Illness costs Chopin

Illness Costs Chopin and His Companion, George Sand.

Illness Costs Chopin and His Companion, George Sand.  Lives of the great composers of the past are often presented in the most impersonal way possible. You read about the composer, what he wrote and when he wrote it. You take for granted the fact that he may have lived his life in abject poverty. Illness, especially seems to be an ignored issue that is of little consequence in music history classes or in colleges and conservatories.

How Illness Costs Chopin and His Companion, George Sand

First who was George Sand? Surprise, not a man! She was more renowned than both Victor Hugo and Honoré de Balzac in England in the 1830s and 1840s.[5] Sand achieved recognition as one of the most notable writers of the European Romantic era. She chose to wear male attire in public; as Police had issued an order requiring women to have a permit in order to wear male clothing. Finally, George Sand encouraged the arts in an unusual manner. She would become the lover of certain great male artists to inspire their  creativity. Chopin was a primary example, along with Liszt. 

George Sand.PNG
Portrait of George Sand by Auguste Charpentier (1838)

An Unforgettable Chopin Story

Tad Szulc presented the following story in his book, Chopin in ParisGeorge Sand and Chopin travelled to Barcelona, Spain. Chopin had tuberculosis and hopefully sunny Spain would help alleviate his condition.  George Sand wrote the following:

“when we left the hotel in Barcelona, the manager wished to make us pay for the bed in which Chopin had slept, under the pretext that it had been infected. Police regulations obliged him to burn it.” The incredible creative duo had to pay for the bed in full!

This gives life to the expression ” adding insult to injury.” Most people think of Chopin as a composer without thinking about who he was and under the conditions of how he had to live.  I think this story makes his life quite tangible and invites sympathy. Finally, I think all should do their best to help struggling artists, actors  and composers; or else, our culture could disappear. 

My wife andI with guest artists are presenting a 90 live concert live concert broadcast internationally Nov 8 link below. Household tickets only $10.00. Selections from our 3 musicals will be featured with popular Broadway selections.  Question and answer session in the last 15 minutes. 

 

PATRA – Sung Through Musical

The last days of Cleopatra are filled with daring, intrigue, and love possibilities. When the villainous Octavian lands in Egypt to assert his victory over Antony and Cleopatra, Patra will do most anything to save her children and herself. She disguises herself as a hag; foretells Octavian’s future; takes a drug to commune with the dead; seduces Centurion Marcellus whom her drugged mind thinks is Antony; meets with Octavian; and initiates an encounter with a cobra. When Octavian tries to take advantage of her, she sings of love. Octavian exits without a word. He has fallen in love but tragically does nothing. The love-struck Marcellus offers her a way to escape. Yes, she dies but not how you think.  Her death changes Octavian from lead to gold as he vows to become the man she would have loved the most.

 

 

isolation

Isolation is the Norm for Creative Artists

Isolation is the Norm for Creative Artists. I think all parents would like to see our children with an intense passion and dedication to the arts.  This picture implies that the young lad, actually built his own violin. Notice the saw leaning against the table.  Who was David Rubinoff? He dreams about being as skilled as Rubinoff and His Violin.

Who was Rubinoff and His Violin?

Isolation
Dave spent a lifetime entertaining children and adolescents thanks to a life time grant from the U.S. state department through the efforts of his close friend, the march king, John Philip Sousa. On occasions I toured with him at numerous public schools.

David Rubinoff made a fortune in the 1930’s because of his love of music. He rose from the most humble beginnings in Kiev to incredible stature in America. An example being playing for 225,000 people at Grant Park in Chicago while conducting the Chicago Philharmonic Orchestra. He told me, they turned away another 25,000 at the door. I was his arranger and accompanist for fifteen years. Jimmy Petrillo, head of the musicians union in Chicago, gave him a diamond and ruby medal commemorating this event. 

Isolation is the Norm

Raising ones level in performance takes countless hours of practice in solitude; or, in some cases, with a small dedicated, ensemble. Music has quite a bonus: It is one of the few professions you can improve on with age. Even during the current pandemic, opportunities come a-knocking. My wife, a fabulous singer and I were just asked to do an hour and fifteen minute concert which will be broadcast live around the world. We will also feature some excerpts from shows we jointly wrote. Scheduled date is November, 8, 2020. Details will shorly be posted. 

dso works - Featuring All Original Music, Shows, and More
Our website. DSOworks.com is anything but dull, even in this day and age.

Internal Link: Happy Halloween from the Oquaga Spirit

External link: Common Time is Anything but Common

The external link is my (David’s) other website.

common time

Common Time is Anything but Common

Common Time is Anything but Common. The time signature (also known as meter signature,[1][2] or measure signature)[3] is a notational convention used in Western musical notation.   Time signatures specify:

  • How many beats (pulses) are contained in each measure (bar). 
  • Which note value is equivalent to a beat.
  • The common signature (C) is an abbreviation of 4/4 meter. 

Yet, when written for piano, which has a bass staff as well as treble, something unusual happens. 

You see 4/4 for the treble staff; then you see 4 /4 for the bass staff (or common time for each staff). Subliminally that becomes four sets of four. What does that infer? Music draws on the 4 x 4 number square of Jupiter pictured below. The perimeter of numbers around the central four has four numbers in each direction of the compass. 

Common Time Becomes Four Sets of Four 

Where in antiquity do we find four sets of four?  In the “magic square of Jupiter”. Jupiter, in astrology, is the bearer of good things as success in business and abundance. 

common time
Music has the ability to cure, expand ones viewpoint and create financial success. 4 x 4 explains this.

Here is an ancient picture of the 4 x 4 number square. Note that four numbers are located on each side of the number square. Common time, as written for piano can be expressed by four fours: 4/4 and 4/4. At the center are four numbers: 7, 10, 6 and 11. The core of four creates the totality of of this magic square in a most special way:

  • Cross multiply the central numbers: (6 x 11) + (7 x 10) = 136 
  • Next, add all the numbers in the number square from one to sixteen. They also total 136. 
  • Now for a peek at a future post: add 136 to 136. The sum is 272. That probably is the most important number of all ancient civilizations! Plato refers to it as the grand number of harmony in antiquity.  Revival of this knowledge is also a goal of Revivingantiquity.com

 

 

 

Entertaining Eleanor Roosevelt

Entertaining Eleanor Roosevelt at Carnegie Hall

Entertaining Eleanor Roosevelt at Carnegie Hall has quite a happy and unusual twist for Rubinoff. Why am I writing this? I was Rubinoff’s arranger and accompanist for some 15 years. Dave’s life’s story is largely untold and it simply was incredibly exciting. When we went on our lunch breaks, which were always short due to the importance of the music, I heard the most fantastic stories. Some of these stories made it into his autobiography, The Dance of the Russian Peasant. 

Anna Eleanor Roosevelt (/ˈɛlɪnɔːr ˈrzəvɛlt/; October 11, 1884 – November 7, 1962) was an American political figure, diplomat and activist.[5] She served as the First Lady of the United States from March 4, 1933, to April 12, 1945. Her husband President Franklin D. Roosevelt‘s had four terms in office. Consequently, this made her the longest-serving First Lady of the United States.[5] She served as United States Delegate to the United Nations General Assembly from 1945 to 1952.[6][7]

Eleanor Roosevelt portrait 1933.jpg

President Harry S. Truman later called her the “First Lady of the World” in tribute to her human rights achievements.[8] 

Entertaining Eleanor Roosevelt at Carnegie Hall had Unexpected Consequences for Dave

Dave gave a concert at Carnegie Hall attended by Eleanor Rossevelt, two generals and secret service. Eleanor said to Dave, ” You were inspiring, as always. I want you to meet Richard Addinsell from England.” Immediately Rubinoff told the great British composer how much he admired his Warsaw Concerto and wanted to play it on the violin. Addinsell said it was written for piano. Rubinoff told him he would be happy to help him make an arrangement for violin.  Dave said it would be a great honor if  he could actually help him make the violin arrangement. As a result, Dave and Richard are busy conferring on the project in the featured picture.

Love Note Written by Darlene Changed Rubinoff’s Life

 

Warsaw Concerto - Theme

Start Over Again

Start Over Again Rubinoff Discusses the Great Depression

Start Over Again Rubinoff Discusses the Great Depression. Monopoly can be an allegory for life. Every time you pass “Go”, you start over again. The thing is to just keep on going! Yes, the roll of a dice can bring hardship and calamity. You can loose a ton of money when another player has hotels on Boardwalk or Parkway. Just keep on playing the game. Perhaps there is a chance? Now who was are Rubinoff?

  • Rubinoff and His Violin was a conductor violinist that I worked with for 15 years.
start over again
Rubinoff apprenticed with Victor Herbert and then with John Phillip Sousa. Sousa set Dave up with the U.S. State Department and from this connection, Rubinoff brought music to children throughout the country for almost the nest 60 years
 

Below is the Start Over Context of Famed Violinist, Rubinoff and His Violin

start over again
Dave bought his violin at the Wurlitzer auction in 1929 for $100,000.00. Now it it’s for sale and worth millions. I was his accompanist and arranger for 15 years.

Rubinoff did the start over thing. He left Russia under the wing of Victor Herbert, becoming his protege. Dave and his entire family had  lived in abject poverty and with anti–Jewish sentiment while in Russia and Poland.  He rose through his own efforts; from selling newspapers on a street corner  to conducting and working orchestras for both the Paramount Theater in Brooklyn  and Pictures in Hollywood. He lead the Chicago Symphony in a concert attended by 225,000 people in 1937. They turned away 25,000 at the door. Among many accomplishments, he played for 5 American Presidents. Talking about the hardships of the Great Depression Dave says in his autobiography: “I guessed the ones who were committing suicide hadn’t learned to throw ace-duce and start over again.”

Internal link:

Rubinoff Friendship with Will Rogers and His Special Poem
Extenal link is from our other website, Reviving Antiquity.com    Musical Building by Tones of the Old Scale
entertainer friendships

Entertainer Friendships Can Make Careers Skyrocket

Entertainer Friendships Can Make Careers Skyrocket.

Entertainer friendships
Rudy gave Dave Rubinoff his start in the newly created medium of mass media.

Rudy Vallee (July 28, 1901 – July 3, 1986) was a popular American singer, actor, bandleader, and entertainer. Born Hubert Prior Vallée in Island Pond, Vermont, he grew up in Westbrook, Maine. In high school he took up the saxophone and acquired the nickname.  “Rudy” was the name given after famous saxophonist Rudy Weidoeft. Vallee became the most prominent and arguably the first of a new style of popular singer, the “crooner”. Previously, popular singers both needed and had strong projecting voices to fill theaters.  Such were the voices neededin the days before the microphone.  New style crooners had soft voices that were well suited to the intimacy of the new medium of radio.

Entertainer Friendships

Vallee came often to play at the Paramount. Rubinoff told me about Rudy admired his playing and conducting of his overtures. Vallee was a sensation at that time with the college crowd. Everyone loved his Whiffin’ Poof Song. What is Whiffin’Poof? The Yale Whiffenpoofs is a collegiate a cappella singing group established at Yale University in 1909.  It is the oldest such group in the United States. The line-up is completely replaced each year: Rising seniors comprise its members. They often take a year leave of absence from the university to tour the United States and internationally. Former members included Cole Porter & Jonathan Coulton!

"The Whiffenpoof Song" (Rudy Vallee, 1927)
► 3:14

“The Whiffenpoof Song” (Rudy Vallee, 1927) – YouTube 

 

 

Dave often talked with me about how they ate, drank and signed autographs together. Also about how they enjoyed each others company and respected each other’s art.  Comically, Rubinoff admired how Vallee spoke perfect English with impeccable diction. Dave, by comparison, was often unhappy about how he spoke with a heavy Russian accent.  Rudy would then assure him not to worry because his violin would speak for him. Rudy guided Dave to his first job on the Chase and Sanborn radio hour. The rest is history. 

internal link: Rubinoff Friendship with Will Rogers and His Special Poem

two greatest pianists

Two Greatest Pianists Differed in Style

Two Greatest Pianists Differed in Style. How different can pianists be and still be on a par? This question is inspired inspired a quote from a quote:

  • Henry Pleasants. a music critic from Philadelphia once asked Rachmaninoff: Who are the greatest of the living pianists.
  • Harold Schonberg, music critic for the NY Times  quotes Pleasants quoting Rachmaninoff in his own book, The Virtuosi: Classical Music’s Great Performers from Paganini to Pavarotti

The story goes: Rachmaninoff thought a bit. “Well, he said, there’s Hofmann…”and he thought a little bit more, …”and there’s me.”  Rachmaninoff did not say another word, as the story goes. The fame of Rachmaninoff as eclipsed that of Hofmann, but it is still worth looking into Hofmann’s  background and accomplishments: 

two greatest pianists
Hofmann seated at the piano in 1916

The Second of the Two Greatest Pianists

Josef Hofmann - Wikiwand
Josef Hofmann at Carnegie Hall

Josef Hofmann was born in Podgórze (a district of Kraków), in Austro-Hungarian Galicia (present-day Poland) in 1876. His father was the composer, conductor and pianist Kazimierz Hofmann, His mother the singer Matylda Pindelska. As a composer, Hofmann published over one hundred works,  under the pseudonym Michel Dvorsky.  Included two piano concertos and ballet music. In 1946, he gave his last recital at Carnegie Hall,  He made 151 appearances at Carnegie.  Retirement to private life in took place in 1948.

How Did the Two Greatest Pianists Differ?

 

 

Physically (1) Hoffman was short. Rachmaninoff was tall.  Hofmann was loquacious talking fluently, readily, and incessantly. Rachmaninoff  severe, stern, or gloomy in manner.  His appearance was stern and he wasted no words. Hofmann color his music; while Rachmaninoff projected strength, structure and form. Advance planning marked the music of Rachmaninoff. Spontaneity marked Hofmann’s style.

Conclusion

What I find amazing is that Rachmaninoff, as the story goes, (1) Mentions Hoffman before he mentions himself. (2)  He idolizes a polar opposite.  (3) Then again, the mind of a genius is not easy to understand. My main teacher was primarily Mischa Kottler. Rachmaninoff, in the 1920’s gave Mischa a recommendation to study in Paris with Cortôt.  Mischa then went and studied with Emil von Sauer.  Enjoy this youtube recording of Mischa playing the Minute Waltz.

Dec 28, 2013 – Uploaded by Joseph Beels

Chopin’s Minute Waltz, with a twist …

Happiest Unplanned Moment of My Life and Mischa Kottler – DSOWORKS

music offers strength

Music Offers Strength in Rubinoff’s Older Age

Music offers Strength at Scott's
Darlene and Dave Rubinoff stayed on the 1st floor  on the right end “Green Gables”. Sharon and I spent many summers on the 2nd floor at the left end. After our concerts we put up a sign that read: “Rubinoff slept here!”. Hurrah for Scott’s at the Catskills!

Music Offers Strength in Rubinoff’s Older Age. Scott’s Oquaga Lake House was founded in 1869. This was about thirty years before Dave Rubinoff, the master violinist,  was born, in 1897. How did Rubinoff come to play here? I, David Ohrenstein, was the House piano player here for some 15 years. Doris and Ray Scott took wife Sharon and I in with our three children to enjoy the summers at this historical American resort. Of course professionally,  I was the “House” piano player. When we first started going there we only had Abe and Kathryn. Our youngest, Daniel was yet to be born. 

Doug & Eamonn Debut at Scott’s Oquaga Lake House. The Marvelous Ms. Maisel sits  in a canoe on Oquaga Lake in front of Scott’s Playhouse where Rubinoff and I performed one of his last concerts. Listen to this incredibly rare concert on the youtube connection below.

Music Offers Strength to Rubinoff at Scott’s

I quote from Darlene Rubinoff’s book, Dance of the Russian Peasant: “Oquaga Lake was beautiful and there was so much to do that summer. We had two of our four grand children…Aaron still remembers that summer vacation. On his return to his new school year he wrote an essay about it. It earned him an A+. Indeed, it was an A+ summer!”

