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.
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.
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.
Ragtime Enriches Yes, I Mean Money, lots of it! And yes, it’s time to be happy again. Listen to some Scott Joplin, Charles Lamb, Eubie Blake, Tom Turpin, James Jesse Europe or Luckyeth Roberts. Their music is as entertaining as their names. Eubie Blake said in gracious tribute, “Joplin was the father of us all.” Ragtime is a musical style that enjoyed its peak popularity between 1895 and 1918. Its cardinal trait is its syncopated, or “ragged”, rhythm. The style has its origins in African-American communities like St. Louis years before being published as popular sheet music for piano.
Scott Joplin is unquestionably the father of ragtime.
What brought about the return of ragtime after 1918? The movie called The Sting. The film is noted for its anachronistic use of ragtime, particularly the melody “The Entertainer” by Scott Joplin, which was adapted (along with others by Joplin) for the movie by Marvin Hamlisch (and a top-ten chart single for Hamlisch when released as a single from the film’s soundtrack). The film’s success created a resurgence of interest in Joplin’s work.
The Scott family was attracted by the Kissin’ Cuzzins marquee that announced me playing ragtime piano. They own Scott’s Oquaga Lake House in the Catskills. Its been in the family since 1869. The current year was 1983. For my audition I had to play the Pineapple Rag perfectly for the The Scotts. They were so impressed that they invited our entire family up to New York for that summer. That started a long string of about 20 summer seasons in the Catskills. We got to live our lives like as it was in the 1930’s setting of The Sting. It was like we took a time machine to the past. All loved it! It give rise to my book of poetry, The Oquaga Spirit Speaks, available on the product page.
New Sound Eureka Like in Back to the Future. That’s Marty McFly playing the electric guitar. It refers to Chuck Berry‘s “Johnny B. Goode”. He brings down the house with it at his parents’ high school prom. There, Marty comes from the future: Johnny B. Goode is still three years away from being released! “Johnny B. Goode” IS the future. It’s the “new sound” that is going to sweep the world. Marvin, Chuck Berry’s fictional cousin at the dance, holds up the phone for his musical relative to hear.
New Sound Eureka Goes Back to the Biblical Psalms
Four Psalms open with these words — Psalms 96, 98, and 149 — “sing to the Lord a new song.” As does Isaiah 42:10 (“sing to the Lord a new song”) and Psalm 33:3 (“sing to him a new song”). And Psalm 144:9 adds its voice to the chorus, “I will sing a new song to you, O God.” The hope or promise of a new song or new sound even has Biblical roots!
We are living in times where people are looking for a new sound. Here is the parallel to the point the movie makes. The young dancers at the featured picture of the Enchantment Under the Sea loved the music. Yet, the sound was 3 years ahead of its time of publication. Fiction, yes. But, it’s based on fact. The upcoming new sound will place melody in the forefront. This type of sound has historically revived counterpoint. Yes, J.S. Bach style. In the same manner Mendelssohn, a romantic, revived J.S. Bach.
A New Musical with the upcoming new sound eureka is About to Travel the Golden Roads. My wife and I are all about beautiful melody. Rhythm, of course, most also be solid. But to us, the melody is the key to the future. Our musical has a Biblical theme. We look forward to singing a new song. Our tour will take us all around the northeast. We always look for any kind of encouragement. Please share!
Concertizing Duo Returns to the Concert Stage After Raising a Family. Husband-wife team David and Sharon Ohrenstein comprise the team. Sharon Ohrenstein’s musical aptitude includes:
Arranging for for multiple instruments. Most recently she arranged a new wind quintet. She has arranged for concert band and orchestra. Husband, David, composes the music. Enjoy their new patriotic march entitled Glory and Honor. Instrumental parts are available through DSOworks.com. Below, it is performed by the Sarasota Concert Band.
Concertizing Duo Returns With a New Musical Called Golden Roads
Our new one woman musical opened the Sarasolo festival. The musical is about the early life of Golda Meir. The story is about achieving your dream. This takes incredible sacrifice and hard work. However, once you’ve realized your dream,the even harder work just begins. Golden Roads is New York bound. We will shortly set up its dates at Scott’s Oquaga Lake House. Also, appointments have been set for a number summer musical camps in both New York and Pennsylvania. Other locations are considering the musical. The part of Golda is sung and acted by book writer-lyricist wife, Sharon. Composer,David, will play the piano. They hope to set the precedent for others. Our wonderful director is New York stage veteran and renowned international opera singer, Carlo Thomas. Thanks to him, our show now has exciting and relevant graphics and projections. It can be booked as a special event. Or, it can have a run at a theater. With our Finale music program, we can arrange for alto or soprano using any key. The music, however, is still challenging with a wide vocal range.
