Start Over Again

Start Over Again Rubinoff Discusses the Great Depression

Start Over Again Rubinoff Discusses the Great Depression. Monopoly can be an allegory for life. Every time you pass “Go”, you start over again. The thing is to just keep on going! Yes, the roll of a dice can bring hardship and calamity. You can loose a ton of money when another player has hotels on Boardwalk or Parkway. Just keep on playing the game. Perhaps there is a chance? Now who was are Rubinoff?

  • Rubinoff and His Violin was a conductor violinist that I worked with for 15 years.
start over again
Rubinoff apprenticed with Victor Herbert and then with John Phillip Sousa. Sousa set Dave up with the U.S. State Department and from this connection, Rubinoff brought music to children throughout the country for almost the nest 60 years
 

Below is the Start Over Context of Famed Violinist, Rubinoff and His Violin

start over again
Dave bought his violin at the Wurlitzer auction in 1929 for $100,000.00. Now it it’s for sale and worth millions. I was his accompanist and arranger for 15 years.

Rubinoff did the start over thing. He left Russia under the wing of Victor Herbert, becoming his protege. Dave and his entire family had  lived in abject poverty and with anti–Jewish sentiment while in Russia and Poland.  He rose through his own efforts; from selling newspapers on a street corner  to conducting and working orchestras for both the Paramount Theater in Brooklyn  and Pictures in Hollywood. He lead the Chicago Symphony in a concert attended by 225,000 people in 1937. They turned away 25,000 at the door. Among many accomplishments, he played for 5 American Presidents. Talking about the hardships of the Great Depression Dave says in his autobiography: “I guessed the ones who were committing suicide hadn’t learned to throw ace-duce and start over again.”

Internal link:

Rubinoff Friendship with Will Rogers and His Special Poem
Extenal link is from our other website, Reviving Antiquity.com    Musical Building by Tones of the Old Scale
personified seasons

Personified Seasons by an Indian Spirit

Personified Seasons by an Indian Spirit. Ah, the Catskill Mountains. So many poets and artists got their start there. Most recently several episodes of the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel were filmed at a Catskill resort where I worked.  My extended employment was over 15 Summer seasons. The resort, Scott’s Oquaga Lake House, is definitely enchanted:   

personified seasons
Personified seasons by an American Indian spirit is to be found at this remarkable place. The Summer of filming at Scott’s of the Marvelous Mrs Maisel was magical. You can watch the series on television and see Scotts including a big fireworks display.

Seasons Personified  By an Indian Spirit

“The poet’s on the prowl, looking for his prey, seeing which subject he’ll write about today.” – These words pretty much summarized what happen over two summer seasons. This spirit, a female of the Lennie Lenape tribe, talked my ear off. Her poems had a definite format, quatrains in triple meter. At one time this tribe had dwellings around the lake. As a matter of fact, hearsay says the owner, Ray Scott, is part American Indian! The Scott family had great respect for the pristine land and lake. It was a pleasure to work for them. Also, they loved their entertainers. At the end of the day, around 11:00 pm, they’d always always indulge their entertainers in Perry’s ice cream in the parlor. They always made you feel special.

From “Fingers of Fog”

This spring fed lake is enchanted
As such water bodies are.
I actually saw its essence
While viewing the morning star. 

Scott’s has a sign as you entered from the steep mountain drive into the parking lot.  It reads:  You haven’t experience Scott’s until you’ve experienced the fun. The fun is non-stop. People actually fall asleep with smiles on their faces. Here is the excerpt from the featured poem and picture: This tree can be easily be found  in early September on the east side of the lake.

September’s maple tree
Has spiraled leaves in red.
So intense in tone.
It looks as though its bled. 

 

 

imitation stifles music

Imitation Stifles Music and Hinders Originality

Imitation Stifles Music and Hinders Originality. A young French pianist came to ask a question of famed pianist and conductor Phillipe Entremont.  The purpose was to ask questions about her ideas for pianistic interpretation. Entremont had already won a prize in the 1952 Queen Elisabeth Music Competition[1.   Among his credentials was being the Director of the New Orleans Symphony from 1980 to 1986. He served the Denver Symphony Orchestra as principal conductor from 1986 to 1988, and music director from 1988 to 1989.[3] Entremont has also been chief conductor of the Vienna Chamber Orchestra, and is now its Conductor Laureate.  He also holds the same title with the Israel Chamber Orchestra.

