Romantic Composer Comrades were Common. Musical composers are the avant-guard of civilization. Avant-guard defines a group of artists, musicians, or writers working with new and experimental ideas and methods. Without composer comrades, it is doubtful that we would ever know who Franz Schubert was. Composers are vital to a civilization. Yet, they are like babies. They need help. Such was the case with Franz Schubert. He only lived to age 31. Franz Peter Schubert was an Austrian composer of the late Classical and early Romantic eras. Despite his short lifetime, Schubert left behind more than 600 secular vocal works (mainly Lieder), seven complete symphonies, sacred music, operas, incidental music and a large body of piano and chamber music.
Women out West: Rodeo. Copeland wrote Rodeo in 1942 as a Ballet in One Act. The Ballet Russe of Monte Carlo commissioned choreographer Agnes de Mille to collaborate with Aaron Copeland on the Rodeo project. I found a score arranged for piano. The arrangement is copyrighted by the Aaron Copland Fund for Music. It was printed in 1962. It has six principle sections:
- First Episode: Buckaroo Holiday
- Second Episode: Corral Nocturne
- Ranch House Party
- Third Episode: Saturday Night Waltz
- Fourth Episode: Hoe-Down
Women Out West Had to Find Suitable Men!
Basically, throughout the American southwest, the Saturday afternoon rodeo was a tradition. Usually, it was followed by an evening dance at the Ranch House. Copland’s Rodeo uses this basic western concept. As a matter of fact dating between the sexes was problem confronting all American women since early pioneer times. The question has been how to get a suitable man? Most likely, it is still a problem everywhere.
Women Out West Relished the Saturday Evening Dance.
On Saturday evening, after the Rodeo, social time was shared by dancing the square dance. The principle theme of Copland’s Hoe-Down in Rodeo uses a square dance tune called Bonypart. Of course this is a humorous reference to Napoleon Bonaparte.
Agnes de Mille describes the basic concept for choreography: “Throughout the American Southwest, the … dance was a tradition. On the remote ranches, as well as in trading centers and the towns, the “hands” get together to show off their skill in roping, riding, branding and throwing. Often, on the more isolated ranches, the rodeo is done for an audience that consisted only of a handful of fellow-workers and women-folk. Any neighbors that attended often had to do an eighty mile or so run-over to witness the event.”
I, the blogger, also wrote a ballet called The Dance of the Zodiac. It also features the bull, as in the rodeo. Only it appears as the symbol of Taurus. Enjoy this internal link to my own ballet.
Traditional Employment includes types of people and places. Any new year is a time for reflection: What happened or didn’t happen last year? What might happen this year? Since this new year (2019) is about to begin, I thought I’d reflect on previous jobs. I seem to have a predilection for working with: (1) Successful older people. (2) Spectacular older places. By traditional I refer to: (1) Great places built over 100 years ago. Or, (2) Successful men who, at the time, were old enough to be my grandfather or possibly great-grandfather at the time of employment.
Traditional Employment by Rubinoff and His Violin
I learned the musical craft of arranging and accompanying from Rubinoff. He conducted the Paramount Theater in New York and Paramount Pictures in Hollywood. What a perfectionist! After working for 8 hours during the day, at night he’d change his mind. The next day we did a different 16 bars. Dave’s Stradivarius violin was purchased for $100,000.00 in 1929. He made about $500,000.00 annually in the 1930′ by conducting and performing. It seemed like the “His Violin” was his marriage contract with music.
Traditional Employment at Scott’s Oquaga Lake House
For better than 15 summer seasons I played piano for shows at Scott’s Oquaga Lake House in Deposit, New York. The resort was born in 1869. What a wonderful time our family had. Our children literally grew up in the Catskills at Scott’s. Playing many shows as well as our own (with wife, Sharon) were part of my duties. Most recently, the cast of The Marvelous Mrs. Maiselle got to experience the same resort.
To the right, Rachel Brosnahan, winner of the award for best actress in a comedy series for “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”, speaks in the press room at the 23rd annual Critics’ Choice Awards at the Barker Hangar on Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018, in Santa Monica, Calif. (Jordan Strauss | Invision/AP)
Is Traditional Employment Also in our Future?
My wife and I wrote a new opera comique entitled Patra. It certainly is quite traditional. Our models were Bizet’s Carmen and Bernstein’s West Side Story. We will have a full production workshop in New York at Schroon Lake scheduled for September 2019. This will be with the Seagle Music Colony. The Colony is under the artistic direction of Darren Woods and The American Center for New Works Development. Schroon Lake has quite a cultural history. Here is an internal link to this Schroon Lake’s glorious past. It inspired me to write a poem. Share if you wish.
What’s the best way to acquire rewarding and long term employment?
- Work hard at mastery of your talent or craft.
- Then, work with a well establish person, group of people or company.
- Happy New Year!
Ageless Teacher Pianist Mischa Kottler. Great men, like great wines, improve with age. Mischa, at the time of this picture was 88. He stayed active until age 94. What kept him going? Passion for the piano. As a teacher, he had a slew full of piano competition winners on his record. Even rock n’ roll benefited from his total mastery of the instrument. Gregory Arthur “Greg” Phillinganes (born May 12, 1956) is an American keyboardist, singer-songwriter, and musical director based in Los Angeles, California. A prolific session musician, Phillinganes has contributed keyboard tracks to numerous albums. These included representing a broad array of artists and genres. He has toured with notable artists, such as Stevie Wonder, Eric Clapton, David Gilmour and Toto, served as musical director for Michael Jackson, and has released two solo studio albums.
From Greg Philliganes’ interview in Keyboard Magazine and his Quote of Mischa Kottler
“Sensing that I needed discipline more than anything else, my Mom managed to hook me up with a wonderful teacher named Mischa Kottler. He was a no-nonsense Russian Jewish guy who could crack a pane of glass with one finger. He was a complete badass, and he cooled my attitude out immediately. I studied with him well into my teens.
Ageless Teacher Pianist Visits My Family
Primarily as result of having studied with my ageless teacher pianist Mischa, I too have had a successful and long lasting career. I’ve just begun my 10th year at the Gasparilla Inn on the isle of Boca Grande. There, I play piano for VIP’s from around the world. The most memorable person I played for was former President George H. Bush. Below is an internal link to this event from DSOworks. Also, Sharon Ohrenstein, my wife, and I are bringing a full workshop to the NY stage this coming September. Our original “opera comique” is entitled “Patra”. Look under the “stage” heading on DSOworks.com. We will be working with an incredibly, wonderful, creative team. Workshop will be sponsored by: The American Center for New Works Development.
Graphic Polarity Activation on the 3 x 3 square. The prime number square of every higher number square is the 3 x 3. The complete, traditional, square is pictured at the bottom of the featured picture. There are a number of possible arrangements, possibly seven. However, the understanding of the distant past begins with this traditional. Many blogs on DSOworks are about this number square. Check them out by key word. They are free to view. I currently have some 570 posts about two primary subjects: (1) Music (2) Number squares. Most of the posts on number squares about the 3 x 3. It is the simplest, yet the most complex. Both of these subjects were the backbone of a former and lost Golden Age.
Catskill Resort Celebration- my Home Away from Home. The Catskill Mountain Resorts are coming back. It’s possibly starting with Scott’s Oquaga Lake House. I was the Scott’s piano player for some 15 years. Oh boy, are the Catskills coming back! They have just been the background for a wagon load full of prestigious top entertainment industry awards. Some of the list is below, in blue. Immediately below is the Catskill Mountain movie trail from The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.
Catskill Resort Celebration at Scott’s Oquaga Lake House
Als0, below the picture is link to a special interview with one of the stars: Rachel Brosnahan chats with Jimmy Fallon about the latest season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. She talks about years ago Scott’s turned down the filming of Dirty Dancing. The clip at Scotts, relatively new posts, have 75,00 views.
Above, Rachel is speaking in the press room at the 23rd annual Critics’ Choice Awards. It is at the Barker Hangar. Date is Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018. Location is Santa Monica, Calif. (Jordan Strauss | Invision/AP)
More Catskill resort Celebration
Yes miracles still happen. Just when everybody is ready to give the resort up, this happens. Scott’s will be featured in quite a number of episodes this coming year. I have been the piano player at Scott’s Oquaga Lake House over a span of some 15 years. Hard times hit the resort. Bus loads of people from Ontario, Canada stopped coming. This was due to higher taxes and added health insurance costs on group bus tours. A high percentage of their business was Canadian. In addition to to regular fair, Canadians loved the wilderness and seemingly magical feeling of this pristine, clear lake.
More Catskill Resort Celebration
Here is one of my my contributions to Scott’s Oquaga Lake House: As Rubinoff and His Violin’s arranger and accompanist for over 15 years, I brought Rubinoff to the resort. This was in 1984. At age 86 David Rubinoff also performed miracles. This youtube video is the only complete 44 minute+ concert of his in existence.He took America by storm in the 1930’s. Please also enjoy this rare Scott’s video as I (David Ohrenstein) accompany this “legendary” violinist. He plays his Strad. It belonged to the Czars of Russia.
Lost Concert “Rubinoff and His Violin” on Oquaga Lake, 1984 – YouTube
In one of the final years of his life, renowned violinist Dave Rubinoff plays theStradivarius violin for an …
Some of the Awards for this “Marvelous” series:
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Awards Peabody Awards
2018 · Amazon Studios
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
2018 · Rachel Brosnahan
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
2018 · Alex Borstein
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Casting for a Comedy Series
2018 · Cindy Tolan, Meredith Tucker, Jeanie Bacharach
Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy
2018 · Rachel Brosnahan
Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy
Critics’ Choice Television Award for Best Actress in a Comedy Series
2018 · Rachel Brosnahan
TCA Award for Individual Achievement in Comedy
2018 · Rachel Brosnahan
Critics’ Choice Television Award for Best Comedy Series
Last, but not least for my wife, Sharon, and myself. We wrote an opera comique entitled Patra. It will be showcased on Schroon lake in New York state this coming September of2019. The American Center for New Works Development is sponsoring it under the auspices of the Seagle Music Colony. More details on our website. DSOworks.com. Patra has a banner heading. Exact date to be announced shortly. Don’t miss this event!
Hollywood Nineteen Thirties under Rubinoff’s Baton. I frequently blog about David Rubinoff and His Violin. That’s because I worked with him for over 15 years. My capacity was as his arranger and piano accompanist. The years spanned 1971 to 1986. In 1986 Dave passed away at age 89. He was the very model of musical success. This was especially true in Hollywood during the nineteen thirties. I’ll never forget the spontaneity of his reply when I said to him: “Mr Rubinoff, music has been good to you.” He immediately replied as a matter of factly, “Why, that’s because I’ve been good to music.”
You can now listen to a recent concert that I was honored to perform at with maestro Steven Greenman. Steve performs the Fiddler just as Rubinoff intended it. The Ted Lewis Big Band museum curator and conductor extraordinaire, Joseph Rubin, invited me in from Sarasota to play the concert honoring my friend and mentor, David Rubinoff.
Hollywood Nineteen Thirties
Dave’s wife, Darlene Rubinoff, wrote a book about his life. Dave personally dictated it to her as she tape recorded his voice. Eloquence, sophistication, technical prowess, passion and perfection marked his playing. But most of all he openly conveyed the love he had for his audience. In return his audiences loved loved him. This was to the tune of hundreds of thousands annually in the 1930’s. In this regard I must quote Mr. Rubinoff’s words through his angel of a wife, Darlene Azar Rubinoff:
“I worked every hour of the day and night, driving everyone with no conception of time, being only interested in my music and pleasing the public. My audiences screamed and applauded. They were after me night and day, waiting for me outside the stage door for a glimpse or for an autograph. I seldom refused them. They were the reason for my success. That is why I drove the orchestra and the arrangers so hard. I screamed, I cajoled. I even, on occasion, threw things in order to win my way. The amazing thing was, I was always right when it came to my music.”
Please enjoy the internal link below of the concert I gave with Rubinoff in the Catskills at Scott’s Oquaga Lake House. The youtube link is at the end of the blog. It was over 30 years ago. Also, my wife Sharon and I have written a new opera entitled “Patra”. The featured artwork is used by permission from the “From Cairo With Love” art gallery in Cairo, Egypt. It will be premiered in New York on Schroon Lake this coming September. Please read about the details under the “stage”on our front page of DSOworks.com.
Steady Eddie Had the Gift of Rhythm. I always seem to have had the best of luck in mentors. Maestro Edmund DeMattia was up there with the best. He recently passed away. I miss him. I’ve always excelled as a composer and am a fairly good pianist. Ed communicated how I could steady my rhythm in performance.
“Steady Eddie” was a Great Musical Innovator of the American Military
The idea for a “National Concert Band” began in 1973. Discussions were held among retired and former members of the four major military service bands in the Washington, DC area. The organization’s two main purposes were: (1) To provide a way for area military musicians to continue to play after retirement. (2) To preserve the concert band tradition of music in the United States. Ed also happened to be one of the founding members of the American Concert Band Association (ACB). The National Concert Band became a member of this professional organization. This was in no small part due to Ed. Because of him, those who retired from military service could continue their music in the National Concert Band .