Another Concertizing Duo Returns That this Duo Got to Enjoy
I’m closing the blog with the following excerpt from Wikipedia. We had the pleasure of hearing Alan and Marilyn Bergman perform a concert of their own works of Michel Legrand the University of Miami. As a husband-wife team, they have definitely been inspiring to us. And yes, its possible to raise a family and have a career in the arts. The kids love it!
Whodunit Murder Mystery Frames the Piano Player. Fun, fun, fun! There’s never a dull moment in the Sarasota theater scene. That’s true even at a Catholic retreat in the wilderness. It is called Our Lady of Perpetual Help: Retreat and Spirituality Center. Sponsor of the murder mysteries is the Florida Studio Theater. Click on their website. Link is below. They are one of the major theatrical venues in Sarasota.
Whodunit Backfires on the Piano Player
The all star cast included Will Luera, Darryl Knapp, Steve Turrisi, Kathryn Parks, Angel Parker, and Tanner Sands. My daughter, Kathryn, asked me to play the “Speakeasy” part of the evening. Kathryn and I performed from 6-7 pm. Great Gatsby era numbers were emphasized by us. The selections also included a number of George Gershwin arrangements that I made with my soprano wife, Sharon. The murder mystery included a setting of a bride and groom. The groom has an unfortunate end right before the ceremony.
Here’s how it impacted me: The FST cast thought that as long as I’m there, why don’t I play the bridal chorus by Richard Wagner. The show made use of improvisation on the spot. When the bride screams because of her groom’s demise, I suddenly started playing Chopin’s Funeral March. The audience, in context of the play, thought it quite humorous. Unfortunately, it had an unplanned side effect. Everyone had to fill out a ballot designating who they thought poisoned the groom. As I walked backed to the table where I had been seated, numerous people pointed to me. Then, to my shock, most of the guests wrote that I did the groom in. In fact, that was the deed of someone in the cast. However, everyone, cast and audience loved the fact that my touch of humor threw a curve into what otherwise could have been a more predictable evening. Needless to say, I was both shocked and amused at the results. I hadn’t had so much fun in quite a while. Let FST open up new worlds to you. After all, what’s life all about?
Hidden Heptagon Can Be Attached to Great Pyramid’s Blueprint. Or, is it vice versa? First, what is a heptagon? In geometry, a heptagon is a seven-sided polygon or 7-gon. The heptagon is also occasionally referred to as the septagon, using “sept-” (an elision of septua-, a Latin-derived numerical prefix, rather than hepta-, a Greek-derived numerical prefix) together with the Greek suffix “-agon” meaning angle.
The featured picture is from my 1st volume, p.393, of The Staff of God. I worked many summer seasons at Scott’s Oquaga Lake House as their piano player. There, a spiritual presence made itself known. I was educated in the ways of the ancients. The Oquaga Spirit Speaks, was one of the results. It relates through quatrains with rhyme the character of this spirit. Here is a sample from the opening poem entitled The Oquaga Spirit:
What a communicator was she
This sprite both blithe and free.
So much she needed an ear,
She ignored my tranquility.
NOW FOR THE HIDDEN HEPTAGON
To the best of my knowledge, I think I was one of the first to rediscover the hidden heptagon. Even more significant: I think the triangle of the Pyramid’s dimensions originally came from this hiding heptagon. Not the other way around. Every book I’ve seen previously has defined the triangle as giving birth to the Great Pyramid. This involved many geometrical constructions. Here’s the simpler way to draw its dimensions from the heptagon: Set your compass at point “C”, Mark its length AC. Mark point “D” from point “C”. Draw a straight line along ICBD. Connect lines for triangle CDA. You have the essential proportional measures of the Great Pyramid.
More blogs will be written on this topic. Here’s one application. Hebrew language has 3 “mother” letters. It also has 7 double letters. That is, letters with 2 distinct sounds.
A 2nd heptagon can be drawn on the other side of the triangle (not pictured). It’s basic side is defined by line AC. It then extends to the left. The 1st heptagon is on the right.
The one mother that gives birth to the 2 heptagons wedged in the lower center between the 2 heptagons. .
