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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Love note

Love Note Written by Darlene Changed Rubinoff’s Life

Love Note Written by Darlene changed Rubinoff’s Life. I, David Ohrenstein, worked with Rubinoff and His Violin over a 15 year period. We started in the summer of 1970.  I was working on my Master of Music degree at Wane State University. As I walked by theLieral Arts Music Office, Dave called.  aHe was looking for an arranger/accompanist.  Conductor Dr. Morris Hochberg.  He gave it to me. Talk about being in the right place at the right time. My capacity with Dave was as his arranger and accompanist. He was seventy-two years of age when our association began. Dave passed away at age eighty-nine. He was an incomparable violinist. Audiences loved him to the tune of $500,000.00 a year. That was in the 1930’s during the Great Depression.  Just imagine, Hollywood and Paramount Pictures helped to make a violin player into a matinee idol! Watch the youtube videos below and you’ll see their instinct was right!

 

Dave’s Love Note Story is Pretty Sensational

As the story goes, Dave felt depressed. For his concert in Hilliard, Ohio the community was small. The weather was very cold and advance tickets sales were quite meager. Usually Dave felt a great zest for the stage: However, not on that snowy night  that winter in February of 1972.  However, once Dave picked up his Stradivarius that belonged to the czars of Russia. The mood changed. His  is future wife to be, Darlene,  was in the audience. At the time she was still a widow.  Darlene handed him a note and told him not to read it until he was alone. The note read: 

Dear Mr. Rubinoff:

Tonight, at age forty-four, I
know what love at first sight means. 
If  I were free to do as I please, I
would follow you everywhere.
Mother of eight.

I never forget: When he returned to Detroit at the Leland House where he lived, he said to me: “Dave, I think I’m in love. I met a wonderful woman after my concert in Hilliard. Do you think I should marry her?” Being agreeable and easy going I replied, “Why not”?  He said:”She has eight children.” I then gulped and said, “That makes no difference if you really love her.” He married her. It ended up being the best thing he ever did. She and her children prolonged his life many extra years. He constantly flew me to Hilliard Ohio to work with him at Darlene’s beautiful home on new arrangements. PS I am also a composer. If you care to, read the internal link below. 

 

 

Theatrical phoenix

Theatrical Phoenix is Beginning to Fly- a Brief History

A Theatrical Phoenix is Beginning to Fly- a Brief History.  It took wing in New York as a staged reading.  This was at the oldest summer vocal training camp in America: The Seagle Music Colony.  Our singers had won auditions with the New York Metropolitan Opera.  Other prominent opera companies were represented.  Among the people who have tested their work at Seagle have been Stephen Schwartz and Pulitzer Prize winners. Patra is now scheduled in Sarasota.

Theatrical phoenix will fly here.
Patra, our new opera, will have a concert presentation Monday March 23, 2020. at the Glenridge Performing Arts Center.

We have been  riding on a phoenix for this experience. Our opera, entitled Patra, has “Wings of Song”. This new opus emphasizes the importance of meaningful and healthy relationships between men and women. The show highlights  rulers of two great empires, Rome and Egypt.  For Egypt we have Cleopatra; for Rome, we have Octavian.  He, through Patra’s influence, decides to become the future Augustus Caesar.

Image result for picture of the Seagle Music Colony in NY state
Seagle Music Colony has a theatrical and operatic tradition going back over a century. Our opera, Patra had its New York appearance on this stage on Schroon Lake.

Theatrical Phoenix is  Scheduled for Sarasota

Sarasota is famous for opera.  A marquee, only, from the Sarasota Opera House is pictured below and to the right. .  Our new opera, however, will be presented in concert version at The Glenridge Performing Arts center.  Immediately above/right is a photo of the setting . We will even have a professional “snake” dance. Our dancer also portrays the Egyptian goddess, Aset.

Our first staged concert was at the Westcoast Black Theater in Sarasota

File:Sarasota-Opera House sign.jpg
Sarasota has its own Opera House

Image result for picture of the new West Coast Black Theater Building
Westcoast Black Theater photo. Sign shows what’s happening there. 

The story of Octavian and Cleopatra has its own thrust. It is an engaging  opera comique.  Sharon, as the  librettist, not only offers a cornucopia of hope in this lifetime; but also gives ancient instructions on how to be reborn to a high position. Make your reservations at The Glenridge Performing Arts Center today. Contact info is on featured picture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Song Without Words

Song Without Words Can Stand on its Own

Song Without Words Can Stand on its Own. It certainly has in the past. Witness the musical compositions of Felix Mendelssohn.

Image result for Felix Mendelssohn picture of cover for his Song Without Words

If you ask me what I had in mind when I wrote it, I would say: just the song as it is. And if I happen to have certain words in mind for one or another of these songs, I would never want to tell them to anyone. This is because the same words never mean the same things to others: Only the song can say the same thing. Such songs can arouse the same feelings in one person as in another. Words cannot express this feeling.

Songs Without Words, German Lieder ohne Worte, collection of 48 songs written for solo piano rather than voice by Felix Mendelssohn. Part of the collection—consisting of 36 songs—was published in six volumes during the composer’s lifetime. Two further volumes—with 12 more songs—were published after Mendelssohn’s death in 1847.

Felix Mendelssohn, painting by Wilhelm Hensel.

Felix Mendelssohn, painting by Wilhelm Hensel.Photos.com/Getty Images…………………………………………………………..

A Song Without Words – Can it Stand on its own Today?

Certainly, there are some affirmative examples. But the music to much of what is written today is circular and repetitive. In computer terms you could say the music “loops”.  Repetition of the the same three notes over and over to simplistic lyrics or single words is the style. Basically I feel that what much of the music industry markets today is the image of the “composer.” The archetype example, in my opinion is found in the movie, The Producers.

YouTube – Feb 17, 2016

 

A gun-wielding Franz confronts Max and Leo, accusing them of breaking the “Siegfried Oath“. He is partially angered over the continual used of the word “baby” in the musical lyrics by the star in the cast.

I Write in the Song Without Words Form

Fortunately, I am married to my own lyricist. What a convenient source for words.  We are producing a concert version with dance of our New York tested opera, Patra.  It was presented as a staged reading by the American Center for New Works Development. Date of the Sarasota performance is March 23 at the Glenridge Performing Arts Center in Sarasota, Fl. Reserve your tickets today.

Opera Comique In Two Acts – By Sharon and David Ohrenstein

 

 

changing standards

Changing Standards in Musical Performance are Upon Us.

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[1]). The author is  John Gray  He had earned degrees in meditation and taken a correspondence course in psychology.

Men-Mars-Women-Venus-Cover.jpg

The author exemplifies by means of its eponymous metaphor: Men and women are from distinct planets—men from Mars and women from Venus. The book has sold more than 15 million copies.[2][3] According to a CNN report, it was the “highest ranked work of non-fiction” of the 1990s. [4] It was 121 weeks on the bestseller list.

Changing Standards are Simply Periodic

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:

Reconsidering the legacy of Haydn, ‘The Father of the Symphony’ PUBLISHED FEBRUARY 14, 2018
Super big and loud is on the way out along with crass and vulgar music. Musical quality along with beauty and detail will return. Here Joseph Haydn is leading a chamber music ensemble.

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?

 

beautiful employment

Beautiful Employment with a Lighthouse View

Beautiful Employment with a Lighthouse View in Boca Grande. When beginning a post, I like to define terms:

Beautiful

Rayonnant rose window in Notre Dame de Paris. In Gothic architecturelight was considered the most beautiful revelation of God, which was heralded in its design.

Beauty is the ascription of a property or characteristic to an animalideaobject, person or place that provides a perceptual experience of pleasure or satisfaction. Classical Greek offers a more inclusive definition. The word is  κάλλοςkallos. 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.[2]

2. Employment is a relationship between two parties, usually based on a contract where work is paid for, where one party, which may be a corporationfor profitnot-for-profit organizationco-operative or other entity is the employer and the other is the employee.[1]

So Where is My Beautiful Employment?

Pianist David Ohrenstein Will Begin his 11th winter season at the Famous Gasparilla Inn on December 20
Beautiful employment in every sense of the word is to be found by anyone working at the famed Gasparilla Inn. Here I play, in turn, on two incredible Steinway Grand pianos.

 

  • 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.

 

 

Hello Boca Grande

Hello Boca Grande for the Eleventh Year

Hello Boca Grande for my piano employment the 11th straight Year. Click on the Boca Grande nowhere but here box below to see many incredibly beautiful and exotic pictures of the island. There my piano playing services will be in full swing.  Daughter Kathryn Parks worked on this post for Michael Saunders. She works on promotion for this real estate company in Florida and does a beautiful job at that.

Untouched by time, Boca Grande is a classic Florida getaway where pristine beaches, sunny days, and small-town charms create a blissful atmosphere.

 

Hello Boca Grande

It’s impossible not to have fabulous stories when you work at such a place. One of favorites is the evening that two distinguished ladies from London sat and enjoyed their dinner while dining on the table right beside the piano. Fortunately, my piano touch is such that people can enjoy their dinner and still converse while listening to beautiful melodies. My incredible instructor Mischa Kottler, studied in Europe in Paris under Alfred Cortôt in the 1920’s. Cortôt traced his lineage to Frederic Chopin. Then Mischa Kottler went to Vienna and apprenticed under Emil von Sauer. Sauer studied under Franz Liszt and Johannes Brahms. Mischa was always emphatic when he would say: ” “Present the melody on a silver platter.” In so doing you can eliminate all the ponderous accompaniment that so many often vulgarly place into their piano playing.

But on with the story: When I got up for a small respite, I walked past the ladies. One said to me, “We enjoyed your playing, especially your Andrew Lloyd Webber selections.”  I replied.”Oh, thank you.” Then the other lady proudly said: “Yes,our assigned seats are in the British House of Lords right next to him!”

Why is this Lineage Important?

Today so much piano playing is electronic. Often accompaniments are provided by the touch of a button. The old school of knowledge is then lost. Happily, at the fabulous Inn the old school is still in full swing. I will be there nightly from Dec 20 until Easter. Please say hello. P.S. if you decide to buy a home there, ask my daughter, Kathryn. I am also a composer. My wife, Sharon, is my lyricist and librettist.  Sharon, and I just work shopped our new opera Patra in New York. Click on the link for more info. Finally, please share this post with friends! Thank you.

PATRA – An Opera Comique performed in two acts, sung in English, written by Sharon and David Ohrenstein about Cleopatra’s final days as ruler of Egypt.

About · ‎Media · ‎Workshop · ‎Support

 

Boca Grande

piano competitions

Piano Competitions Have Judges on Edge

Piano Competitions Have Judges on Edge. My source is an excellent book on piano playing. David Dubal wrote it: “Reflections from the Keyboard”. He interviews numerous keyboard artists about their trials and tribulations. Being a judge at competitions is also certainly trying. Why?  I felt that pianist Jorge Bolet was particularly relevant in this regard.

 

Image result for pictures of record jacket by pianist Pierre Bolet
A great master at the piano.

Bolet emphasizes how perfection is expected with piano playing. This is primarily due to the recording industry. He believes this has destroyed  a great deal of “music making.”  That is because recordings are of such mechanical perfection that any imperfection in actual performance is severely frowned upon. The other source of homogeneous playing is competitions.

Bolet on Piano Competitions

This piano legend actually states “Competitions have done more harm to piano playing than anything else.” In many competitions there are some 15 judge. Those he enter have to try to get all the votes. To do this they must not antagonize any of the judges in any way. Nothing must be different or worse yet, controversial. Any personal idea is shunned and looked down upon. Bolet states that as a result whether you listen to 10, 20 or 30 pianists, they all play alike. That affects the status of piano playing in general. No one becomes outstanding.

My Own Piano Instructor- Mischa Kottler

My own teacher was Mischa Kottler. He was the official pianist with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Mischa also directed the music at WJR in Detroit. His waiting list for students was incredibly long. Once you got to start, he often went with the Symphony on tour. I grew up in Detroit. Listen to him playing Chopin’s Minute Waltz. He actually plays the difficult passages with double notes in the right hand. The main help I credit with is avoiding hand injuries at the piano. He taught:  (1) Hand positions, (2) The proper way to scales and arpeggios.  (3) Showed me the regimen that I still practice daily. (4) How to play with a singing tone. (5) How to: “Present the melody on a silver platter.” (6) Above all else: He was a fanatic about proper fingering. Mischa never seemed satisfied with  editors. He learned his art and fingering from Alfred Cortot and Emil von Sauer in Paris in Vienna in the 1920’s. Would he have lost at a piano competition for his originality? Perhaps?

So What Am I doing Now?

I’ve never been so busy. I’ve just return from New York where my wife and I workshopped our original opera, Patra. All our singers had won auditions with the NY Met Opera. Check out our Patra website, Patraopera.com. Professionally I play 52 weeks a year. I’m scheduled to play my 11th winter season in Boca Grande at the Gasparilla Inn.  The owners have just reconditioned their Steinway Grand from 1924. You be the judge: Are piano competitions necessary? Perhaps.

 

Even in his 80’s and 90’s his abilities were stellar.

3:47

Love note

Ten Minute Musical Bliss of Rubinoff and His Violin

Ten Minute Musical Bliss of Rubinoff and His Violin https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QUz-LOrzTQU. Like fine wine, musicians and artists improve with age. Dave Rubinoff is much too ignored today. That is due to the jealousy of the 100% pure classical musicians. Indeed, I even wonder how many pure symphonic musicians are left to be found today. It seems like so many are crossing the lines into the popular field.

Even as of recently, Dave Rubinoff refuses to give up the ghost. This is true even some 35 years after he passed away. Maestro, conductor, and curator Joseph Rubin (not related to Rubinoff except in spirit) gave a concert commemorating this great artist last summer. I was called to appear with violinist extraordinaire, Steven Greenman. It was  held at the  Circleville High School near Colombus, Ohio. Maestro Greenman had just returned from a tour of Poland. Among other places, he played the most haunting melodies in the synagogue in Cracow. Below was the itinerary Maestro Rubin sent me for the Circleville. Ohio concert.

Ten minute musical bliss
During the Great Depression, Rubinoff and His Violin had stellar income- as much as $500,000.00 a year during some years. This would be like millions today. For the Ten Minute Musical Bliss, go to the youtube connection given above. If you’ve ever heard a violinist/conductor with such precision, speed and musicality with movie star quality, let me know.

Witness Another Ten Minute Musical Bliss with Steven Greenman and I playing the Rubinoff’s Fiddler

Friday, June 1 (2017)
Around 3 PM – Rehearse Fiddler Medley with Steven Greenman, location TBA
7-9:30 PM – Orchestra Rehearsal at Circleville High School
Saturday, June 2
11 am – Rehearse Fiddler Medley with Steven Greenman
2-4:30 pm- Orchestra Rehearsal at Circleville High School
6:30 PM – Pre-show lecture at High School
7-9 PM Concert at High School
9-10:30 PM Post show VIP reception at High School
Copy and paste the youtube link above to see what success is obtainable by playing incredibly well what the general public enjoys. I was thrilled to work so many years with this man.