One of Ed’s last concerts was with my wife and myself. Wife, mezzo soprano Sharon Ohrenstein, is also a composer, lyricist and arranger.
Sharon and I shared in co-composing. We worked together on a couple of military marches for Memorial Day. Link is below to our live performance of “Glory and Honor”. We even had Civil War Re-enactors firing their muskets during the concert on conductor’s cue!
Finally, what I am most proud of in the realm of the American military march. I worked with “Rubinoff and His Violin.” This was over a 15 year span. I was his arranger and accompanist. The American March King “-John Philip Sousa” gave Rubinoff’s career a big boost: He procured a continuous stipend from the State Department for bringing fine music to children in the public schools.
If you enjoyed this blog, please share it with friends. We can all be proud of our wonderful traditions!
Extremely Humble King of Early American Music. In part, Dave Rubinoff’s exactitude helped the cause of early American orchestral music. To him, music was sacred. He had such a passion for music, that his temperamental outbursts were quite infamous. He never got mad or angry any at anyone- just at what they didn’t do with the music. The American public loved him. 225,000 turned out for one of his concerts in 1937 at Grant Park in Chicago. His success and temperament were the source of much jealousy and resentment. The musicians under him were often quite resentful. They were not used to such a fireball.
Extremely Humble King at Work
Very few people were so driven by music as Dave. When he conducted or played violin, it seemed like he was on a quest for the Holy Grail. He sought Truth through music. He rarely, if ever, talked about his past personal accomplishments in music with me. His mind was focused on the music we were currently working on. Sometimes we’d work a week on arranging 16 bars of music. We would try this solution, than another, than yet another. That’s why I think of him as an extremely humble king. He literally bowed his head to the great arrangement that a melody demanded. of music. The public treated him like royalty for his efforts.
Below is a concert we gave together at Scott’s Oquaga Lake House in the Catskills. The year was 1984. He was 86 years of age at the time. Although Dave most likely gave 1000’s of public concerts, below is the only sample of a full concert in existence. Every minute is worth listening to. Dave discusses each selection, and why it was special to him. Some people even resented his success. A prominent concertmaster came in to hear one of our performances. I won’t even mention the derogatory things he said as he made fun of this great violinist’s style. He learned a good part of his style from Will Rogers. Will Rogers, who identified with the American Cherokee Indians, even taught him how to take his bows. He was best friends with Will.
Keyboard Consideration is Still Glossed Over Today. For an explanation, let’s look back to the Baroque era. Its years were approximately 1600 – 1750. Very few composer/keyboardists in the Baroque era were said to have mastered even two types of keyboards! Most often, if they played the organ, they were deficient in the harpsichord. In reverse, if they could play the harpsichord, they were deficient in organ. This is the point of this blog: If two types of keyboards were confusing, even for geniuses; today we literally have hundreds of types. This of course takes into consideration the electronic wizardry which seems to multiply daily.
Wilhelm Friedemann Bach (22 November 1710 – 1 July 1784), the second child and eldest son of Johann Sebastian Bach and Maria Barbara Bach. He was a German composer and performer. He possessed two mind sets for keyboard instruments: One for the organ. One for the harpsichord. Historian and contemporary of J.S. Bach, Johann Forkel, wrote: Their style (harpsichord and organ) and manner of playing differ as much as their respective destinations. That which at the harpsichord produces excellent effect, does not express anything at the organ and vice versa.”
Keyboard Consideration of Organ V. Harpsichord
Further on Forkel states how he only knew of two musicians equally adept at both: J.S. Bach and his eldest son, Wilhelm Friedmann Bach. He states: “Both were elegant virtuosos at the harpsichord. Once seated at the organ, it is impossible to perceive the slightest trace of the the harpsichordist.” Forkel states the following of Wilhelm Friedmann Bach: “I had the pleasure of hearing Wilhelm Friedmann at the harpsichord. All was delicate, elegant and pleasing. When I heard him at the organ, I was truly seized with religious respect. ”
Words of Keyboard Consideration from My Own Teacher- Mischa Kottler
Mischa studied in Paris and Vienna in the 1920’s. He worked with Alfred Cortôt in Paris and Emil von Sauer in Vienna. He told me right from the beginning, do not play the organ if you study piano. Seeing what Forkel just had to say about two different keyboard instruments, I think he was absolutely correct! Please share with friends that might be interested.
Mischa Kottler plays Rachmaninoff, Prelude in g# minor – YouTube
Mischa Kottler Plays Rachmaninoff’s Prelude in G# minor
Here is an internal musical link: