Pachelbel Canon is Still Popular 350 years Later. Today is June 14, 2017. I have my first summer job in Sarasota, Florida in 20 years. I’ve been a regular in New York state and at the Gasparilla Inn on the isle of Boca Grande. Currently I play a well guarded and kept Yamaha console piano outdoors at the Crab and Fin on Saint Armand’s Circle. The setting is under a covered patio. My assigned times are Monday evening 6 -10 pm. Afternoons are Tuesdays and Wednesdays 12:30 to 5:30 pm.
Anniversary Couple Requests the Pachelbel Canon
A gentleman comes up to me at about 2:30 pm. That was today, Wednesday June 14, After hearing me play selections by Beethoven, he thought there was a possibility that I could play the Canon. He and his wife featured it at their wedding. June 14 was their anniversary. Among the Beethoven selections he heard me play on the piano was the 2nd movement from Beethoven’s 7th symphony. It was used as the theme for the movie, The King’s Speech.
One reason for my success so far as public piano player: Play orchestral transcriptions on the piano. That was a specialty of Franz Liszt. It worked admirably for him. Basically the public loves hearing familiar orchestral works well played by the intimacy offered by a single piano player. Among the transcriptions that I regularly play at the Crab and Fin in the summer; and during the winter at Gasparilla Inn are:
“Jupiter” from the suite The Planets by Gustav Holst.
Selections from Carmen by Georges Bizet.
The Barcarole from Tales from Hoffman by Offenbach.
Tales from Vienna Woods by Strauss
The Beautiful Blue Danube by Strauss
The American in Paris by George Gershwin
Song of India by Rimsky Korsakov. The list goes on and on.
Shortly I will post my own rendition of a piano transcription of Pachelbel’s Canon in D. Keep checking DSOworks.com for my Pachelbel posting. I also have a few openings for piano lessons in Sarasota.
George Friederic Handel Versus Sopranos. Handel was born in the same year as J.S. Bach. J.S. Bach avoided the operatic form. Handel did not. George Frideric (or Frederick) Handel (/ˈhændəl/;[a] born Georg Friedrich Händel,[b] German pronunciation: [ˈhɛndəl]; 23 February 1685 (O.S.) [(N.S.) 5 March] – 14 April 1759)[c] was a German, later British, baroque composer who spent the bulk of his career in London, becoming well known for his operas, oratorios, anthems, and organ concertos.
Maria Callas (one of the greatest sopranos ever) with her teacher Elvira de Hidalgo in 1954
Georege Friederic Handel had his first operatic job was in his home town of Halle. There he played in the second violin section at the opera house near the famed Goosemarket. At age 19 he tired of being in the second violin section. So, he switched from playing “second fiddle” to playing the “first” (and only) harpsichord. He decided to write opera during the run of the Cleopatra by Johann Matheson. Matheson wanted to play the last part, as usual, on the harpsichord by himself, The was supposed to be during the very last scene. One night young Handel and Matheson got into a brawl just before the last scene. Handel didn’t want to abandon the instrument. Their verbal and physical fight lasted a half-hour. Of course, the audience went wild over this major disagreement. After that experience, Handel decided to write his own operas. And, he did. He wrote some 46 in total.
My own favorite story about George Friederic Handel Versus Sopranos
Victor Borge has a number of soprano stories in My favorite Intermissions. A particular wild anecdote involves the Italian soprano, Francesca Cuzzoni. The George Friederic Handel opera she was to appear in was called Ottone. Unfortunately, Francesca became inflamed: She thought Ottone did not show off her singing abilities to their fullest. Consequently, she refused to do the big number unless Handel let her improvise extra high notes. How did it resolve? Georege Friederic Handel, in a burst of anger, hoisted her over a window ledge on the 2nd floor of the building. While dangling from the window, she decided Handel’s way wasn’t so bad after all. It’s regrettable that so much color is lost in music history classes at both high school and university levels. These stories are necessary to perpetuate the art. Great composers were also real human beings. I think it’s time for a revival of great classical writers and their works. Such stories can help. More blogs will be posted on this topic. Keep watching. Don’t be shy about sharing them with friends. Also, I David Ohrenstein and wife Sharon Lesley, have collaborated on an opera, Octavian and Cleopatra. Here is a small excerpt. Be the first in your locality to have our new opera. Contact us through our DSOworks@gmail.com
Cleopatra’s ladies in waiting give her a potion to calm her over the her grief of the suicide of her husband, Marc Anthony. In a drunken stupor, Cleopatra mistakes the Captain of the Roman guard for her former lover and husband. The ladies in waiting gladly let this happen, hoping that the captain would fall in love with Cleopatra, and help them them to escape from Egypt. (Cleopatra played by Sharon Lesley Ohrenstein, Baron Garriott playes Captain Derceteus at the Players Theatre production in Sarasota, Florida)
Description Tags: Strong Role for a Leading Man *Strong Role for a Leading Lady *Musical Drama *Minimal Sets and Costumes *Period Piece/Historical *Classic Broadway *Operetta/Operatic.
Grand Poetic Revival is Just Around the Corner! That’s remarkable. Poetry has been hiding for centuries. For example, most Chinese believe that the last time poetry peaked was in the Tang Dynasty. That ended more than 1100 years ago. The Golden Age of Russian Poetry is the name traditionally applied by Russian philologists to the first half of the 19th century. It is also called the Age of Pushkin, after its most significant poet (in Nabokov‘s words, the greatest poet this world was blessed with since the time of Shakespeare). The history of American poetry is also in rough shape. One example: American poetry published between 1910 and 1945 remains lost in the pages of small circulation political periodicals, particularly the ones on the left, destroyed by librarians during the 1950s McCarthy era.
So How is A Grand Poetic Revival Just Around the Corner?
Issac Newton stated that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Poetry is a force equal in magnitude and opposite in direction to prose. The second body (poetry) is about to react contrary to action first body. Given Newton’s Laws (1687), poetry should become popular for a minimum of a few hundred years: Note his third law:
When one body exerts a force on a second body, the second body simultaneously exerts a force equal in magnitude and opposite in direction on the first body. The three laws of motion were first compiled by Isaac Newton in his Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica (Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy), first published in 1687.
A greater percentage of prose has degenerated to colorless “information.” Poetic techniques have flown out of the window with computer technology. Original analogy has all but disappeared. Those that are around are terribly overworked. In my opinion, the worse of the uncolorful current bunch is the word “issues.” To paraphrase Shakespeare, “issues” has “died a thousand deaths.”
I’ve written a book of poetry called The Oquaga Spirit Speaks. After memorizing and practicing reciting the entire book, I am ready to tour. I hope the Oquaga Spirit will be the herald a new and peaceful age. In the words of the Oquaga Spirit:
Proper Musical Rendition Has Multiple Choices. For this blog I reference one of my favorite books, Inside Music by Karl Haas. Karl Haas (December 6, 1913 – February 6, 2005) was a German-American classical musicradio host, known for his sonorous speaking voice, humanistic approach to music appreciation, and popularization of classical music. He was the host of the classical music radio program Adventures in Good Music, which was syndicated to commercial and public radio stations around the world. He also published the book Inside Music.I grew up in Detroit. Karl Haas was one of the Detroit’s musical luminaries. When I started to play the piano at age 11, I composed a piano concerto in Eb minor (six flats). Also, at my 1st year piano recital I played the entire Moonlight Sonata by Beethoven from memory. I still play it at on St Armand’s Circle at the Crab and Fin Restaurant. See events on DSOworks.
After this initial start, my father then took me to Karl Haas for an interview. Haas was giving some piano lessons to a few students. He was getting busy with his radio program on WJR in Detroit so he recommended that I go to Mischa Kottler. Kottler was the head of the piano department at Wayne State University. I also began a 20 year association with Rubinoff and his Violin through the college. Here’s how it happened: I had just completed a piano lesson with Mischa . Mischa had his studio next door to the Liberal Arts Music Office. Rubinoff called the office as a was walking past. He was looking for an accompanist/arranger. Professor Morris Hochberg summoned me in to talk with Rubinoff. The rest is history.
By special request, here is a story about Rubinoff And His Violin – The Fascination Waltz (1905) and how he approached the music with style and finesse.
Proper Musical Rendition and Rubinoff and His Violin
Karl Haas states in Inside Music that a performer must always question the validity of the “subjective tastes of the editor.” That even applies to fingering. He tells a story about studying a Beethoven Sonata under the guidance of famed German pianist Artur Schnabel. Karl found the fingering extremely difficult that Schnabel penciled into the score. On questioning Schnabel, he replied: the fingering was simply ” a prompter to try ways by yourself in order to find the one best suited to your digital needs.”
Rubinoff both questioned and interpreted music in countless ways. Typically he would try difference rhythms, as I explain in the youtube video. He would change phrasing: Which notes to emphasize, or which to drop off on. The point is, the public loved his interpretations. If the proof of the pudding is in the tasting, his pudding was great. Some years in the 1930’s he could make $500,000.00.
Conclusion: Success in music, as well as in in other disciplines, is based on questioning and analyzing the subject at hand in great depth for proper musical rendition.
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.