With the Hebrew language, the 3 mother letters give birth to the 7 double letters. The diagram geometrically defines this pattern.
Possibility exists that I might go to the Lake House once more this summer. There I would recite poetry. Also I would offer expeditions to commune with the spirit, and play the piano.
Wind Song Players in Concert under Maestro Edmond Demattia. Ed is the founder and conductor of a new musical group. They are called the Wind Song Players. The trio consists of:
Ed Demattia on the oboe.
David Ohrenstein on the piano.
Sharon Ohrenstein, vocals.
They are offering a free concert. It is on April 23, Sunday at 3:oo pm. Location is the Fountains of Hope. It is at 1560 Jesus Way in Sarasota, Florida. This is behind the Church of Hope in a new facility. The concert is free. All are welcome. Call 941-316-6487 for more information.
So, firstly, who is Ed Demattia? A Founder and President of the National Concert Band Association.
The idea for a “national concert band” began in 1973 with discussions among retired and former members of the four major military service bands in the Washington, DC area. The organization’s two main purposes were to provide a way for area military musicians to continue to play after retirement, and to preserve the concert band tradition of music in the United States, so prominent in the first half of the twentieth century.It was during conductor DeMattia’s tenure the Band participated in making the epic series of historic recordings of “The Heritage of the March,” produced by Robert Hoe of Poughkeepsie, NY.
The first conductor chosen was Edmund DeMattia, formerly principal oboist with the United States Navy Band. He was one of the founding members of the American Concert Band Association (ACB) and the National Concert Band became a member of this professional organization.
The concert will be both enjoyable and popular. Selections will include a medley of classic melodies from Lerner and Lowe musicals. With David and Ed, Sharon will premier a new psalm that she arranged just for the group. It is called Sing Unto God. The main theme uses the haunting Brahms melody from the 1st movement of his 1st symphony. She will also sing Memory from the Andrew Lloyd Weber musical, Cats. David will play a solo waltz by Chopin. Ed will play oboe featuring the melodic To a Wild Rose by Edward MacDowell. His classical selections will include a Concerto by Corelli arranged for Oboe and Piano. I call oboe Ed, The Master. There is no musical limit to what can can learn from this wonderful man. Yes, the best things in life are free. Call today for a reservation.
Learning Piano With Mischa Kottler Thanks to My Dad. This blog is in memory of my father. Much of the content will be in my eulogy for my father, Bernard Ohrenstein. He just passed away at age 97. Dad was from Poland. He was a survivor from four years in the camps.
My father saw I had a flare for piano and composing. This was at age 11. He did everything possible to nurture that. I began composing as soon as we got the piano. He arranged for a solo concert of my eastern European flavored music at the local synagogue in Detroit. I was 12 years old when I played the concert. Later that year wrote a musical play. He arranged for a presentation with renowned Detroit Mi and Louisville Ky cantor, Joseph Birnholtz. I had been studying piano with a Mrs. Foster. At my 1st year recital I played the entire Moonlight Sonata by Beethoven from memory.
Learning Piano With Mischa Kottler
Dad then took me to the best, Mischa Kottler. Mischa was considered the finest teacher and prima piano player of Detroit. He headed the piano department at Wayne State University. He was the official pianist of the Detroit Symphony. He had his own radio program with WJR, On it, he played a different program every Sunday. My father paid for my college education and piano lessons with Mischa.
It gets better: When 1st accepted by Mischa, you were placed on a waiting list. Lessons could even be 2 months apart. So what did my father do? Being a jeweler, he made a solid gold ring. He then sent the ring to Italy to finest craftsman. The head of Beethoven was carved intaglio on a sardonyx stone. Beethoven was set into the ring. My father’s plan worked. I got regular piano lessons. Mischa wore the ring at every concert he gave. It was his pride and joy. So what came of my learning piano with Mischa?
Even at my current age, I play six nights weekly at the Gasparilla Inn. There, I’ve entertained two American Presidents. Guests have also included members of the British House of Lords. I am currently completing my 8th year.
I married a wonderful book writer-lyricist, Sharon Ohrenstein. Together, we write and produce shows. Below are short youtube samples. They are from our newest show entitled, Golden Roads. Thanks to my dad (and mom, of course) I’ve had a wonderful life filled with love and music. My advise to parents with children: Do any of the following: Give them piano lessons. Teach them to sing; or, to play any other instrument. Joy for everyone will follow. Feel free to share this with friends.
