Hollywood nineteen thirties

Hollywood Nineteen Thirties under Rubinoff’s Baton

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.

Preview YouTube video Rubinoff’s Fiddler on the Roof – Violin and Piano

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:

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The good looking couple, David and Darlene Rubinoff. I was honored by how well she treated me- like I was  one of her own family.

“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.

Extremely Humble King of Early American Music

Steady Eddie taught the art of musical rhythm

Steady Eddie Had the Gift of Rhythm

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 .

"Steady Eddie" had impeccable musical rhythm.
Edmond DeMattia knew when to keep tempo, make an accelerando, and ritardando.

Wind Song Players in Concert under Maestro Edmond Demattia

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.

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David Rubinoff and His Violin with American March King John Philip Sousa. I accompanied and arranged for Rubinoff, later in his life, for 15 years.

If you enjoyed this blog, please share it with friends. We can all be proud of our wonderful traditions!

6:03

 6:03
 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dCDtKdXtyX0

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Extremely humble King of American Music

Extremely Humble King of Early American Music

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.

First impressions are the longest lasting.
Rubinoff and His Violin with myself, Dave Ohrenstein,  in the mid 1970’s.

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.

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Certainly, Madison Avenue was also a part of his success story.

Forgiving Audience for Rubinoff and His Violin

Lost Concert “Rubinoff and His Violin” on Oquaga Lake, 1984 – YouTube

▶ 44:13

Video for Rubinoff and His Violin on youtube
Our 44 + minute concert together in the Catskills dates back to 1984.
contrapuntal universe

Keyboard Consideration is Still Glossed Over Today

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.”

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Wilhelm Friedemann Bach was a master of both harpsichord and organ. He, and his father, were two  of the few.

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.

Tenth Year Entertaining on the Steinway at the Gasparilla Inn

I owe my longevity as a pianist to Mischa. This will be my 10th year at the Gasparilla Inn. Check the internal link above. December 20, 2018 @ 6:00 pm – April 20, 2019 @ 9:00 pm
Tenth Year Entertaining
Famed Gasparilla Inn in Boca Grande

Mischa Kottler plays Rachmaninoff, Prelude in g# minor – YouTube


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GHQ8mCk26Pg
Dec 28, 2013 – Uploaded by Joseph Beels

Mischa Kottler Plays Rachmaninoff’s Prelude in G# minor 

Here is an internal musical link:

Pianistic Robots are Created by Competitions

 

Rubinoff concert review

Rubinoff Concert Review of the 1930’s

Rubinoff Concert Review of the 1930’s. The short article below, at the Ted Lewis Museum,  offers some reasons why Rubinoff was so popular with the public. I do not have its exact date. It is from the Depression era of the 1930’s. First, he was primarily popular because he brought melodic and beautiful music to America when the country needed it the most. The public rewarded him. He made as much as $500,000.00 annually.  Joseph Rubin is the curator of the Ted Lewis Museum. I found this abbreviated article below on Joseph’s museum website.

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Dave was a matinee idol in the 1930’s.

What is the Ted Lewis Museum about? First, and most important me, Joseph brought me to Circleville for a Rubinoff commemoration concert this last June 2, 2018. It also was sponsored by the Ted Lewis Museum.  I got a chance to perform the works I arranged with Rubinoff live with concert violinist, Steven Greenman.

The museum is located in “the Capital of the World,” Circleville, Ohio. The Ted Lewis Museum attracts thousands of visitors of all ages.  They come from nearby and around the world.  Educational Outreach programs are offered free of charge to Pickaway County schools. These programs bring the history and music of Ted Lewis to life.  For schools and students, it featurs a 5-piece jazz band.  Scholarships are annually offered to graduating Pickaway County high school seniors planning to pursue a degree in Music or the Performing Arts.

With your support, the Museum will continue to offer free admission to all visitors and expose a new generation to the  timeless music of Ted Lewis and the greats of a by gone great American era.

The Ted Lewis Museum, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization.  All donations are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.  All donors will be listed in the Ted Lewis Museum event programs. They will also receive the Ted Lewis Museum Newsletter in the mail and VIP seating at events.

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For the record, John Philip Sousa set Rubinoff on the school concert road. The article mentions Dave was a protege of the late Victor Herbert. – I, Dave Ohrenstein, worked for 15 years with Rubinoff. He employed me as both an arranger and a piano accompanist. Dave had a genius for publicity stunts and gags. In the featured picture Jimmy Durante playing Dave’s violin. Dave Rubinoff, as part of the gag, is at the piano.

 Rubinoff concert review.

