Public Premiere of Golden Roads Musical of Golda Meir. The word is out. Ticket sales are brisk. Everyone thinks we have a hit on our hands. This musical is happy, uplifting and meant to inspire. Also, this musical has elements of the beautiful music of the 1930’s. Likeearly 1930’s hit, Stardust, by Hoagy Carmichael, melody is of primary importance. David composes from the standpoint of melody, unlike many of today’s composers. Melody should be held as sacred. Rhythm is also enjoyable. However, in composition, it should be at the service of melody. Since age 11, that has been David’s style of composition. All have their own Golden Roads that lead to fulfillment of personal wishes and dreams. The formula is in the musical.
So, What is So Special About This Public Premiere?
We have a wonderful director, Carlo Thomas. “He went on to a career which included Opera (City Opera, Canadian Opera, Berlin Opera, The Spoleto Music Festival, where he was directed by Gian Carlo Menotti), Broadway (1776, Phantom of the Opera), Concert (soloist at Radio City Music Hall), Recording with the Fred Waring band – and anything that required music. With his life partner Timothy Gray (who with Hugh Martin wrote the score for the musical High Spirits – based on the Noel Coward play Blithe Spirit, and many more), Carlo was enmeshed in the theater scene. Listen to this extraordinary man tell the charming, funny and sometimes outrageous stories of a life and career dedicated to the making of beautiful music. 11-24-14 Audio Interview.”
Carlo introduced us to the use of musical motifs. We use them extensively in Golden Roads. The piano becomes a surrogate actor by using musical comments on stage. The technique was used extensively in The Phantom of the Opera. What a learning experience this was for us. We are honored to work with this man.
Sharon Ohrenstein (book and lyrics) performs multiple characters as Golda takes her extraordinary journey from Pinsk to Prime Minster of Israel. Her true love and spirit guide, Zion, follows her every move. Nobody Can Tell Me, I Do, We Have Returned,My Heart Is Always Home (composer: David Ohrenstein) are a few of the songs.
Golden Roads, our one-woman musical about Golda Meir, premieres in less than 10 days at the SaraSolo Festival! Get a sneak preview and find out just how young David was when he started composing these melodies. Why is this production so special?
It is our 4th major rewrite of a show whose time is now. Its history goes back to 1990 at the then Jewish Community Center in Sarasota. Then it had a full cast of 25. Afterwards, it was included in the abbreviated version of three of our musicals, called Three Queens: They were (1) Elizabeth of Russia (2) Octavian and Cleopatra (3) Our Golda.
We placed the Golda musical on the back burner for 10 years because of the then touring “Golda’s Balcony.” Now after the recent election we brought it out again. Here is a musical about a woman who did rule her country. This was in spite of her having cancer at the time. She had to lead the country during a vicious attack on Israel. This was on the holiest of Jewish holidays- Yom Kippur.
Above, composer/pianist David Ohrenstein seated at the piano.
Sneak Preview: Our Wonderful Director is New York Broadway and Metropolitan Opera Veteren, Carlo Thomas
The following about Carlo Thomas is an excerpt from Lynn Bernfield’s radio show. “He went on to a career which included Opera (City Opera, Canadian Opera, Berlin Opera, The Spoleto Music Festival, where he was directed by Gian Carlo Menotti), Broadway (1776, Phantom of the Opera), Concert (soloist at Radio City Music Hall), Recording with the Fred Waring band – and anything that required music. With his life partner Timothy Gray (who with Hugh Martin wrote the score for the musical High Spirits – based on the Noel Coward play Blithe Spirit, and many more), Carlo was enmeshed in the theater scene. Listen to this extraordinary man tell the charming, funny and sometimes outrageous stories of a life and career dedicated to the making of beautiful music. 11-24-14 Audio Interview.”