I will quote Entremont’s answer found in the book, Reflections from the Keyboard: The World of the Concert Pianist.  by David Dubal.  Dubal has done a great service for all aficionados of piano playing in writing this book. In part Dubal’s knowledge comes from being the music and program director of New York City’s former classical music radio station, WNCN. His own credentials are also most impressive.

How Imitation Stifles Music

Essentially the younger, less experienced pianist told Entremont:  If a phrase pleases her from Brendel she copies him. If another phrase was pleasing from say, Weissenberg, she did the same. In effect, she kind of assembled the thoughts of many great pianists for various opus numbers she worked on. 

Entremont, in mentioning his thoughts to Dubal  replies: “This means she has nothing to say. You can not be successful at imitation: it is the death of music.”

My own piano teacher was Mischa Kottler. He often complained about students who were only great at imitation. If you showed them  exactly what to do, they were fine. However, such pupils were incapable of coming up with own ideas. Greatness often means rather than leaning on other people for musical thoughts, also be sure have your own.

 

two greatest pianists

Two Greatest Pianists Differed in Style

Two Greatest Pianists Differed in Style. How different can pianists be and still be on a par? This question is inspired inspired a quote from a quote:

  • Henry Pleasants. a music critic from Philadelphia once asked Rachmaninoff: Who are the greatest of the living pianists.
  • Harold Schonberg, music critic for the NY Times  quotes Pleasants quoting Rachmaninoff in his own book, The Virtuosi: Classical Music’s Great Performers from Paganini to Pavarotti

The story goes: Rachmaninoff thought a bit. “Well, he said, there’s Hofmann…”and he thought a little bit more, …”and there’s me.”  Rachmaninoff did not say another word, as the story goes. The fame of Rachmaninoff as eclipsed that of Hofmann, but it is still worth looking into Hofmann’s  background and accomplishments: 

two greatest pianists
Hofmann seated at the piano in 1916

The Second of the Two Greatest Pianists

Josef Hofmann - Wikiwand
Josef Hofmann at Carnegie Hall

Josef Hofmann was born in Podgórze (a district of Kraków), in Austro-Hungarian Galicia (present-day Poland) in 1876. His father was the composer, conductor and pianist Kazimierz Hofmann, His mother the singer Matylda Pindelska. As a composer, Hofmann published over one hundred works,  under the pseudonym Michel Dvorsky.  Included two piano concertos and ballet music. In 1946, he gave his last recital at Carnegie Hall,  He made 151 appearances at Carnegie.  Retirement to private life in took place in 1948.

How Did the Two Greatest Pianists Differ?

 

 

Physically (1) Hoffman was short. Rachmaninoff was tall.  Hofmann was loquacious talking fluently, readily, and incessantly. Rachmaninoff  severe, stern, or gloomy in manner.  His appearance was stern and he wasted no words. Hofmann color his music; while Rachmaninoff projected strength, structure and form. Advance planning marked the music of Rachmaninoff. Spontaneity marked Hofmann’s style.

Conclusion

What I find amazing is that Rachmaninoff, as the story goes, (1) Mentions Hoffman before he mentions himself. (2)  He idolizes a polar opposite.  (3) Then again, the mind of a genius is not easy to understand. My main teacher was primarily Mischa Kottler. Rachmaninoff, in the 1920’s gave Mischa a recommendation to study in Paris with Cortôt.  Mischa then went and studied with Emil von Sauer.  Enjoy this youtube recording of Mischa playing the Minute Waltz.

Dec 28, 2013 – Uploaded by Joseph Beels

Chopin’s Minute Waltz, with a twist …

Happiest Unplanned Moment of My Life and Mischa Kottler – DSOWORKS

music offers strength

Music Offers Strength in Rubinoff’s Older Age

Music offers Strength at Scott's
Darlene and Dave Rubinoff stayed on the 1st floor  on the right end “Green Gables”. Sharon and I spent many summers on the 2nd floor at the left end. After our concerts we put up a sign that read: “Rubinoff slept here!”. Hurrah for Scott’s at the Catskills!

Music Offers Strength in Rubinoff’s Older Age. Scott’s Oquaga Lake House was founded in 1869. This was about thirty years before Dave Rubinoff, the master violinist,  was born, in 1897. How did Rubinoff come to play here? I, David Ohrenstein, was the House piano player here for some 15 years. Doris and Ray Scott took wife Sharon and I in with our three children to enjoy the summers at this historical American resort. Of course professionally,  I was the “House” piano player. When we first started going there we only had Abe and Kathryn. Our youngest, Daniel was yet to be born. 

Doug & Eamonn Debut at Scott’s Oquaga Lake House. The Marvelous Ms. Maisel sits  in a canoe on Oquaga Lake in front of Scott’s Playhouse where Rubinoff and I performed one of his last concerts. Listen to this incredibly rare concert on the youtube connection below.

Music Offers Strength to Rubinoff at Scott’s

I quote from Darlene Rubinoff’s book, Dance of the Russian Peasant: “Oquaga Lake was beautiful and there was so much to do that summer. We had two of our four grand children…Aaron still remembers that summer vacation. On his return to his new school year he wrote an essay about it. It earned him an A+. Indeed, it was an A+ summer!”

We have my daughter to thank for this video. The video was taken and then lost. When it was finally found, daughter Kathryn took on the incredibly difficult job of posting it.  This 1984 video offers a complete course in American musical history.  Hear all about Victor Herbert John Philip Sousa, Caruso, Paderewski and many American Presidents. .

Internal link:                                Cotton Club Rendezvous in the 1930’s

continuous musical practice

Continuous Musical Practice by Rubinoff and His Violin

Continuous Musical Practice by Rubinoff and His Violin. Yes, Dave played and conducted at the Paramount Theater and for Paramount pictures. His fame covered the country from New York to Hollywood. Rubinoff was a guest conductor of the Chicago Philharmonic. Dave featured his artistry weekly on the Ed Cantor radio hour. Yet, he always made time for children in schools. 

I Witnessed Dave’s Continuous Musical Practice

I (David Ohrenstein) worked as his accompanist and arranger for many years. My work took place at the Leland House in downtown Detroit. After he married Darlene Azar, we worked together in Hilliard Ohio and later in Houston Texas. Dave seemed to like my musical ideas. Also, my temperament is easy going. So what characterized Dave’s practicing? 

Continual musical practice
Dave always held his Stradivarius violin in front of him like a valued trophy. This was his object of continuous musical practice. A younger me is standing next to this great master.

Except for eating, he almost never stopped playing his violin. When he watched TV, his violin was in his hand. Over and over, he worked tricky passages. When his wife or a chauffeur drove us to a concert, he’d run scales in the back seat on his violin. We worked a five day day making musical arrangements. Trial and error for arrangements and practice for proper technique were always there.  

Bringing the house down at Carnegie Hall; yet he’d always play for children in schools.

Here’s What Dave Had to Say About Being Diverted from Practice

I quote this story from Dave autobiography written with his last wife, Darlene. His book is entitled Dance of the Russian Peasant. “Back in Hollywood, Cary Grant, Victor Mature, Rudy Vallee…talked me into going deep sea fishing on someone’s yacht…To me it was a waste of time; I could have been practicing. Music was my life. I lived for music.” My own relevant story was the day a said to Dave, “Music has been good to you.” Dave immediately and sharply replied; “Why, that’s because I’ve been good to music!”

Enjoy these internal Rubinoff links for stories like you’ve never heard: 

 

 

Knickerbocker Hotel

Knickerbocker Hotel Houses Rubinoff and His Violin

Knickerbocker Hotel Houses Rubinoff and His Violin. Rubinoff was in the employ of the Paramount Theaters in New York. He also worked for the Paramount Pictures in Hollywood, Ca. What a life he lived!  My connection (David Ohrensein): I was Rubinoff’s arranger and accompanist for some 15 years. 