Rubinoff concert review from the 1930's
Rubinoff concert review explains how he brought joy to so many.
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I worked for 15 years with Rubinoff. Here he is pictured with Sousa. Sousa encouraged and helped Rubinoff to give of his violin playing talent to the American public schools.

Below is a link to my own website. Check it out. Musical events are upcoming. Many posts are about Rubinoff. Click on all posts.

Rubinoff and His Violin Sort of Was My Grandfather

 

Zodiac Dance is a fun 45 minutes of entertainment.

Zodiac Dance Demonstrates Extremes from Ballet to Modern

Zodiac Dance Demonstrates Extremes from Ballet to Modern. I thought it would be fun to write and premier a ballet on the zodiac. What a project!  First of all, for a number years I accompanied classes at the Florida Ballet Arts School in Sarasota.  Lynn Winslow, the artistic director, was quite kind to me.  My rhythm, back then, used to be sometimes, in places, not quite spot on. She would tell her dancers: “This happens in the real world. You sometimes have to make adjustments for the accompaniment in an actual performance.  This can be true of any live music.”. Thank goodness, my  rhythm, like fine wine, has improved with age.

I always wrote music. Actually, before I was an accomplished pianist, I composed difficult works. But what was it that got me interested in the zodiac? Like many before me, I worked out a connection between music, the planets and the zodiac signs. The connection was thought of some years previous to my ballet involvement.   The result was the World Premiere of the Dance of the Zodiac. In addition to an introduction and finale, it has 12 vignettes. One features each zodiac sign.

Zodiac dance is ready to make the rounds again.
The introduction was less structured. It was like the creation right after the big bang. Structure and keys came with the zodiac signs.

The Dance of the Zodiac had a full 45 minute presentation by the Florida Ballet Arts Ensemble under the choreography and direction of Lynn Winslow and S, Fairwhether. See newspaper article.

 

Sharing happiness

Sharing Happiness at a Big Band Music Museum

Sharing Happiness at a Big Band Music Museum. How do you get a good handle on life? Answer:  Ask a key question. What should that question be? Simple stated. “Is everybody happy?” This question is even better than meditation. Actually, it is the banner on a big band museum in Circleville, Ohio. Meditate on this question. It will focus your thoughts on a highly noble cause. Now for another big surprise: This pronouncement is also the title of a film. It stars Ted Lewis.

Is Everybody Happy? (1929) is an American Pre-Code musical film.  It stars Ted LewisAlice DayLawrence GrantAnn Pennington, and Julia Swayne Gordon.  Direction is by Archie Mayo, and released by Warner Bros. Most of the music was written by Harry Akst and Grant Clarke.   The “St. Louis Blues” was written by by W. C. Handy and “Tiger Rag“. The film’s title comes from Ted Lewis’s catchphrase “Is everybody happy?”

Is Everybody Happy?:Ted Lewis 1929

Sharing Happiness in Circleville, Ohio

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Curator of the Ted Lewis Museum, Joseph Rubin, shares happiness with all!

So why am I blogging about this? I got to share in this happiness. There was at a special concert on June 2, 2018 in Circleville, Ohio. I had worked with a famous conductor-violinist. My job was as his arranger and accompanist. His stage name, Rubinoff and His Violin. Joseph Rubin, the curator,  is also a phenomenal conductor. The maestro had read some of my Rubinoff blogs online. He gathered an élite orchestra for a Rubinoff dedication. I was invited to play a Rubinoff memorial concert. What an experience! Below are a couple of youtube links. Please take the time to listen to this unforgettable music, unforgettably arranged. The 1st is a link to excerpts from the concert. The 2nd demonstrates the mastery of Rubinoff in his younger years.

For those of you who missed our Rubinoff and His Violin Concert in June of 2018, here’s a montage of some of the highlights! When was the last time you heard music of this calibur?  

Rubinoff and His Violin Concert – June 2, 2018 – YouTube

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Rubinoff and myself, blogger David Ohrenstein, are in the lower right program corner.The picture shows us  ready for a special concert at the Governor’s Club in Tallahassee, Fl. This program is posted at what I would call the “Ted Lewis Museum” ….. of sharing happiness!
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Playing the arrangements I made with Rubinoff, this time with with Maestro Steven Greenman, in Circleville, Ohio some 50 years later.
Full musical lifetime

Full Musical Lifetime is a Blessing and a Half

Full Musical Lifetime is a Blessing and a Half. Imagine:

  1.  Being discovered as a violin student at the Warsaw Conservatory under the direction of Paderewski.
  2. The famed conductor/composer of operettas who discovers you is Victor Herbert. At the time of discovery, Herbert, on a Sabbatical, was the conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.   He was a German-raised American composercellist and conductor.. He is best known for composing many successful operettas that premiered on Broadway from the 1890s to World War I. He was also prominent among the tin pan alley composers.  Later  he was a  founder of the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP).
  3. Image being able to apprentice your craft with under the guidance of this great man.
  4. Every Sunday night Rubinoff was able to meet the most prominent singers and musicians in America.  Victor Herbert had weekly musical soirées at his home. There, Rubinoff got to meet the likes of  the great tenor -Caruso, Mme. Schumann Heink, and John Philip Sousa.
  5.  John Philip Sousa secured a grant from the US State Department so Rubinoff could take his music to the public schools.
Full musical lifetime
45 minute live concert on youtube given in the Catskills by Rubinoff and Ohrenstein, Link is below.