Kind, wonderful and generous Carlo has been coming to our Sarasota home twice weekly. He introduced us to concepts that are now currently used in Broadway musicals: These are the use of musical motifs throughout the score. The motifs uniquely make the piano an active actor in the show. Now Golda and the piano have an active dialog. One example: When Golda goes to the kibbutz, the piano’s motif is “Old MacDonald had a Farm”. Everyone has enjoyed the piano’s part. The piano cleverly comments on almost everything. I could go on and on. But I won’t. Just come and see the grand premier. Seating is limited. The show is selling quite well.
Travel on the Golden Roads of Golda Meir. We are honored to travel on the Golden Roads of Golda Meir. Our new musical is taking us on a journey as bookings keep coming in. The musical has a strong parallel to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. There is one main difference, however.For Dorothy, in the Wiz, the Yellow Brick Road led to Oz. The wizard would in turn would lead her home. In our Golda one-woman musical, the Golden Roads are home sweet home.
The road is first introduced in the third chapter of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. The road begins in the heart of the eastern quadrant called Munchkin Country in the Land of Oz. It functions as a guideline that leads all who follow it. The road’s ultimate destination is the imperial capital of Oz. It is called Emerald City . It is at exact center of the continent.
In a similar way, Jerusalem is thought of as the center of the world in many traditions. Golda Meir helped pave the way for thousands of immigrants after World War II. Golda Meir’s Golden Roads were real. In Parliament she helped pass the Golden Wegen (Golden Roads) Initiative of 1949. She wanted Israel to not only have roads, but that they be beautiful. They had to have trees and flowers. This is most remarkable for a desert-like country. It just had had swamps, sand and rock for terrain.
TRAVEL THE GOLDEN ROADS WITH COMPOSER-PIANIST DAVID OHRENSTEIN AND BOOKWRITER/SINGER SHARON OHRENSTEIN
David and Sharon currently have 2 Sarasota bookings. (1) They are opening the Sarasolo Festival January 28 at the Crocker Church in Sarasota. (2) Their Longboat Key booking is Friday March 24 (see featured picture). We are honored to bring the Golden Roads to Sarasota. Get your tickets now. Seating is limited.
SaraSolo Festival 2017 is one of Sarasota’s most exciting new arts festivals. It provides a unique theatre experience, which celebrates the solo artist, showcasing an eclectic mix of 45-90 minute solo performances by 22 national and international artists – featuring music, dance, cabaret, comedy, performance art, stand-up, and storytelling, as well as historical, biographical and poetic plays–
Birthday of the Gasparilla Inn on the Isle of Boca Grande. What a way to usher in the New Year. Yes, I’ll be working. But for many reasons I couldn’t be happier. The Inn encourages co-operation and group spirit among the employees. Management is polite and diplomatic. The list goes on and on. Great dinners, great desserts…I also love the totally wonderful Steinway concert grand dated back to 1924. It is vintage. Even better: It has just been totally rebuilt by master piano technician, Larry Keckler. After installing the strings and hammers from direct from Steinway in Germany, he said : “This piano has the sweetest sound.” It does. Diners at the Gasparilla Inn love my selections in it.
Special Piano Treat for the Inn on its 100th Birthday
Many make it a point to stay at the Inn regularly. This is even more so on its 100th Birthday. The Gasparilla Guest Book in the past has included: Tom Edison, George H.W, Bush, Jimmy Buffet, Harvey Firestone, Harrison Ford, Henry Ford and Katharine Hepburn (see feature picture).
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 plays by George Shearing is so beautiful that many diners have tears in their eyes.
Beautiful and elegant Gasparilla Inn where David plays nightly.
Other Scheduled Events
David is quite a composer. He and his wife, Sharon Lesley have co-written Golden Roads. It is named after the Golden Wegen initiative of Golda Meir in 1949. She wanted the roads in Israel to be beautiful. The show is premiering at the Sarasolo festival in Sarasota this January 28th at the Crocker Memorial church at 1 pm. Limited seating. Later in the season they will have a special appearance at at the Longboat Key Education Center on March 24, 2017. It is a one time special event:Centre Shops of Longboat KeyAddress: Centre Shops of Longboat Key, 5370 Gulf of Mexico Dr # 212, Longboat Key, FL 34228 Phone: (941) 383-8811. 11 :00 AM- 12:30 PM Members $18 Non-Members $23
Our best for the happiest New Year ever – David and Sharon.
Melodies Linger and Last Like all Good Things. A pleasant memory always stays with you. So does a beautiful melody. Beautiful melodies give rise to whistling or even humming. The whistler feels the need to outwardly express the tune within. Now I ask my reader: When is the last time you heard someone whistling. When I grew up in the 1950’s everyone seemingly whistled. This was true at a bus stop, in a drugstore or just by random pedestrians. I would go so far as to even say that whistling is a sign of a happy civilization.
Rubinoff Fell in Love With Beautiful Melodies
The violinist I worked with, Rubinoff, (featured picture) was good friends with Irving Berlin. He met Irving Berlin at soirees given on Sunday evenings by Victor Herbert, then conductor of the Pittsburg Symphony. At the time, beautiful melodies captured the imagination of the American public (circa 1910). So did the new fad, ragtime. Comparing the two styles he told Rubinoff: “Ruby, melodic music goes from your head straight to your heart. Ragtime goes straight from your head to your feet”. Berlin and Rubinoff loved both typres of music. Rubinoff said time and time again about countless melodies: “That’s the most beautiful melody I ever heard.” When he saw a beautiful girl, he would say the same. Here is an excerpt of lyrics from a song by Irving Berlin that also expresses this dual love relationship. It is Berlin’s A PRETTY GIRL IS LIKE A MELODY
A pretty girl is like a melody
That haunts you night and day
Just like the strain of a haunting refrain
She’ll start upon a marathon
And run around your brain
You can’t escape, she’s in your memory
By morning, night and noon
She will leave you and then come back again
A pretty girl is just like a pretty tune
I was also told a quatrain on Oquaga Lake. It is from my poetry book, The Oquaga Spirit Speaks. The American Indians loved the lake. It is all about how in difficult and challenging times, melody gives a feeling of solidity.
Time is just like music Do not play too fast. Speed burns too quickly, While melodies linger and last.
Film Featurette is Produced By and Stars Kathryn Parks . Yes our daughter, Kathryn Parks, is now doing a film. I was honored to be asked to compose some of the music. Mother, Sharon, is the highly valued acting coach for the film, The film is called 50 Words. It features a musical show within the context of the film. Biographies are often limited to 50 words in programs, It is of the comedy genre. Here are some of the many comic genres daughter Kathryn uses. A comedy of manners typically takes as its subject a particular part of society (usually upper class society) and uses humor to parody or satirize the behavior and mannerisms of its members. Romantic comedy is a popular genre that depicts burgeoning romance in humorous terms, and focuses on the foibles of those who are falling in love.
I got to be one of the diners in the film. That’s me sitting across from the young lady with the blue top. Kathryn has a strong back ground in acting. She majored in Theater at the University of Miami. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree. I think this film is a wonderful Holiday tribute and gift to the city of Sarasota. Kathryn was sure to place so many of our theatrical and fine dining venues in the spotlight for her film. Everyone believed in her project from the owners of our various theatrical centers to the kind actors and actresses. They all got a taste of what it is to make a film in Sarsota. Kathryn is now into the post production work with her film producer, Mars Vision. At the core of Mars Vision Productions is Mark Palmer. His great love for this project was unrelenting throughout the entire shoot. His work simply shines.
Film Featurette Features Major Sarasota Arts Venues
Meekness of J.S. Bach Contrasts Composers of Today. In the 21st century many composer/performers have superstar status. For example we have artists with with extremely high net worths and fame. These include
Paul McCartney, thanks to a successful solo career, the music legend is worth an estimated $660 million.
The Canadian singer known for belting out love songs is worth an estimated $630 million, according to Wealth-X.
Paul David Hewson (Bono)
The lead singer of U2 (and his sunglasses) is one of the most recognized faces in the music industry, and has a net worth $590 million.
Now let’s take a look at J.S. Bach. First, he wrote no “free works of art.” Everything was written for immeadiate use. Such works included: cantatas, his Passions, High Mass, and his Magnificat. He bore the title of court composer in Dresden. Be it his chorale preludes or organ preludes and fugues- all had their fixed place in the liturgy.
Meekness of Bach Shows Up in the Autograph of His Works
Alfred Einstein, in his Music of the Romantic Era, states that the title page of the manuscript of the Well-Tempered Clavicord reads: “for the use and practice of young musicians who are eager to learn, and as special means of passing the time for those who already have some facility in this study.” Perhaps Bach’s greatest work was his now famous Goldberg Variations. It was written for simply “passing the time” at night. The nobleman he wrote it for suffered from insomnia. The variations on Bach’s original theme would invariably put this noble count to sleep. Many of Bach’s works were inscribed as being written “for the greater glory of God.”
The differencebetween then and now: Bach created for his own time. He wrote for the nobles he served. He wrote for the congregations he worked for. I say, simply, listen to and play the kind of music you love. Whether you are rich or poor, music soothes the soul. It makes you feel good. Perhaps you’ll be rich and famous? Just enjoy music. That will help you to find happiness and satisfaction in your own life. In the meanwhile, I have a few openings for piano lessons in Sarasota. This hopefully is also “for the use and practice of young musicians.”
Happiest Unplanned Moment of My Life and Mischa Kottler. For some 17 years I studied piano with a great master, Mischa Kottler. He prepared me, as a pianist, to play for heads of state from around the world as well as Presidents of the United States. Among his students were counted; Ruth Loredo, Cynthia Raim and Seymour Lipkin. One of his students was Greg Phillinganes. From work with Stevie Wonder while still in his teens, to tours and recordings with Quincy Jones, Michael Jackson, Eric Clapton, and Toto; Phillinganes’ massive discography reads like a “Who’s Who” of pop music, encompassing four decades. Mischa defied time. At age 93 he paid us a surprise visit in Sarasota home. There he played Chopin’s Minute Waltz. So what, you ask? He played it with double notes in the right hand. Instead of single notes he played 3rds, 4th, and 5th in with one hand. The tempo of its fast pace was never lost. Fortunately, this feat can be witnessed on youtube. Single notes at that speed a difficult enough, Alfred Cortot, his teacher also plays it but with single notes. Many students feel the compulsion to outdo their teachers. Mischa did.
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.
Happiest Moment Comes With an Unplanned Visit by Mischa
In 1993 I get a phone call. In context, I had no contact with Mischa for some 16 years. I thought he was no longer with us. The voice on the phone said: “David, this is your piano teacher, Mischa Kottler.” I was sure it was a joke. The heavy Russian accent went on to say: “I hear you have more children than I know piano concertos.” At that moment I nearly collasped. It was him. I recognized his dry humor. Guess what? He visited our home and gave me piano lessons “in exchange” for hospitality. Naturally, he would have been most welcome even without the piano lessons.
My advise to children. Learn to play the piano. It will allow you to someday talk about the happiest moments of your life. We are about to enter an era where beautiful is once more in vogue. Beautiful piano playing will lead the way. I still have a couple openings for piano lessons in Sarasota. Also, I am about to begin my 8th year playing a wonderfully reconditioned Steinway Concert Grand at the famed Gasparilla Inn on the isle of Boca Grande. It probably has the sweetest sound of any piano anywhere. See you there December 20th-April 14. I play 6 nights a week. And yes, Mischa stays with me, in my heart.
Employment and Advancement- Here’s the Rubinoff Method. During the Depression of the 1930’s Rubinoff was making a fortune. “So what?” you ask. He was a violin player. I was fortunate to work with him for some 20 years as his personal arranger and accompanist. Below is a youtube connection of one of his last concerts. Its at Scott’s Oquaga Lake House in Deposit, New York. I’m at the piano. I was the piano player at Scotts for the season. His full stage name was Rubinoff and His Violin. His legal name was David Rubinoff. Rubinoff is featured in one of a series of books entitled What Ever Became Of? I do not remember which book the article is in. In the article, he reputed to have made $500,000.00/year during the ’30’s by playing the violinand by other musical activites.
He received his biggest break not from an agent, but from Rudy Valllee. So who was Rudy Vallee? Rudy Vallée (July 28, 1901 – July 3, 1986) was an American singer, actor, bandleader, and entertainer.
He was one of the first modern pop stars of the teen idol type. In the words of a magazine writer in 1929, “At the microphone he is truly a romantic figure. Faultlessly attired in evening dress, he pours softly into the radio’s delicate ear a stream of mellifluous melody. He appears to be coaxing, pleading and at the same time adoring the invisible one to whom his song is attuned.”
Rudy Vallee Lands Rubinoff Employment with ABC
In his memoirs Rubinoff states that Rudy Vallee often came to hear him play at the Paramount Theater. He greatly admired Rubinoff’s musicianship as a conductor and violinist. At one time Rudy had to turn a job down for the American Broadcasting Company (ABC). He asked Rubinoff if he would like to be on the Chase and Sandborn Hour. Rudy had other contracts to fulfill. Rubinoff stated: ” Rudy Vallee introduced me to thousands of listeners who would never have heard of Rubinoff and His Violin. My fame grew thanks to Rudy.” Go to the front page of DSOworks.com. There is a real Find. Rubinoff and I give a concert. They thumbnail is entitled, Lost Concert is Found. Rubinoff plays at age 86. With this 45 minute concert he thrilled the audience at Scott’s Oquaga Lake House. For business, Rubinoff stressed honesty in expression, immaculate appearance, and hard work. Individuals who loved his playing advanced him over agents. Even Frank Phillips of Phillips petroleum let Rubinoff choose any three paintings he wanted from his New York art museum!
Esterhazys Via Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) formed a more Modern Orchestra. Haydn is known for creating the more full and modern orchestra. The Esterhazys, as patrons, also deserve the credit. Haydn is often referred to as the father of the symphony orchestra. This was only possible because of a family of Austrian patrons, the Esterhazys. Haydn enjoyed a long, fulfilling and and lavish life as a result. Without his patrons, I think he would have died totally unknown. Indeed, the Esterhazys must be considered as co-founders of the classical symphony orchestra.
Nikolaus I, Prince Esterházy (Hungarian: Esterházy I. Miklós, German: Nikolaus I. Joseph Fürst Esterhazy; 18 December 1714 – 28 September 1790) was a Hungarian prince, a member of the famous Esterházy family. Nikolaus did not hire Haydn, but rather “inherited” him from his brother, who had hired him as Vice Kapellmeister in 1761. He was responsible for the promotion of Haydn to full Kapellmeister on the death of the old Kapellmeister, Gregor Werner, in 1766.
Haydn’s wealthy patrons fulfilled his wish to greatly enlarge his group of musicians. Their kindness also attracted the finest virtuoso players of the day. Haydn was overjoyed to write some 80 of his symphonies under the Esterhazy umbrella.
So Why Am I Blogging About the Esterhazys?
Creators of Great Music and Art need patrons. By backing fine artists, patrons will gain greater rememberance than if their names were merely placed on buildings. Names on buildings are often changed with new generations of donors. Patrons of individual artists insure for themselves a well thought of place for perpetuity. The Esterhazys are a case in point. Their kindness lasts and lasts! My wife, Sharon, and I, created 3 full length musicals over 35 years of marriage. Our newest musical, Golden Roads, is about the early life of Golda Meir. Golda was a fabulously great role model for all women. She actually became the prime minister of Israel. This was inspite of tremendous road blocks by many who belittled the role of women in government. With Golden Roads we are finally getting bookings. See Feature Events on DSOworkscom. Our melodies are beautiful. The story of Golda is beautiful. We need help to make this more than a pared down one woman show with piano accompaniment. We feel we have the tools and talent. Now we need the resources. Contact us for an audition or presentation. Hopefully, your kindness will be rewarded by helping us to stage this memorable theater piece. Patrons, we love you. We should all experience the joys that were felt by Golda.