  • On the East Coast he chummed around the big names at Harlem’s Cotton Club after conducting at the Paramount Theater. 
  • On the West Coast he socialized with Hollywood stars after filming for Paramount Pictures at the Knickerbocker.

One way he was able to tell where he was (especially after a drink or two) was by the stars in the room: If he saw his friends  Cab Calloway, Lena Horne, Satchmo, Ethel Waters, Joe Lewis- the heavyweight champion of the world-Louis Armstrong,  or Jimmy Durante” – he knew he was on the East Coast.

Dave made many movies for Paramount Pictures. On the West Coast he chummed around with Hollywood stars. What a life!

Amazon.com: THANKS A MILLION (Arthur Johnston SHEET MUSIC) from ...
The Knickerbocker was a hangout for his cast after hours.

About the Los Angeles Knickerbocker Hotel

Date of completion was 1929 when it was rechristened the Knickerbocker in June 1929.[1][2] The hotel catered to the Hollywood’s film industry. Some of Hollywood’s most famous dramatic moments took place there. For example on Halloween  of 1936, Harry Houdini‘s widow held her tenth séance to contact her deceased husband/magician on the roof of the hotel.[3]

For this section I quote from Rubinoff’s` autobiography as he dictated to his wife, Darlene:

“I was making the movie Thanks a Million with Dick Powell, Ann Dvorak, and Patsy Kelly. We had many intimate get-togethers at the Knickerbocher Hotel Grill. This hotel had the reputation for being haunted.” (see picture below) If you look at the sheet music (to the right),  Paul Whiteman led the band for the movie. Lasting fame  attached itself  Whiteman for introducing the world to Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue.  

Dead Hollywood The Lady Dicks
It seems like most fun a person can have is visiting a haunted place. This is especially true on Halloween.

Internal link to Rubinoff and the Cotton Club:    Cotton Club Rendezvous in the 1930’s

 

Cotton Club buddies

Cotton Club Rendezvous in the 1930’s

Cotton Club Rendezvous in the 1930’s. David Rubinoff and His Violin (seated at the piano) and Jimmy Durante met at the Cotton Club. Dave literally made a fortune playing his violin for the American public. Now he seems to be all but forgotten. I intend to change that. As his accompanist and arranger for some fifteen years, I have a lot to say about David. Last year I offered a concert with violinist Steven Greenman. It was under the baton of Joseph Rubin. Note my name at the bottom of the poster to the left.  I also gave a lecture about this great master. This happened in a little town called Circleville in Ohio. Dave knew, sensed and responded to the public need quality popular music

Cotton Club rendezvous
Rubinoff and His Violin documented musical life in America in the early part of the 20th century in his book, Dance of the Russian Peasant.
Look at this $2.00 and $2.50 price of dinner and entertainment. Rubinoff made as much as $500.000.00 a year during this same  period of time.

Cotton Club Rendezvous with Jimmy Durante

So, what is the story? First, I recommend reading my first internal link about the Cotton Club. Dave often shared a ride to the Club with the head of the Musicians Union, Jimmy Petrillo. Whom else would share a ride in Petrillo’s armored car?  None other than Al Capone. I quote his autobiography, The Dance of the Russian Peasant, that he dictated to his last wife, Darlene Azar.  

Cotton Club Carousing for Rubinoff and His violin

 

“In the 1930’s, in New York, I enjoyed the Cotton Club. There was always good food and entertainment. They (the band) always played Give Me a Moment Please, my radio theme song when they saw me arrive. (A personal anecdote: His beautiful, hand carved door would also play his theme song every time I rang it). 

I met many marvelous celebrities of the day like Cab Calloway, Lena Horne, Satchmo, Ethel Waters, Joe Lewis- the heavyweight champion of the world-Louis Armstrong, Jimmy Durante, and many politicians at the Cotton Club.”

