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

Rubinoff Friendship

Rubinoff Friendship with Will Rogers and His Special Poem

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
This is one of many pictures of Rubinoff (left) posing with Will Rogers. Here, Will is attempting to play the violin.

Rubinoff Friendship Poem with Will Rogers

Rubinoff friendship with Will Rogers is etched on the back of  this pocket watch.
Rubinoff friendship with Will Rogers is etched on the back of this pocket watch. as a poem. A young David Ohrenstein heard this poem at every concert given with this famed violinist of the 1930’s. The picture of Dave and me is from the 1980’s

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. 

Internal link: Cotton Club Carousing for Rubinoff

External Link: Confusing Complexity with too Many Sharps & Flats

unlikely friendship

Unlikely Friendship Between Rubinoff and Rudy Vallee

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.

 

Unlikely friendship
Rudy Vallee and Rubinoff and His Violin formed a friendship even though their backgrounds were so different.

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,

A painting of Dave Rubinoff listening to his muse on his book cover.

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!

 

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!
Cotton Club Carousing

Cotton Club Carousing for Rubinoff and His violin

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 …

www.youtube.com › watch

16mm ‘soundie’ “THE MUSIC SHOP” US 1944 Rubinoff & his violin … Music Shop” and features …

May 17, 2014 – Uploaded by 95filmforever

Lost Concert “Rubinoff and His Violin” on Oquaga … – YouTube

www.youtube.com › watch

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.”

 

Internal Rubinoff Link: Ten Minute Musical Bliss of Rubinoff and His Violin    Please share this post!!!!!Thank you.

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

virgin flower birth

Virgin Flower Birth by a Black-Eyed Susan

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.[1][2][3] A core belief is in the inherent goodness of people and nature. [1]  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

virgin flower birth
Scott’s Oquaga Lake House was our home away from home for 15 summer seasons. If there is a place where you can have more fun than we had there, I’d like to know about it!

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!

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.