before we get to the central topic of today’s post – that being a particular address in San Francisco – we would wish a most happy birthday to someone we only know by his nickname.  Please: no looking ahead and peeking! Today we wish a happy 71st birthday to the ...

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September 25, 2023 27 mins

We mark the birth on September 25, 1932 – 91 years ago today – of the pianist Glenn Herbert Gold, in Toronto, Canada.  (Yes, the surname on “Glenn Gould’s” birth certificate is “Gold.”  When the young guy was seven years old his family began informally using th...

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We mark the death on September 18, 1970 – 53 years ago today – of the American guitarist, singer, and songwriter James Marshall “Jimi” Hendrix, at St. Mary Abbots Hospital in London. He was born in Seattle, Washington on November 27, 1942, making him 2...

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9-11; a somber day for us all.  A day for reflection, contemplation and perhaps, still, after 22 years, a day to grieve.   Far more often than not, Music History Monday is about celebrating the life and accomplishments of a musician or identifying and ...

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September 4, 2023 25 mins

We mark the birth on September 4, 1824 – 199 years ago today – of the composer and organist Josef Anton Bruckner, in the Austrian village of Ansfelden, which today is a suburb of the city of Linz.  He died in the Austrian capital of Vienna on October 11, 1896, at the age of 72. It was Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) who famously said that Bruckner was: “Half simpleton, half God.” Strangeness I would be so bold as to suggest that there is...

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August 28, 2023 21 mins

We mark the premiere performance on August 28, 1850 – 173 years ago today – of Richard Wagner’s opera Lohengrin, in the central German city of Weimar.   The premiere was conducted by none-other-than Wagner’s friend and supporter (and future father-in-l...

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We mark the death on August 21, 2005 – 18 years ago today – of the American engineer and electronic music pioneer Robert Moog.  Born in New York City on May 23, 1934, he died of a brain tumor in Asheville, North Carolina, at the age of 71. First things first: l...

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On August 14, 1962 – 61 years ago today – the manager of the Beatles Brian Epstein made a phone call to the drummer Ringo Starr, inviting him to join the band.  As I suspect we are all aware, Starr said “yes.”   Two days later, on August 16, Epstein ha...

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We mark an online auction that concluded on August 7, 2008 – 15 years ago today – at which Elvis Presley’s white, sweat-stained, high-collared, plunging V-necked jumpsuit, decorated with a dazzling, hand-embroidered blue and gold peacock – sold for $300,000.  (Be...

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July 31, 2023 22 mins

Before we get to the actual date-related topic for today, I beg your indulgence, as I need to tell you a story.  It’s a story that most of you know, at least in part. Again, indulge me. The Godfather III – the third film in the storied Godfather franchise, rele...

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July 24, 2023 25 mins

We mark the birth on July 24, 1880 – 143 years ago today – of the Swiss-born American composer and educator Ernest Bloch, who was born in Geneva, Switzerland.  He died in Portland, Oregon, on July 15, 1959, at the age of 78. Establishing a Genealogy People trac...

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