David Rubinoff (left) with me, pianist David Ohrenstein

Full Musical Lifetime Included Me for some 15 years

Now by a great happenstance, one of our concerts was recently found. My daughter posted it on youtube. Dave Rubinoff was eighty-six years of age at the time.  His Stradivarius violin is set with the official crest of the Russia Empire in solid gold set with diamonds and rubies. Riches followed this man for his great contributions to America. Some years, in the 1930’s, he grossed as much as $500,000.00. Rubinoff truly is a rags to riches story.  As you will hear, even in his older years, his playing was remarkable. Now you see why I titled this post: Full Musical Lifetime is a Blessing and a Half. Please feel free to share this miracle with friends.

For those of you who missed our recent Rubinoff and His Violin Concert in June of 2018, here’s a montage of some of the highlights! When was the last time you heard music of this calibur?  

 

 

 

 

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Ernestine Schumann-Heink (Libeň, 15 June 1861 – Hollywood , November 17, 1936) was an alto of opera , known for her control, tone, beauty and the wide range of its edge. She was a star on Herbert’s guest list.

 

Hollywood nineteen thirties

Sampling Forgotten Music of Rubinoff

Sampling Forgotten Music of Rubinoff is now possible. How do you revive any quality music? First, you must sample what the quality music was. Thanks to the tireless efforts of musical conductor Joseph Rubin, this is now possible. The Maestro’s  concert has an incredibly fine youtube link below.  Conductor Rubin’s orchestra consisted of quite a number of the finest musical professors from top universities around Ohio. Maestro Rubin is also the curator of the Ted Lewis Museum in Circleville, Ohio. He actually opened the museum across the street from where Ted Lewis lived. Joseph is a testimonial to how one man with vision, and hard work, can make wonderful dreams come true. Joseph contacted me to be an important part of this unforgettable concert. I had already posted a number of blogs about “Ruby”. He saw them.

sampling forgotten music at the Ted Lewis Museum
I, blogger David Ohrenstein, actually have a tiny picture and mention in this incredible museum. That is from the program of the June 2 2018 concert.

Million thanks

Million Thanks to the American Public

Million Thanks from the American Public. Americans needed good  music more than ever to heal from the effects of the Great Depression. I actually worked the man who provided this relief: Rubinoff and His Violin.  It was not until the Wall Street Crash in October 1929 that the effects of a declining economy were felt. A major worldwide economic downturn ensued. The stock market crash marked the beginning of a decade of:

Image result for photographs from the great depression

  1. High unemployment.
  2. Poverty.
  3. Low profits.
  4. Deflation.
  5. Plunging farm incomes.
  6. Lost opportunities for economic growth. Lack of opportunities for personal advancement.
  7. Altogether, there was a general loss of confidence in the economic future.[1]

David Rubinoff and His Violin provided the relief that good music had to offer. This was on Broadway and in Hollywood. Thanks a Million is one of the movies he appeared in. Usually he was behind the scenes conducting the orchestra. Literally, Dave made millions of dollars during the Great Depression. Here is the theme of the movie, Thanks a Million. 

A show troupe is engaged by Judge Culliman, who is running for Governor. Its purpose was to enhance his political campaign. When the inebriated Judge has to be replaced in doing his campaign speech by the troupe crooner, Eric Land. Then  his political backers decide that they want him to run for Governor in the Judge’s place. Romance, music, political corruption and the election results follow.

Recently I gave a concert in Colombus, Ohio (Circleville area). I played with violinist Steven Greenman. Joseph Rubin conducted an elite orchestra. It included top professors of music from the finest Ohio universities.
Million thanks for all the joy brought by Rubinoff to children and those suffering because of the Great Depression

Million Thanks from the American Public

I worked with this giant of music for some 15 years. Thanks to the miracles of mass media and youtube, you can now witness this concert. In addition to a lecture, I played an arrangement I made with the Great Rubinoff:  Youtube selections are  from the Fiddler on the Roof. Enjoy!

Preview YouTube video Rubinoff’s Fiddler on the Roof – Violin and Piano