Illness costs Chopin

Illness Costs Chopin and His Companion, George Sand.

Illness Costs Chopin and His Companion, George Sand.  Lives of the great composers of the past are often presented in the most impersonal way possible. You read about the composer, what he wrote and when he wrote it. You take for granted the fact that he may have lived his life in abject poverty. Illness, especially seems to be an ignored issue that is of little consequence in music history classes or in colleges and conservatories.

How Illness Costs Chopin and His Companion, George Sand

First who was George Sand? Surprise, not a man! She was more renowned than both Victor Hugo and Honoré de Balzac in England in the 1830s and 1840s.[5] Sand achieved recognition as one of the most notable writers of the European Romantic era. She chose to wear male attire in public; as Police had issued an order requiring women to have a permit in order to wear male clothing. Finally, George Sand encouraged the arts in an unusual manner. She would become the lover of certain great male artists to inspire their  creativity. Chopin was a primary example, along with Liszt. 

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Portrait of George Sand by Auguste Charpentier (1838)

An Unforgettable Chopin Story

Tad Szulc presented the following story in his book, Chopin in ParisGeorge Sand and Chopin travelled to Barcelona, Spain. Chopin had tuberculosis and hopefully sunny Spain would help alleviate his condition.  George Sand wrote the following:

“when we left the hotel in Barcelona, the manager wished to make us pay for the bed in which Chopin had slept, under the pretext that it had been infected. Police regulations obliged him to burn it.” The incredible creative duo had to pay for the bed in full!

This gives life to the expression ” adding insult to injury.” Most people think of Chopin as a composer without thinking about who he was and under the conditions of how he had to live.  I think this story makes his life quite tangible and invites sympathy. Finally, I think all should do their best to help struggling artists, actors  and composers; or else, our culture could disappear. 

My wife andI with guest artists are presenting a 90 live concert live concert broadcast internationally Nov 8 link below. Household tickets only $10.00. Selections from our 3 musicals will be featured with popular Broadway selections.  Question and answer session in the last 15 minutes. 

 

PATRA – Sung Through Musical

The last days of Cleopatra are filled with daring, intrigue, and love possibilities. When the villainous Octavian lands in Egypt to assert his victory over Antony and Cleopatra, Patra will do most anything to save her children and herself. She disguises herself as a hag; foretells Octavian’s future; takes a drug to commune with the dead; seduces Centurion Marcellus whom her drugged mind thinks is Antony; meets with Octavian; and initiates an encounter with a cobra. When Octavian tries to take advantage of her, she sings of love. Octavian exits without a word. He has fallen in love but tragically does nothing. The love-struck Marcellus offers her a way to escape. Yes, she dies but not how you think.  Her death changes Octavian from lead to gold as he vows to become the man she would have loved the most.

 

 

isolation

Isolation is the Norm for Creative Artists

Isolation is the Norm for Creative Artists. I think all parents would like to see our children with an intense passion and dedication to the arts.  This picture implies that the young lad, actually built his own violin. Notice the saw leaning against the table.  Who was David Rubinoff? He dreams about being as skilled as Rubinoff and His Violin.

Who was Rubinoff and His Violin?

Isolation
Dave spent a lifetime entertaining children and adolescents thanks to a life time grant from the U.S. state department through the efforts of his close friend, the march king, John Philip Sousa. On occasions I toured with him at numerous public schools.

David Rubinoff made a fortune in the 1930’s because of his love of music. He rose from the most humble beginnings in Kiev to incredible stature in America. An example being playing for 225,000 people at Grant Park in Chicago while conducting the Chicago Philharmonic Orchestra. He told me, they turned away another 25,000 at the door. I was his arranger and accompanist for fifteen years. Jimmy Petrillo, head of the musicians union in Chicago, gave him a diamond and ruby medal commemorating this event. 

Isolation is the Norm

Raising ones level in performance takes countless hours of practice in solitude; or, in some cases, with a small dedicated, ensemble. Music has quite a bonus: It is one of the few professions you can improve on with age. Even during the current pandemic, opportunities come a-knocking. My wife, a fabulous singer and I were just asked to do an hour and fifteen minute concert which will be broadcast live around the world. We will also feature some excerpts from shows we jointly wrote. Scheduled date is November, 8, 2020. Details will shorly be posted. 

dso works - Featuring All Original Music, Shows, and More
Our website. DSOworks.com is anything but dull, even in this day and age.

Internal Link: Happy Halloween from the Oquaga Spirit

External link: Common Time is Anything but Common

The external link is my (David’s) other website.

Rubinoff Friendship

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.

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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

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Sarasota has its own Opera House

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Piano Lessons

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

 

 

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.

 

 

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

Gasparilla In Pianist

Resort number 1 Seems Like #2 Home with my 11th year

Resort number 1 seems to be my 2nd Home. My 1st home graces in sunny Sarasota.My profession as a pianist takes me to Boca Grande. There, I play at the Gaparilla Inn.  The Inn captures the charm of a bygone era of Florida hospitality. It again claims its throne this year as resort #1.  The Inn’s style is stately and grand. It offers glamour that recalls the heyday of mid-century Floridian beach resorts.  A slower pace of life is offered.  “It’s Old Florida at its best with modern updates.” Activities abound at the resort. Sport offerings include golf, tennis, croquet, boating, and other misc. water sports . You’ll want to have in your list of memories its Beach Club views of the Gulf of Mexico. More information: the-gasparilla-inn.com

Resort number 1 has Interesting Guests

resort number 1
Some of the celebrities who have frequented the Inn

 

Pianist David Ohrenstein will play for diners on the isle of Boca grande

David is scheduled 6 nights weekly in season on this island resort. On a typical night you can hear music by Cole Porter, George Gershwin. You’ll authentic ragtime by Scott Joplin. The Inn was actually built at the height of the ragtime era. He also loves the great classics. His  regular list this time of the year is  a 30 minute rendition of principle dances from the  Nutcracker Suite by Tchaikovsky. He plays Jupiter from the Planets by Gustav Holst. He loves to play the theme from the King’s Speech. It is the slow movement of Beethoven’s 7th Symphony.  Excerpts from principle operas are often included. His favorite popular song to play is “Killing Me Softly.” The arrangement he has by George Shearing is so beautiful that many diners have to wipe tears from their eyes.

Be sure to also catch David and his wife, Sharon, as they workshop their new opera comique, Patra September 1 -7 on Schroon Lake in New York.

PATRA – Opera Comique by Sharon and David Ohrenstein. Join the Fun!

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Patraopera.com is the site that features our new opera comique. Our Sarasota cast  just completed a concert presentation in Sarasota at the West Coast Black Theater. In New York we will also feature top young singers in the U.S.A. and Europe.