Having Fun Playing Piano on Main Street. My gosh, it’s like the good old days. Back to the 1960’s when everyone wanted a piano player. In the 60’s I was already playing piano professionally. At the time, I was living in Detroit. For years I was the Sunday brunch pianist at the Oakland Hills Country Club. They held the PGA’s there. That also included house parties galore. I was once told that the two best things about the club were (1) The recent addition of sirloin steak to the brunch menu. (2) My piano playing. I enjoyed playing contrasting numbers. People loved it. Frequently I would play Scott Jopin’s, The Entertainer, This would be followed by Chopin’s Nocturne in Eb (theme from the Eddie Duchin Story). My piano style was described as having sartorial eloquence. Thank the Good Lord, after all these years, I’m still ably playing for fun or at sartorially eloquent places. I am just completed my 8th winter season having fun playing piano at the Gasparilla Inn.
18th Hole at Oakland Hills Country Club (South) (498 Yard Par 5)
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sartorial It’s easy to uncover the root of sartorial. Just strip off the suffix -ial and you discover the Latin noun sartor, meaning “tailor” (literally, “one who patches or mends”). It can be used for many descriptions as: The wedding party arrived in sartorial splendor.
Having fun playing piano at the Gasparilla Inn on the isle of Boca Grande, Fl
I strongly identify with the “father of the symphony orchestra”, Joseph Haydn. He was the court musician, conductor and composer for the Austrian family, the Esterhazys. The Austrian prince passed away. Then the king of England employed Haydn. The composer accepted a lucrative offer from Johann Peter Salomon, a German violinist and impresario. Haydn then visited England. There he conducted new symphonies with a large orchestra.
The choice was a sensible one because Haydn was already a very popular composer there. Since the death of Johann Christian Bach in 1782, Haydn’s music had dominated the concert scene in London; “hardly a concert did not feature a work by him” (Jones). Haydn’s work was widely distributed by publishers in London, including Forster (who had their own contract with Haydn) and Longman & Broderip (who served as agent in England for Haydn’s Vienna publisher Artaria). Efforts to bring Haydn to London had been undertaken since 1782, though Haydn’s loyalty to Prince Nikolaus had prevented him from accepting.
Haydn, of course, wrote the London Symphony as a thank you to the British king. I am also a composer. Frequently I play my own music. One of the favorites is my own theme and variations on “Aura Lee.” Elvis turned it into Love Me Tender, I have been working at the Gasparilla Inn for the last 8 years. Like Joseph Haydn, I suggest to all artists seeking employment: Follow the rules of etiquette. Perhaps that is also a good rule for anyone seeking employment.Below is a picture of some of the “royalty” that have stayed at the Inn. I’m there 6 nights weekly through Easter.
Something Old, Something New is featured in our new opera Octavian and Cleopatra It was a labor of love for Sharon and David Ohrenstein. Incidentally, it only has two spoken words for dramatic effect: When Cleopatra and Octavian see each other for the 1st time, they speaks each other’s names. . The opera was written under great difficulty and many obstacles.
There was no funding and little time.
We were raising three small children.
We had no spare income for the opera.
So How Did we Do It?
Sharon starred as Cleopatra, She also wrote the story and libretto. David played the piano for the world premier. He also composed the music. They were the moving company for the props and costumes that they mostly assembled by themselves. The work took almost two years. They often worked on the opera nightly until 1 or 2AM. In this regard, had they not have been married, the opera would never have been written.
So what’s Something Old, Something New?
There have been operas written about Cleopatra. No one, to our knowledge, has written one about Octavian and Cleopatra. I really believe it took Sharon’s genius to find the story. That’s something old, something new. Below is a list of some of the existing Cleopatra operas:
So what has happened since? We say never give up. There is tremendous interest in our writing. People are looking for something different including:
An opera filled with beautiful arias in the same manner that Richard Rodgers wrote for Broadway musicals.
A meaningful story with a transformation. In this case: Octavian goes from being a low and debauched character to the 1st emporer king of Rome. He was renamed Augustus.
Placing women on a pedestal. As the new king Augustus did for Cleopatra.
We have the full performance on video. We still need backers. That hasn’t changed. But the times have dramatically changed over the last 20 years. People are looking for meaning and beauty in opera. Our Octavian and Cleopatra offers exactly that. Be the 1st to have the new sound of the 21st century in your home town!