Special Birthday for Pianist Age 94

Special Birthday for My Teacher, Mischa Kottler

Special Birthday for My Teacher, Mischa Kottler. How many people can still be outstanding in their fields of endeavor when they are in their nineties? I guess that when you are that aged, every birthday is a special birthday. The active aging honor mostly goes to creative artists and musicians.  When Mischa Kottler was 94, he flew, without escort, to Sarasota to visit us.  “Us” is my wife, three children and me.  He shows up at the Sarasota-Bradenton airport sporting a handsome blue sport coat wearing a  baby blue colored French beret. Music kept him young and vital until his last days.  He stayed with us for weeks at our Sarasota home.  There I was lucky to receive regular piano lessons from this great master once more. For our family and friends  he flawlessly played the version of Chopin’s Minute Waltz that on youtube below. Another famous musician who actively lived into his nineties was James Hubert “Eubie” Blake (* 7 February 1 887 [1] in Baltimore , Maryland ; † 12. February 1983 in New York City , New York ). He was an American jazz pianist and – Composer who influenced the development of Ragtime and early jazz. Music and the arts definitely offer “a retirement profession.”

Chopin-Kottler  Waltz 6 in D♭ major, Op 64~1

Maestro Mischa Kottler came to visit with our family on his special birthday
A young David (the blogger) and older Mischa at age 94.

Special Birthday and a  Special Man, Mischa Kottler

Mischa Kottler was a pianist, born in 1899. As a young man in New York, he played for Sergei Rachmaninoff, impressing Rachmaninoff with his own third piano concerto. Rachmaninoff recommended Kottler study in Europe; he went and became a student of Alfred Cortot in Paris and Emil von Sauer in Vienna, the latter being a pupil of the great Franz Liszt. Back in the United States, Kottler was lead pianist for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. In 1933 he became musical director of WWJ radio in Detroit. He was chairman of the Piano Department at Wayne State University, and was a major influence on young pianists.

 

Significant rests determine character

Significant Rests Determine Wedding or Funeral

 

Significant Rests determine Wedding or Funeral. Does a composer write rests into his music or not? If he does, the rests have a very specific function. They add lightness or breathing space into the music. We would expect a lack of rests in a funeral march due to its somber nature.  On the other hand, we would expect rests in a Bridal Chorus. On the basic level: A funeral is a sad and heavy occasion = few, if any rests.  A wedding is lighter and definitely joyful. We would expect quite a number of rests. Significant rests, and other factors determine the difference. One of the most tradition funeral marches was written by Chopin. While, the most traditional wedding march for the processional was written by Wagner.

Frédéric Chopin‘s Piano Sonata No. 2 in B minor, Op. 35, popularly known as the Funeral March, was completed in 1839 at Nohant, near Châteauroux in France. However, the third movement, whence comes the sonata’s common nickname, had been composed as early as 1837.  It was played at the graveside during Chopin’s own burial at Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.[2]

significant rests - Chopin knew when and when not to use them
Everything Chopin notated in the music displays knowledge and genius.

Wagner wrote a bridal chorus in Lohengrin. It uses a similar opening rhythm to Chopin’s Funeral March.  The basic pattern of Chopin‘s motif is  (1) quarter note, (2) dotted eighth, followed by (3) a 16th note, and another (quarter note). However, the musical motif of Wagner‘s wedding march lightens the mood with two rests. They are the 8th and 16th note rests in the featured picture. I suggest the pianist observe these rules when playing for either occasion:

  • When performing the wedding march, release the damper pedal during the rests. This pedal adds heaviness to the music and the occasion. Rather, let the rests come through and punctuate the melody.
  • Conversely, when playing the funeral march plenty of damper pedal is just fine.

Yes, I am available as a pianist for all occasions.

 

 

Grand Poetic Revival is Just Around the Corner!

Grand Poetic Revival is Just Around the Corner! That’s remarkable. Poetry has been hiding for centuries. For example, most Chinese believe that the last time poetry peaked was in the Tang Dynasty.  That ended more than 1100 years ago.   The Golden Age of Russian Poetry is the name traditionally applied by Russian philologists to the first half of the 19th century.[1] It is also called the Age of Pushkin, after its most significant poet (in Nabokov‘s words, the greatest poet this world was blessed with since the time of Shakespeare[2]).  The history of American poetry is also  in rough shape. One example: American poetry published between 1910 and 1945 remains lost in the pages of small circulation political periodicals, particularly the ones on the left, destroyed by librarians during the 1950s McCarthy era.[2] 

Grand Poetic Revival
Russian Poet Alexander Pushkin. 1827. Oil on canvas

So How is A Grand Poetic Revival Just Around the Corner?

Issac Newton stated that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Poetry is a force equal in magnitude and opposite in direction to prose. The second body (poetry) is about to react contrary  to action first body. Given Newton’s Laws (1687), poetry should become popular for a  minimum of a few hundred years:  Note his third law:

Third law:When one body exerts a force on a second body, the second body simultaneously exerts a force equal in magnitude and opposite in direction on the first body. The three laws of motion were first compiled by Isaac Newton in his Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica (Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy), first published in 1687.[4]

A greater percentage of prose has degenerated to colorless “information.” Poetic techniques have flown out of the window with computer technology. Original analogy has all but disappeared. Those that are around are terribly overworked. In my opinion, the worse of the uncolorful current bunch is the word “issues.” To paraphrase Shakespeare, “issues” has “died a thousand deaths.”

I’ve written a book of poetry called The Oquaga Spirit Speaks. After memorizing and practicing reciting the entire book, I am ready to tour. I hope the Oquaga Spirit will be the  herald a new and peaceful age. In the words of the Oquaga Spirit:

We live in an age of information
Well, information is fog.
Incite burns it away
So truth we are able to log.

Popular Concert With Rubinoff

Popular Concert With Rubinoff and His Violin

Popular Concert With Rubinoff and His Violin. You can read on the program, the Stradivarius violin was insured for $100.000. That was in the 1930’s. Now it’s closer to 2 million. Rubinoff was a superstar in the 1930’s. Circumstances of the Great Depression favored his rise to fame. During difficult times the public needs beauty in the arts. In music this translate to melody. After the good times of the 1920’s the next decade started out with the Great Depression. Times were tough, crass and violent. We could almost draw a parallel to today. The last thing people needed were rough qualities in their entertainment. Rubinoff offered beautiful melody on the violin. The public ate it up. He became a sensation and made a fortune.  Rubinoff credits his success in great measure to an American Indian, Will Rogers.

Known as “Oklahoma’s Favorite Son”,[1] Rogers was born to a prominent Cherokee Nation family in Indian Territory (now part of Oklahoma). He traveled around the world three times, made 71 movies (50 silent films and 21 “talkies”),[2] and wrote more than 4,000 nationally syndicated newspaper columns.[3] By the mid-1930s, the American people adored Rogers. He was the leading political wit of his time, and was the highest paid Hollywood movie star. Rogers died in 1935 with aviator Wiley Post, when their small airplane crashed in northern Alaska.[4]

Will rogers playing Rubinoff's Strad in a gag picture. What a Story!
Rubinoff and American Indian Will Rogers were best friends. Ruby treasured his associated with Rogers and paid him homage at every concert we gave together.

Rubinoff credits Will Rogers for his success with the popular concert.   In his biography, Dance of the Russian Peasant, written by his wife Darlene Rubinoff that she wrote from recording Dave, he states,  “Will used to give me advice. He was a happy fellow and a pleasure to be near. Will advised me on timing, how to time my gestures, how to get the audience to do my bidding, and how to talk to provoke the appropriate responses

That is the sign of the truest friend. Here is a sample of Will’s kindness. He gave Rubinoff a giant pocket watch. Will had the poem below engraved on its back. Will also included his picture with Dave with the following inscription: “To the greatest fiddler in the world. Your Pal, Will Rogers 1932.” Rubinoff recited it at every single concert. The audience always loved it. Here are some paraphrases from the poem engraved on the watch case.

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,
So live, love, toil with a will,
Place no faith in “Tomorrow,”
For the Clock may then be still.

Robert H. Smith

 

Popular Concert With Rubinoff and His Violin

But it gets even better.  As a pianist, I invited him to the resort I was playing at. We gave an unforgettable concert together. Listen to it. Share it with friends. Experience American history as it was actually lived by this great American. He talks about his personal friendships Victor Herbert, John Phillip Sousa, President and Mrs Roosevelt, Will Rogers, President  Eisenhower, Irving Berlin……I  accompanied him at Scott’s Oquaga Lake House in Deposit, NY, The youtube video is called “Lost Concert Found” from 1984. You can even hear a thunderstorm in the background.

Johannes Brahms Arch Romanticist

Low Living High Thinking Characterizes Johannes Brahms

Low Living High Thinking Johannes Brahms. I think the featured picture of Brahms portrays his humility and kindness. Johannes Brahms (* 7 May 1833 in Hamburg , † 3. April 1897 in Vienna ) was a German composer , pianist and conductor whose compositions mainly of high romance from the Romantic Era of classical music. In the Romantic period, music became more expressive and emotional, expanding to encompass literary, artistic, and philosophical themes. Famous composers from the second half of the century include Johann Strauss II, Brahms, Liszt, Tchaikovsky, Verdi, and Wagner. Brahms is one of the most important composers of the second half of the 19th century. He was born in Hamburg on May 7, 1833. His masterful of use of counterpoint with beautiful melody are unequaled.

I’ve been practicing the six numbers of opus 118. Very seldom does he change a time signature in any one of these numbers.  However, like Chopin, he often changes meter within the context of the music. Thus both Brahms and Chopin would write in 3/4. But the feeling of the beats are 2/4 time. Then, the beat flows back to the designated 3/4 time.

Low Living High Thinking  is How the Giant Named Johannes Brahms Grew Up

 

Low living high thinking, This was the birthplace of Johannes Brahms.
Johannes Brahms grew up in the first floor dwelling to the left of the door. A great man grew up in a small apartment tenement.

Young Brahms became the the conductor of a Choral Society in Detmold. He was also Court Pianist and Teacher of the royal family. The post came with free rooms and living expenses.  He resided at the Hotel Stadt Frankfort. It was located exactly opposite the castle where he worked. He brought about quite a change in his lifestyle by his own efforts! Also, he could talk about almost any subject. One of his sayings was: : “Whoever wishes to play well must not only practice a great deal, but read many books.” My source is Story-Lives of Master Musicians by Harriette Brower, 1922 Frederick A. Stokes Company, page 306.  Now you can see why I chose the featured library picture. And yes, a poor person with character, determination and knowledge can make a tremendous success out of life.

 

 

Peaceful training as per the Oquaga Spirit

Peaceful Training as per the Oquaga Spirit

Peaceful Training as per the Oquaga Spirit. With a wave of a wand, I become a poet. I’ve always just been a composer of music. However, at Oquaga Lake I met a spirit. She loves to dictate poetry to me. This happens no where else. The resort is in the foothills of the Catskill Mountains. It is 25 miles East of Binghamton, New York. US-17 is the road that skirts the resort. Just drive straight up the slope for about 3.5 miles and you’re there.

Peaceful Training was on Oquaga Lake

The Scott family have a huge presence on the lake. I have been in their employment for about 15 non-consecutive years. My first year was 1983. Eventually, the wisdom of the Oquaga Spirit as spoken  will be on this site. Here is one of her poems from that summer of ’83. That year she seemed to have preferred mostly iambic pentameter in quatrains. That translates to 5 beats per measure in groups of four lines. That became my 1st book of Oquaga Lake poetry, entitled, The Book of Balance. Later the spirit used triple meter with rhyme shaped by quatrains. The the result of the triple meter book is The Oquaga Spirit Speaks. It is available as a product on DSOworks.com.

Image result for picture of Oquaga Lake
Home of the Oquaga Spirit at Scott’s Oquaga Lake House

 

 Peaceful Training as per The Oquaga Spirit

Training for a subject means following a system for mastery.
In sports that means specific and proven exercises
Diet must be regulated for strength and endurance.
Athletes need to partake of practice situations.

Playing a musical instrument requires training.
Various technical problems need to be overcome.
Tone production and theory are of great assistance.
Rehearsals are necessary to prepare for the concert.

Studying for an exam necessitates a systematic approach.
Facts should be reviewed on a regular basis.
Primary concepts should be learned before the secondary,
Lists of questions and answers are also helpful.

For nations, training for war has become routine.
People, time and resources are channeled into conflict.
Mankind has come to accept war as a fact of life.
We eat, drink, sleep, and go to war.

The way of war goes back to recorded history.
Even now we still send many to the slaughter of battle.
Should you ask: Is there really an alternative?
I would answer with a question, how many train for peace?

Training for peace also requires diligence.
Departments of Defense and War have become the norm.
But you ask, isn’t war a part of human nature?
No, we always have a choice between the two?

It seems we’ve fallen in efforts for peaceful training;
Even though we have one such world organization.
Everyone knows of the United Nations in New York.
We can also to help peaceful efforts along:

Anyone can practice peace in daily dealings,
And remember the saying: “Love thy neighbor as thyself.”
Good deeds definitively promote the cause of peace.
Conclusion: Peace is paradise for all, and yet. possible.