We have my daughter to thank for this video. The video was taken and then lost. When it was finally found, daughter Kathryn took on the incredibly difficult job of posting it.  This 1984 video offers a complete course in American musical history.  Hear all about Victor Herbert John Philip Sousa, Caruso, Paderewski and many American Presidents. .

Internal link:                                Cotton Club Rendezvous in the 1930’s

unlikely friendship

Unlikely Friendship Between Rubinoff and Rudy Vallee

Unlikely Friendship Between Rubinoff and Rudy Vallee.  Vallee set show business ablaze. Hubert Prior “Rudy” Vallée (July 28, 1901 – July 3, 1986) was an American singer, actor, and radio host. Teens loved him. After playing drums in his high school band.  Vallée played clarinet and saxophone as a teenager. From 1924 through 1925, he played with the Savoy Havana Band at the Savoy Hotel in London.  He returned to the United States, briefly attending the University of Maine. Vallee received a degree in philosophy from Yale University.   At Yale he played with Peter Arno.  in a jazz band called the Yale Collegians.

 

Unlikely friendship
Rudy Vallee and Rubinoff and His Violin formed a friendship even though their backgrounds were so different.

David Rubinoff talks about their totally different background.  His autobiography was dictated by him to his wife, Darlene: Dance of the Russian Peasant. The title says it all: Rubinoff was from a small impoverished town in Russia.   Dave’s speech was colored by his Russian accent.  Vallée was highly educated and from an elite background. Yet, at one time, Dave and Rudi shared a great friendship,

A painting of Dave Rubinoff listening to his muse on his book cover.

Unlikely Friendship Quoted from Darlene’s Writings

Darlene Azar Rubinoff quotes David the book “Rudy was a Yale man and I admired his perfect English and diction immensely. I wished I had his command of the English language. Opposites attract and he laughed good-naturedly at my broad Russian accent. Rudy corrected my English many times, but told me not to worry because my violin spoke for me.”

Rudy recommended Rubinoff  to perform on a radio spot for the American Broadcasting Company. At time Rudy had to many previous engagements to take the job.  As a result, Dave got his big start on the  Chase and Sandborn Hour. 

Good timing and knowing the right people are key to advancing a career!

 

continuous musical practice

Continuous Musical Practice by Rubinoff and His Violin

Continuous Musical Practice by Rubinoff and His Violin. Yes, Dave played and conducted at the Paramount Theater and for Paramount pictures. His fame covered the country from New York to Hollywood. Rubinoff was a guest conductor of the Chicago Philharmonic. Dave featured his artistry weekly on the Ed Cantor radio hour. Yet, he always made time for children in schools. 

I Witnessed Dave’s Continuous Musical Practice

I (David Ohrenstein) worked as his accompanist and arranger for many years. My work took place at the Leland House in downtown Detroit. After he married Darlene Azar, we worked together in Hilliard Ohio and later in Houston Texas. Dave seemed to like my musical ideas. Also, my temperament is easy going. So what characterized Dave’s practicing? 

Continual musical practice
Dave always held his Stradivarius violin in front of him like a valued trophy. This was his object of continuous musical practice. A younger me is standing next to this great master.

Except for eating, he almost never stopped playing his violin. When he watched TV, his violin was in his hand. Over and over, he worked tricky passages. When his wife or a chauffeur drove us to a concert, he’d run scales in the back seat on his violin. We worked a five day day making musical arrangements. Trial and error for arrangements and practice for proper technique were always there.  

Bringing the house down at Carnegie Hall; yet he’d always play for children in schools.

Here’s What Dave Had to Say About Being Diverted from Practice

I quote this story from Dave autobiography written with his last wife, Darlene. His book is entitled Dance of the Russian Peasant. “Back in Hollywood, Cary Grant, Victor Mature, Rudy Vallee…talked me into going deep sea fishing on someone’s yacht…To me it was a waste of time; I could have been practicing. Music was my life. I lived for music.” My own relevant story was the day a said to Dave, “Music has been good to you.” Dave immediately and sharply replied; “Why, that’s because I’ve been good to music!”

Enjoy these internal Rubinoff links for stories like you’ve never heard: