World Fair stimulated Claude Debussy to find his niche as a composer

World Fair Shaped the then Seven-year-old Claude Debussy

World Fair Shaped the then Seven-year-old Claude Debussy. Debussy was born on 22 August 1862 in Saint-Germain-en-LayeSeine-et-Oise, on the north-west fringes of Paris.[4 

In 1889 Paris celebrated the centennial of the French Revolution. They held a “universal exhibition” at the center of Paris. The Eiffel Tower was built for that purpose. The exhibition allowed those who came to sample cultures from Africa and the Far East. They included a Moroccan bazaar, a Chinese pavilion, a Buddhist temple, and even a Senegalese village. A street from Cairo was duplicated. Included was a Congolese settlement of ivory carvers. A Vietnamese theatrical troupe performed.  A Tonkinese village featured silk weavers. The 1889 World fair was the gateway to sounds that many composers had never heard before. Rimsky-Korsakov came from Russia. He was also totally taken by these new sounds.

 

World Fair in Paris in 1889 influenced Debussy as a composer.
Claude Debussy in 1908. He was 46 years of age.

The genius of Claude Debussy is vast and with many … – DSO Works

My own recording of Pagodas by Debussy is on the YouTube presentation immediately below.

Video for YouTube David Ohrenstein playing Pagodas by Debussy▶ 5:44

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vZuPRPRJbgo
Feb 2, 2016 – Uploaded by Lesley & Ohrenstein

Concert Pianist David Ohrenstein plays Pagodas from Estampes by ClaudeDebussy. Filmed at the Glenridge …

 World Fair in Paris was a factor in Debussy’s later composition called Pagodas

 Little Debussy most likely decided then to one day include these sounds in his own compositions. Also, the Oriental music was not written down. It was played on the spot. He wanted his own music to sound spontaneous in a similar fashion- even if wrote it down.  Imitating the novel  sound of the gamelan, he later would compose his piano piece, Pagodas. He loved how the music did away with the melodic and  rhythmic clichés of Romanticism.  I would be happy to play some of Debussy’s exotic music  for you at the Crab and Fin Restaurant on St Armand’s Circle in Sarasota. The link below gives the specifics. Yes, I am available for piano lessons in Sarasota.
Enjoy David now playing at the Crab and Fin Restaurant

Enjoy David Ohrenstein Playing Piano

April 9 @ 12:00 am – December 18 @ 5:30 pm

Enjoy David playing the piano at the Crab and Fin Restaurant. Claire de Lune by Claude Debussy is still a favorite piano classic. So is Scott Joplin’s The Entertainer. David plays outdoors (weather permitting) on an authentic Yamaha console piano.  Have lunch, dinner, or simply a beverage.  “I’d say that overall, it’s a great place to have lunch or dinner if your around Saint Armands or Lido Beach.” in 35 reviews.  David is returning to the Crab and…

Find out more

Violin cases created a sensation

Violin Cases Create a Sensation for Rubinoff

Violin cases created a sensation for Rubinoff. I (blogger David) will be giving a lecture and concert about a composer/conductor/violinist and Hollywood Movie star I worked with. The date is June 2, 2018. It will be at the High School in Circleville ,Ohio. His stage name was Rubinoff and His Violin. He had a talent for being sensational. Even with violin cases.  He made a fortune conducting and playing violin: As much as $500,000.00 annually. Wealth came to him at the peak of the Great Depression. So what made him rich? Two internal links are below will explain his rise to fame. The 1st is about the upcoming Circleville, Ohio festivities that will honor him.  Click on the 2nd for a youtube sample of Rubinoff of how Rubinoff dazzled Hollywood.  His violin wizardry speaks for itself.

Image result for pictures of Rubinoff on DSOworks.comA poor Russian as a youth, he acquired riches and fame through mastery of the  violin.

Commemoration Concert for Rubinoff and His Violin – DSO Works

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

(also click on Rubinoff and His Violin youtube, The Music Shop. You will see the official seal of the Russian empire in diamonds and rubies on the crest of the violin. Dave plays “Flight of the Bumblebee.”)

 violin cases can also hide things other than violins.
A street gang thought Rubinoff’s  older violin case was hiding a machine gun- not a Stradivarius! They carefully avoided us.

Story I –  How Violin Cases Saves Us From Harm

We’d go to a deli for lunch. It was a blustery wintry day. Dave was wearing a godfather coat and hat. He was so preoccupied humming a tune, he didn’t even bother buttoning the coat. This particular violin case was in sad shape. Yet, it held a 2 million dollar Stradivarius. I saw a gang of about 12 young men walking toward us. At that time they were about 1½ blocks away. As soon as they noticed the violin case, the entire gang jay walked across the street to avoid us. Most likely, they thought Rubinoff looked like an old hit man that never got hit.

Story II- The 2nd of the Violin Cases Was an Alligator Skin

Until his last year Dave and I played school assemblies for children in the public schools. One was a performance for a chamber orchestra in the Venice, Fl Public Schools. When we made our entrance, everyone was taken by the alligator violin case. Some children could have cared less about the priceless violin. For them, the case said it all. To relive those days in Circleville is priceless. Buy your tickets now!

Robotic repeats lack tempo rubato

Robotic Repeats Lacking in Tempo Rubato

Robotic Repeats Lacking in Tempo Rubato. First of all, what is tempo rubato? Tempo rubato ([ˈtɛmpo ruˈbaːto]; “free in the presentation”, Italian for “stolen time”). It is a musical term referring to expressive and rhythmic freedom. It is done by slightly speeding up and then slowing down of the tempo of the music. This is totally at the discretion of the soloist or the conductor.

In this context I’ve featured a picture from the movie, Pink Panther. A Princess “Dala” receives a gift from her father.  It is the largest the largest diamond in the world. This huge pink gem has  a tiny discolored inclusion. It resembles a leaping panther. She escaped from her country with the diamond after a hostile takeover. Her country is called Lugash. 

During a costume party at Dala’s villa in Rome, Sir Charles and his nephew separately attempt to steal the diamond. Shockingly, they find it already missing from the safe. In the true Italian sense of the word, we have a series of “rubatos.” Ironically, Henry Mancini’s four-note theme from the Pink Panther, is played in strict tempo. No rubato.

 

Pink panther63.jpg

Robotic Repeats Avoided in Tempo Rubato

Speed and power are the gods of today. This is mostly accomplished under steady tempos. These “gods” were shunned in the past. In defining “rubato”, within the context of the beat, there is much give and take. Mozart and Chopin’s use of rubato added to their fame. Nothing was ever repeated the same way twice in this technique. On a repeat, you were expected to played it differently. Rubato is quite effective in slow, emotional music. It was used in romances, adagios and nocturnes. However, even in the 1600’s Johann Froberger recommended that a lament be played “without a steady beat.” There are other types of music lacking steady beat. My free sample below  of my own Dervish Dance illustrates another genre. Is is excerpted from DSOworks.com That is my website.

King David’s Dance is a Dervish Style Piano Composition

 

Best musical event is coming up this June 2, 2018.

Best Musical Event this Summer, 2018

Best Musical Event for the Summer of 2018 is just around the corner. Tickets are now available. Click on link given below.

Image result for Rubinoff posts on DSOworks.com
This painting, done for David Rubinoff, is entitled “Professional Jealousy”

Why Rubinoff And His Violin “Pops” Concert will be the best musical event

“Rubinoff and his Violin” a name that brings back fond memories for anyone who remembers the golden age of radio. Before Andre Rieu, violinist and conductor David Rubinoff captured the hearts of millions on the air and record crowds of 225,000 at live concerts.

Rubinoff was discovered by Victor Herbert at the Warsaw’s Royal Conservatory in 1911, who brought the prodigy to the US. In 1931 Rubinoff was signed by NBC to join Eddie Cantor on the Chase and Sanborn radio program, where his orchestra included Benny GoodmanTommy Dorsey and Glenn Miller. Inspired by his friend John Philip Sousa, Rubinoff dedicated his life to promoting a love for music in young people, performing at thousands of schools including two concerts in Circleville in 1959 and 1980. A Columbus resident for 15 years, Rubinoff was guest of honor at the Ted Lewis Museum’s opening in 1977.

Now you can experience Rubinoff’s musical memories live for the first time in 80 years, featuring violin virtuoso Steven Greenman and a 28-piece orchestra conducted by Joseph Rubin. Circleville’s own Sarah Julien will be soprano soloist. I, blogger David Ohrenstein, will accompany Steven Greenman.  Students are admitted for free. Yes, beautiful music coming back.

Hear your favorite songs of the 1930s: Smoke Gets In Your EyesCheek To CheekDancing in the DarkSt. Louis Blues and much more, all in Rubinoff’s original arrangements saved from destruction by “The Ambassador of the American Songbook,” Michael Feinstein.

PRE-SHOW LECTURE AT 6:15 PM

David Ohrenstein, Rubinoff’s accompanist for 15 years, will share Rubinoff’s fascinating history. He learned first hand of his friendships such musical icons as Victor Herbert, John Philip Sousa, Irving Berlin and Enrico Caruso.

SATURDAY, JUNE 2, 2018
AT 7 PM

CIRCLEVILLE HIGH SCHOOL AUDITORIUM
3810 CLARK DRIVE
CIRCLEVILLE, OH 43113

TICKETS $15 ADULTS
FREE STUDENTS & CHILDREN

best musical event
Changing Musical Focus inspired by Jeorge Bolet

Changing Musical Focus is About What’s Coming

Changing Musical Focus is About What’s Coming. Musical styles have come in set periods of time. For success, go with the flow. Why? In the sage words of Henry David Thoreau:

” I have yet to hear the first syllable of valuable or even earnest advice from my seniors. They have told me nothing, and probably cannot tell me anything to the purpose.”  Or as he also states in Walden, “Old deeds for old people, and new deeds for new.”

Carve your own path. This is what pianist Jeorge Bolet did. Jorge Bolet (November 15, 1914 – October 16, 1990) was a Cuban-born American virtuoso pianist and teacher. Among his teachers were Leopold Godowsky, and Moriz Rosenthal.  Roenthal was a pupil of Franz Liszt.[1]Bolet was born in Havana.   He studied at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia.

Consider this reference found in David Dubal’s book. It is entitled Reflections from the Keyboard.  In Bolet’s words: “Today’s audiences go to the concert hall, to hear Beethoven, Schubert and Brahms…” Then Bolet goes on to state that  the last generation “went to hear what the pianist had to say about the composer.” Thus, we not only idolized the composer, we did the same for the pianist.

I was fortunate that my own piano teacher, Mischa Kottler belonged to the same vintage.  He studied with Alfred Cortot and Emil von Sauer. The old school of pianists were not only musicians. They were also magicians. They would take you on a  “magic carpet ride” with their piano playing.

Related image
Myself, blogger David, in concert in New York with Rubinoff and His Violin

 

Changing Musical Focus and Back to the Old School

Mischa Kottler- A Visit By the Legendary Piano Instructor – DSO Works

To see what the old school was all about, click on this internal link. Mischa plays Chopin’s Minute Waltz in doubled notes. Everywhere, audiences went wild at this feat. The link also documents and describes his visit at age 92 to our family. Thanks to Mischa. and other great men I worked with, including Rubinoff and His Violin,  my own career as pianist/composer only now starting to reach a pinnacle. Check on events on DSOworks.com.

Minute Waltz (Mischa Kottler Version) – YouTube

Video for mISCHA kOTTLER PLAYS cHOPINS MINUTE WALTZ

In conclusion. Jeorge Bolet comments how today many are not interested in the musician. He states that he had often gone to all Beethoven concerts. Many pianists had been quite dull. Yet the audience applauded wildly. He states:  “In a sense, the audience is applauding for itself being there.” I believe that those days are about to go, bye-bye.

 

Operatic Broadway

Operatic Broadway – Blurring the Lines Has Precedent

Operatic Broadway – Blurring the Lines Has Precedent.  A number of modern musicals cross over into operatic territory. Opera is an art form in which singers and musicians perform a dramatic work. It  combines text (libretto) and musical score.  Opera usiually has usually in a theatrical setting.[1] Singers do two types of singing: recitative, a speech-inflected style[2] . The second are arias, a more melodic style. Opera incorporates many of the elements of spoken theatre, such as actingscenery, and costumes and sometimes includes dance. Traditionally, it is sung all the way through. Musical theater, on the other hand has featured songs. However, most of its book is spoken. Recently there has been more and more cross over between opera and musical theater. They include Rent, Les Mis and The Phantom of the Opera. 

The Atlanta Opera Lucia di Lammermoor finale

Blurring Musical Vocal Boundaries Has a Romantic Precedent

The oratorio dates back to the 1500’s. It reached a climax under hand of Handel. The Romantic movement of the 19th century revived his ideals. Like Handel, with the Romantic composers, half were written in a Biblical or religious vein. The other half was secular or historical. There was only one difference: Handle’s historical oratorios were limited to either classical Greek or ancient. Handel examples include Hercules, Semele, “Alexander’s Feast”, or Alceste. Romantic oratorios had a broader scope. Instrumental works took on more significance. Here are a couple of examples:

  • Berlioz’s Romeo and Juliet is somewhere between a symphony and a cantata.
  •   The Damnation of FaustOp. 24 is a work for four solo voices, full seven-part chorus, large children’s chorus and orchestra[1] by the French composer Hector Berlioz. He called it a “légende dramatique” (dramatic legend). It was first performed at the Opéra-Comique in Paris on 6 December 1846. It has been seen as a symphony, oratorio or opera.

Operatic Broadway is Simply Following in this Precedent of Mixed Tradition

Octavian and Cleopatra: a 2 Act Opera in English – DSO Works

I, blogger David, have been the composer of three such works, My book-writer lyricist has been my wife Sharon Lesley Ohrenstein.  Check out the internal link above for some quite exciting live examples. Sharon plays Cleopatra.  Contact us on DSOworks@gmail.com if you are interested in our up and coming works. We need a new sound for the new times we are entering. This translates into meaningful income.

Lesley and Ohrenstein’s “Octavian & Cleopatra” – YouTube

The youtube example below sets up our Operatic Broadway show.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bhGHHXuBr8Q
Dec 12, 2007 – Uploaded by Rudder3218

“Octavian & Cleopatra” Imagine an operatic work that pours out incredible melodies, mesmerizes …

Musical Tradition is Heard at the Gasparilla Inn

Musical Tradition Embraces Architectural Style

Musical Tradition Embraces Architectural Style. Obviously, Elvis is the star in the featured picture. Now, who is playing the Steinway concert grand in the beautiful setting below? That’s your blogger, David. So what does one have to do with the other? It’s the music that I’m playing. Basically, I love the style and taste of Elvis.

Here’s a story: One of my most popular piano arrangements, Aura Lea: Theme and Variations for piano, was composed in Toronto, Ontario.   No matter where I play it – on the concert stage, for a private party or during the dinner hour – it always receives grand applause and some rather sizable tips.  The arrangement is heart rendering;  bringing back pleasant memories.  One variation combines the theme with “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf”; bringing two great American songs together.  And, by the way, this composition has many showy virtuoso passages. Yes, choosing this number, Elvis proved once more that he was king.

How Musical Tradition Embraces Architectural Style

Gasparilla Inn Historic District is located in Florida

Gasparilla Inn Historic District

LocationBoca GrandeFloridaUSA
Coordinates26°45′8″N 82°15′39″WCoordinates26°45′8″N 82°15′39″W
NRHP reference #08000205[1]
Added to NRHPMarch 18, 2008[1]

Gasparilla Inn Historic District is a historic district at 500 Palm Avenue in Boca GrandeFloridaUnited States. On March 18, 2008, it was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.[1]

Now for musical tradition, Aura Lea is one of the most beloved American songs and is arguably as popular as Amazing Grace.  Our generation heard it with the words that Elvis sang as Love Me Tender.  The melody has graced America over the last two centuries.  The music was written by W.W. Fosdick and words by George R. Poulton during the Civil War in 1861.  The sheet music cover is the original Confederate version, dated 1864. The 1st internal link me playing in New York’s Catskill Mountains.

Aura Lea: Theme and Variations for piano – DSO Works

It was at Scott’s Oquaga Lake House a few years back.  However,their piano was “so, so.” Below is the link just recorded with me at the Inn. The difference in pianos is quite noticeable.  It was videoed live and less than week ago, and just posted. Keep checking DSOworks.com for more and more upcoming events. Elvis understood the public pulse.

Live at the Gasparilla Inn!

Posted by DSO Works on Saturday, February 3, 2018

Schubert Contrasts Beethoven

Schubert Contrasts Beethoven as Freedom v. Structure

Schubert Contrasts Beethoven as Freedom v. Structure. Most agree that Beethoven was the link between the Romantic and the Classical periods of music. Schubert’s life overlaps Beethoven’s. Schubert life was much shorter. January 1797 – 19 November 1828), He was an Austrian composer. Schubert died at age 31. But he was extremely prolific during his lifetime. His output consists of:

Ludwig von Beethoven  was baptized 17 December 1770[1] – 26 March 1827. He outlived Schubert by some 26 years. Schubert was born when Beethoven was 27 years of age. However Franz Schubert picked up the Romantic ball of composition and pushed it further. Classical music most often had significant development sections in a sonata, or symphony.  Here the parts or pieces of a theme were developed to show off the composer’s ingenuity. Schubert’s themes resist “development. Most are complete in themselves. Alfred Einstein discusses also this topic in his Music in the Romantic Era.  To quote him about Schubert: ” His themes have felicity in themselves. They resist dissection: development.”

Schubert Contrasts Beethoven
Beethoven lit the torch of Romanticism. Schubert ran with it.

Beethoven Archives – DSO Works

To read more about my thoughts on Beethoven, click on this internal link above.

How Schubert Contrasts Beethoven with the “Development” of his Themes

With Beethoven, any “side-stepping” keeps the theme in mind. His “digressions” are parallel paths to the theme. Schubert, in contrast,  becomes involved in the mist of a beautiful melodic journey. Development is often not called for. To him it seems too intellectual.

Romanticism’s span was approximately from 1800 – 1850.   It elevated folk art and ancient custom to something noble. Spontaneity became a desirable characteristic (as in the musical impromptu). Some of Schubert’s great creativity is to be found in with his Impromptus.  In contrast to the Rationalism and Classicism of the Enlightenment, Romanticism revived medievalism[7] . Elements of art and narrative perceived as authentically medieval. This was an attempt to escape population growth, early urban sprawl, and industrialism.

Image result for Pictures of paintings from the Romantic era
A romantic painting of someone cutting loose.

We Need a Return to Romanticism

We need the return of beautiful song once more. “Composing” today is created by formula. Many songs of today use only three harmonies. The three harmonies always appear in the same order. Their melody is about as limited as their harmony to three tones.  Here is the point: When you feel constricted by difficult times, you need to “cut loose.” Singing or performing constricted music can make you feel even more hemmed-in. Our current composers need the style of the “beautiful melodic journey” of Schubert.

 

 

 

Sunken Cathedral Legend Parallels the Story of Atlantis

Sunken Cathedral Legend Parallels the Story of Atlantis Some stories and legends just refuse to go away. One is the story of the Sunken Cathedral. The other is the story of Atlantis. I find the following parallel you are about to read is quite remarkable: Fans of both the Sunken Cathedral and  Atlantis keep waiting for either or perhaps both  to rise from the depths of the Atlantic. The sunken cathedral inspired many composers and artists. Monet made the painting below of the Rouen Catherdral. It could well have inspired Claude Debussy to compose his prelude entitled  La Cathedrale engloutie.

FIRST, THE SUNKEN CATHEDRAL

 Sunken Cathedral image painted by Monet
Here is a strong parallel to the Atlantis story is the Sunken Cathedral

The cathedral of Ys rests on the mythical city-island of Ys, located by Brittany in France (also spelled Keris).  It daily rises from the ocean. Debussy’s music conveys the sounds that issue forth from the cathedral including bells chiming, priests chanting and its full-sized organ. The opening suggests church bells ringing in the distance and the clerics singing medieval chant. The middle section imitates the action of waves crashing on the cathedral. The story goes that the island was sunk by the Devil due to the rampant impiety on the island.  For this expression in music, Debussy includes a featured place for the interval of the augmented fourth. This interval was called by the church the diabolis in music (the devil in music).

Atlantis also Fell Out of Favor with the Dieties

Atlantis (Ancient GreekἈτλαντὶς νῆσος, “island of Atlas“) is a fictional island mentioned within an allegory on the hubris of nations in Plato‘s works Timaeus and Critias.  It represents the antagonist naval power that besieges “Ancient Athens”. Athens was the pseudo-historic embodiment of Plato’s ideal state (see The Republic). In the story, Athens repels the Atlantean attack unlike any other nation of the (western) known world,[1]  It gives testament to the superiority of Plato’s concept of a state.[2][3] The story concludes with Atlantis falling out of favor with the deities and submerging into the Atlantic Ocean.

Image result for Picture of Claude Monet
Painting of Claude Monet by Pierre Auguste Renoir, ‘Portrait of Claude Monet’, Musée d’Orsay, Paris
© RMN (Musée d’Orsay) / Jean-Gilles Berizzi
The Sunken Catherdral Archives – DSO Works  (I discuss my upcoming recording of  one hour of the music of Claude Debussyon this internal link).

Finally come to the Gasparilla Inn and I will play the Debussy Prelude for you. I play there 6 nights weekly on the isle of Boca Grande.

 

 

Unsung romantic hero was, in a way J.S. Bach. Read how.

Unsung Romantic Music Hero is Bella Salomon

Unsung Romantic Music Hero is Bella Salomon. The 1st question you are probably asking is:  Who was Bella Salomon?  Answer: Felix Mendelssohn’s maternal grandmother. The second question is, what did she do for her grandson? In 1823 (or possibly 1824), she presented her grandson with a gift. It was to alter the course of his life. Also, it was to alter the course of musical history.  The gift was a copyist’s manuscript score of J.S. Bach’s St. Matthew Passion.  She recognized  the Passion was one of the most deeply spiritual works ever written. It was almost unknown during the time of Mendelssohn.  She had it copied by Eduard Rietz for her grandson.  Felix struggled with this special project  for 4 or 5 years. Finally, his dream was realized: He rehearsed and conducted the Passion at the Singakademie on March 11, 1829.

Unsung romantic music hero for Felix Mendelssohn was Bella Salomon
Felix Mendelssohn was assisted by his maternal grandmother

Portrait of Mendelssohn by the English miniaturist James Warren Childe, 1839.

Unsung Romantic Music Hero, Bella Saloman, to the Rescue

The romantic era revived counterpoint. One era contrasts another. Melody with accompaniment mostly characterized the rococo period and the classical eras.  Mendelssohn brought counterpoint to the Romantic era. Because of him, it became a key element. But, we have cause and effect. Had Felix Mendelssohn’s maternal grandmother, the unsung romantic music hero, not given him the copy of the St. Matthew Passion, Felix could not have made it known. Later Brahms was to embraced counterpoint’s use with melody. With this in mind, my the internal link contrasts Brahms and Wagner.

 

 

The Wedding March – Felix Mendelssohn – YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RcyhxC-pSaQ
Aug 18, 2017 – Uploaded by Dso Works

In the above youtube, has me playing Mendelssohn’s Wedding March. I have been called Sarasota’s Wedding Pianist.  On Dec. 20, 2017 will begin playing the piano at the Gasparilla Inn. It is pictured below: Christmas through Easter, six nights weekly. The 1924 Steinway Grand as just been refurbished.