Entertaining Eleanor Roosevelt at Carnegie Hall has quite a happy and unusual twist for Rubinoff. Why am I writing this? I was Rubinoff’s arranger and accompanist for some 15 years. Dave’s life’s story is largely untold and it simply was incredibly exciting. When we went on our lunch breaks, which were always short due to the importance of the music, I heard the most fantastic stories. Some of these stories made it into his autobiography, The Dance of the Russian Peasant.
Entertaining Eleanor Roosevelt at Carnegie Hall had Unexpected Consequences for Dave
Dave gave a concert at Carnegie Hall attended by Eleanor Rossevelt, two generals and secret service. Eleanor said to Dave, ” You were inspiring, as always. I want you to meet Richard Addinsell from England.” Immediately Rubinoff told the great British composer how much he admired his Warsaw Concerto and wanted to play it on the violin. Addinsell said it was written for piano. Rubinoff told him he would be happy to help him make an arrangement for violin. Dave said it would be a great honor if he could actually help him make the violin arrangement. As a result, Dave and Richard are busy conferring on the project in the featured picture.
Entertainer Friendships Can Make Careers Skyrocket.
Rudy Vallee (July 28, 1901 – July 3, 1986) was a popular American singer, actor, bandleader, and entertainer. Born Hubert Prior Vallée in Island Pond, Vermont, he grew up in Westbrook, Maine. In high school he took up the saxophone and acquired the nickname. “Rudy” was the name given after famous saxophonist Rudy Weidoeft. Vallee became the most prominent and arguably the first of a new style of popular singer, the “crooner”. Previously, popular singers both needed and had strong projecting voices to fill theaters. Such were the voices neededin the days before the microphone. New style crooners had soft voices that were well suited to the intimacy of the new medium of radio.
Vallee came often to play at the Paramount. Rubinoff told me about Rudy admired his playing and conducting of his overtures. Vallee was a sensation at that time with the college crowd. Everyone loved his Whiffin’ Poof Song. What is Whiffin’Poof? The Yale Whiffenpoofs is a collegiate a cappella singing group established at Yale University in 1909. It is the oldest such group in the United States. The line-up is completely replaced each year: Rising seniors comprise its members. They often take a year leave of absence from the university to tour the United States and internationally. Former members included Cole Porter & Jonathan Coulton!
“The Whiffenpoof Song” (Rudy Vallee, 1927) – YouTube
Dave often talked with me about how they ate, drank and signed autographs together. Also about how they enjoyed each others company and respected each other’s art. Comically, Rubinoff admired how Vallee spoke perfect English with impeccable diction. Dave, by comparison, was often unhappy about how he spoke with a heavy Russian accent. Rudy would then assure him not to worry because his violin would speak for him. Rudy guided Dave to his first job on the Chase and Sanborn radio hour. The rest is history.
Rubinoff friendship with Will Rogers and Will’s Special Poem can help all of us:
Perhaps the words engraved on a pocket watch given to my mentor Rubinoff and His Violin by Will Rogers in 1932 is most appropriate to quote for all of us at this time. Rubinoff admired Will Rogers specifically and all American Indians in general. His apartment was decorated with famous American Indian paintings. Dave even had himself painted as an American Indian chief, feathers and all. Will, of Cherokee background, was Rubinoff’s mentor in stagecraft. This favorite poem is called The Clock of Life by George H. Candler. What a momento to my own Rubinoff friendship!.
Rubinoff Friendship Poem with Will Rogers
The clock of life is wound but once, And no man has the power; To tell just when the hands will stop, At late or early hour.
Now is the only time we own. Love, live; toil with a will, Do not wait until tomorrow, For the clock may then be still.
The same year (1932) that Will gave Dave the pocket watch; Will took an airplane trip bound to Alaska with his friend Wiley Post. Needless to say, the clock of life stopped for Will and Wiley that same summer: The plane crashed on the way to Alaska. At every concert, Rubinoff recited these inspirational words. I worked with Dave and heard this poem at countless concerts until his passing away in 1986.
Unlikely Friendship Between Rubinoff and Rudy Vallee. Vallee set show business ablaze. Hubert Prior “Rudy” Vallée (July 28, 1901 – July 3, 1986) was an American singer, actor, and radio host. Teens loved him. After playing drums in his high school band. Vallée played clarinet and saxophone as a teenager. From 1924 through 1925, he played with the Savoy Havana Band at the Savoy Hotel in London. He returned to the United States, briefly attending the University of Maine. Vallee received a degree in philosophy from Yale University. At Yale he played with Peter Arno. in a jazz band called the Yale Collegians.
David Rubinoff talks about their totally different background. His autobiography was dictated by him to his wife, Darlene: Dance of the Russian Peasant. The title says it all: Rubinoff was from a small impoverished town in Russia. Dave’s speech was colored by his Russian accent. Vallée was highly educated and from an elite background. Yet, at one time, Dave and Rudi shared a great friendship,
Unlikely Friendship Quoted from Darlene’s Writings
Darlene Azar Rubinoff quotes David the book “Rudy was a Yale man and I admired his perfect English and diction immensely. I wished I had his command of the English language. Opposites attract and he laughed good-naturedly at my broad Russian accent. Rudy corrected my English many times, but told me not to worry because my violin spoke for me.”
Rudy recommended Rubinoff to perform on a radio spot for the American Broadcasting Company. At time Rudy had to many previous engagements to take the job. As a result, Dave got his big start on the Chase and Sandborn Hour.
Good timing and knowing the right people are key to advancing a career!
Cotton Club Carousing for Dave Rubinoff and His violin. I begin working with Rubinoff as his accompanist and arranger when he was 70. I was 21 years old at the time. How did this happen? I was working on my Master of Music degree at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. Dave Rubinoff was staying at the Leland House in downtown Detroit. I just happened to be walking by the Liberal Arts Music Office. A Dr. Morris Hochberg had just answered the phone at the office. Dave Rubinoff was on the phone. Dr. Hochberg said to me, “David, come here, there is someone I’d like you to talk with.” As the story goes, I hit it off with this great violinist at my audition.
Dave Rubinoff and I (David Ohrenstein) remained best of friends and work associates until he passed away at age 89. He married Darlene Azar while we were working together. They then lived in Hilliard, Ohio so I simply made many trips to Ohio. Darlene wrote a book about Dave that he dictated to her.
“The Music Shop” was filmed when he was at his prime. For the second youtube video, I personally brought David to Scott’s Oquaga Lake House for a 1984 concert. Dave will tell you unbelievable but true show biz stories.
16mm ‘soundie’ “THE MUSIC SHOP” US 1944 Rubinoff & his …
In one of the final years of his life, renowned violinist Dave Rubinoff plays the Stradivarius violin for an …
Jun 22, 2015 – Uploaded by Lesley & Ohrenstein
What’s it Like to Do Cotton Club Carousing ?
The story you are about to read was dictated to her in his “The Dance of the Russian Peasant.”
“Jimmy Petrillo, czar of the musicians union, picked me up in his armored car to go to the clubs. Once I rode with Al Capone and Jimmy in Capone’s armored car. My brother Charlie advised me to stay away from Capone. Al Capone never bothered me or tried to befriend me. I guessed Jimmy Petrillo took care of Capone, and told him to leave me and mine alone.”
Virgin Flower Birth by a Black-Eyed Susan. Emerson, Thoreau…all communed with nature. They were part and parcel of trancendentalism: This was a philosophical movement that developed in the late 1820s and 1830s in the eastern United States. A core belief is in the inherent goodness of people and nature.  Belief was that society and its institutions often corrupt the purity of the individual. However, people are at their best when truly “self-reliant” and independent.
I spent 15 summer season in the Catskill Mountains of New York. My title was “the house piano player” for Scott’s Oquaga Lake House. Scott’s was hauntingly beautiful. Yes, old resorts in the Catskills often had haunted houses. Sometimes the ghosts were quite real, other times you knew they were people just having fun. The great thing about Scott’s was that I was not only in their employ, but my entire family was invited to spend their summers at this fairy tale-like place. What
Here is my poem about the virgin flower birth of a female black-eyed Susan. I believe a spirit, which I call the Oquaga Spirit, dictated this and many other poems to me. In my latter years I plan on being a wandering bard and reciting these poems wherever there is an ear to listen. I believe the spirit was a female Indian from the Lennie Lenape tribe.
Virgin Flower Birth in a Poem
Black Eyed Susan
On my daily walks I passed a single flower. A black-eyed Susan it was Alone to guard a tower.
It marked a forest entry And daily greeted meet; With a bright and yellow smile, Under shaded forest tree.
For weeks it stood its ground, Always looking new. How long will it last Until its season’s thru?
Then one day in August, I wondered if it was there? A miracle, two Susans greet me: A mother and daughter pair!
Opera Completely Changes in the Nineteenth Century. History twists and turns trends in music as it does everything else. Basically opera writers wrote everything in the 18th century. Their writing skills ranged from operatic to symphonic music to cantatas, trios duets, quartets and all types of sonatas. That was the norm. One man was quite an exception: Christoph Willibald Gluck. He was a good half a century ahead of his time:
The reformer-composer clearly announced his avant-guard intentions in the prelude to his opera Alceste (1767): “I have sought to reduce music to its true function: Supporting poetry so as to strengthen emotional expression and the impact of dramatic situations without interrupting the action and without weakening it with superfluous ornamentation.” Gluck defined his music as “the language of humanity”. He left behind musical hedonism in favor of lyric drama. Passion was expressed as naturally as possible by lyrics.
Opera Completely Changes in the 19th Century
With few exceptions, instrumental musical was either more important than or at least as important as lyrics in pre-19th century opera. With most 19th century composers of opera, lyrics became much more important: Music served the intent of the lyrics. Wife Sharon and I approached our new opera, Patra, using the philosophy of Gluck. Sharon, as lyricist, freely added dissonance when called for by the lyrics. If a mood changed suddenly, Sharon would, for example, change the meter to fit the new sentiment. If something called for a Capella singing, she freely cut the instrumental accompaniment. Below a couple of samples on youtube. For more details, our website for Patra is Patraopera.com.
Our opera is all about how Octavian, after his fateful meeting with Cleopatra, changed his life. He transformed from be a rough and insensitive person into the man who will become August Casear. Augustus was famous for initiating the 200 year era of “Roman peace.”
This thrilling new opera filled with enchanting melodies brings to life the seductive world of Cleopatra.
Having defeated his rival Marc Antony, General Octavian marches into Egypt determined to make Cleopatra his slave.
But Cleopatra is determined to somehow save herself and her four children. Her only hope is to win the love of a third Roman Consul and General, Octavian.
Musical Duration Dots Abound in Chopin Prelude #3. What do dots do to the duration of notes? In Western musical notation, a dotted note is a note with a small dot written after it. In modern practice, the first dot increases the duration of the basic note by half (the original note with an extra beam) of its original value. This means that a dotted note is equivalent to writing the basic note tied to a note of half the value. For instance, a dotted half note is equivalent to a half note tied to a quarter note. Subsequent dots add progressively halved value.Chopin uses this quite effectively in his Prelude #3. I call his use by the name of pyramided dots.That is because you can make the numbers 1,2, and 3 into a pyramid. See the illustrations below:
On the top treble clef, three dots are used twice:
The 1st beat of measure one.
Also, the first beat of measure three.
One the second treble/bass staff, two dots are then used twice:
On the third beat of the treble.
Single dots are used by Chopin in the 5th and 6th measures.
A triple-dotted note is a note with three dots written after it; its duration is 17⁄8 times its basic note value. Use of a triple-dotted note value is not common in the Baroque and Classical periods. It is quite common in the music of Richard Wagner and Anton Bruckner, especially in their brass parts.
What Effect do the Musical Duration Dots have on Chopin’s Prelude?
I feel Chopin’s compositions for the piano are highly innovative. My own teacher was Mischa Kottler. He studied with Alfred Cortôt. This was in the 1920’s. In turn Cortôt studied with a pupil of Chopin. I was taught to play a dotted note on the piano with more tone. Then certainly a double dot should be played with more tone. A triple dotted note should then have tone to the max. Tone, when played on the piano, should always sound pleasing. Ask me for a live demonstration of this Chopin Prelude on the newly refurbished 1924 Steinway Concert Grand at the Gasparilla Inn. I play for there for dining 6 nights weekly. See internal link:
Changing Standards in Musical Performance are Upon Us: Fast, crass, loud and vulgar interpretations of music are fleeing and soon to be gone. Mars and Venus have been used for social comparison. I refer to the book Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus (1992). The author is John Gray He had earned degrees in meditation and taken a correspondence course in psychology.
So what are some of the changes we can expect in the musical field?
Large concert hall and amphitheater concerts will greatly diminish. Smaller, more intimate settings for music will gain the upper hand. This is very much akin to the chamber music recitals that used to grace the wealthy during the classical era. Often wealthy patrons would employ their own orchestras. Conductor-composer. Joseph Haydn, working for the Austrian Esterhazy family was an archetype example:
Repeating a a three or four note phrase dozens of times during a song will find its place in private practice rooms only.
Changing Standards on Multiple Repetition of Notes
This is based on a true story. I worked with Rubinoff and His Violin. He would stand in front of a TV set, watching television, and practice the opening four notes of any given song maybe one to two hundred times. This was to get precision to to max on the motif he was working on. But this was for practice only! He would never think of making his practice session into a hit song! Today we mostly listen to musical practice sessions with expensive costumes and backgrounds. I ask my reader, how long will that last?
Beauty is the ascription of a property or characteristic to an animal, idea, object, person or place that provides a perceptual experience of pleasure or satisfaction. Classical Greek offers a more inclusive definition. The word is κάλλος, kallos. As an adjective it was καλός, kalos. However, kalos may and is also translated as ″good″ or ″of fine quality. It had a broader meaning than mere physical or material beauty. Similarly, kallos was used differently from the English word beauty in that it first and foremost applied to humans. As such, it came with an erotic connotation.
From 6 – 7 pm on the “living room Steinway.” I frequently feature ragtime piano. It was composed by writers as Scott Joplin, Tom Turpin and Lucketh Roberts. As the inn was being built, the music of these wonderful American composers gave birth to the American style of music. The music fits the living room’s elaborate and beautiful decor. Then I go into the elaborate, spacious dining room. A 1925 newly rebuilt Steinway concert grand is to be found there. My hours there are from 7 – 9:30 pm six days weekly from Christmas to Easter. It is best to call for reservations.