More to come!
Five clucking hens

Five Clucking Hens Became my Friends

 

Five Clucking hens made my acquaintance by Schroon Lake in the Adirondack Mountains. We stayed in a Bed in Breakfast while staging our new musical/opera, Patra. Yes, it’s nice to make friends with people in a new place. Sometimes, it’s also nice to make friends with the animals. The Seagle Music Colony is famous for staging new works. We (my wife and myself) were chosen to do our new musical-opera entitled Patra. Others have written about Cleopatra and her relationship with Julius Caesar and Marc Anthony. My lyricist, wife Sharon, looked for a new angle about her life: Her meeting and possibility of a relationship with Octavian. Later he becomes Augustus Caesar. Sharon found the link of cause and effect in a memorable meeting Cleopatra had with Octavian. That becomes the highlight of our opera. 

As a poet, I had the time, after rehearsals, to write some poetry. While unwinding one evening after a trying day, I wrote the following verse. 

 

Five Clucking Hens Became my Friends

The blanket of night is coming,
Covering creation below.
Eyes are becoming droopy.
The seeds of sleep does it sow.

As I sit under covered gazebo,
Watching the daylight retreat;
I breathe fresh forest air
As fragrant as any treat.

Five hens are strutting nearby;
Behind their fenced-in cage.
As they forage for their favorite bugs,
I enjoy the show they stage.

The hens have their hangout,
Complete with pecking order.
Happy behind barbed fence,
Encasing  their rectangular border.

As I return to my Breakfast in Bed,
They follow me, loudly clucking.
As far as their fence will permit,
With full blast squawking and chuckling.

What a special moment in time;
Relishing my five fowl friends.
I’ll miss them when I leave:
But I’ll be back, to make amends.

Seagle Music Colony is the premier opera and musical theater producing organization in the Adirondack region of upstate New York, as well as the oldest summer vocal training program in the United States. In 2020, Seagle Music Colony will celebrate its 105th Anniversary Season. Also, check out our Patra website:

PATRA – Opera Comique by Sharon and David Ohrenstein

We work-shopped our Musical/Opera, Patra, at this picturesque location in the Adirondacks. Our singers and production crew were the finest. Earlier, many had taken auditions with the finest opera companies in the world!

 

 

 

 

 

 

poetic escape

Poetic Escape to Forget Your Concerns

Poetic Escape to Forget Your Concerns. Poetry must make a comeback! There is no better way to forget about your problems, than to recite meaningful poetry. William Wadsworth Longfellow summarized the importantce of poetry in this regard. This post serves as an introduction to the following post on DSOworks.com. A spirit dwells around Oquaga Lake. I believe it to be a female from the Lennie Lenape tribe. My next post will off such a poem. It is entitled; “A Walk Far Back in Time.” Like Longfellow, her poems offer poetic escape. I should have it up within a couple of days. Enjoy!

Poetic escape
Poetic escape happens on Oquaga Lake. It’s spirit loves poetry.

The Day is Done 

The day is done, and the darkness
      Falls from the wings of Night,
As a feather is wafted downward
      From an eagle in his flight.
 
I see the lights of the village
      Gleam through the rain and the mist,
And a feeling of sadness comes o’er me
      That my soul cannot resist:
 
A feeling of sadness and longing,
      That is not akin to pain,
And resembles sorrow only
      As the mist resembles the rain.
 
Come, read to me some poem,
      Some simple and heartfelt lay,
That shall soothe this restless feeling,
      And banish the thoughts of day.
 
Not from the grand old masters,
      Not from the bards sublime,
Whose distant footsteps echo
      Through the corridors of Time.
 
For, like strains of martial music,
      Their mighty thoughts suggest
Life’s endless toil and endeavor;
      And to-night I long for rest.
 
Read from some humbler poet,
      Whose songs gushed from his heart,
As showers from the clouds of summer,
      Or tears from the eyelids start;
 
Who, through long days of labor,
      And nights devoid of ease,
Still heard in his soul the music
      Of wonderful melodies.
 
Such songs have power to quiet
      The restless pulse of care,
And come like the benediction
      That follows after prayer.
 
Then read from the treasured volume
      The poem of thy choice,
And lend to the rhyme of the poet
      The beauty of thy voice.
 
And the night shall be filled with music,
      And the cares, that infest the day,
Shall fold their tents, like the Arabs,
      And as silently steal away.