Romantic Composer Comradery

Romantic Composer Comrades were Common

Romantic Composer Comrades were Common. Musical composers are the avant-guard of civilization.  Avant-guard defines a group of artists, musicians, or writers working with new and experimental ideas and methods. Without composer comrades, it is doubtful that we would ever know who Franz Schubert was. Composers are vital to a civilization. Yet, they are like babies. They need help. Such was the case with Franz Schubert. He only lived to age 31.  Franz Peter Schubert  was an Austrian composer of the late Classical and early Romantic eras. Despite his short lifetime, Schubert left behind  more than 600 secular vocal works (mainly Lieder), seven complete symphoniessacred musicoperasincidental music and a large body of piano and chamber music.

Obviously, the painter was a great friend and admirer of Franz Schubert.

Oil painting of Franz Schubert by Wilhelm August Rieder (1875), made from his own 1825 watercolor portrait.

signature written in ink in a flowing script
His last symphony, “The Great,” was never performed in his lifetime. He received payment for it from the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in 1828. However, they ended up performing an easier symphony by Schubert, , No 6. The “Great” remained in the truck of his brother, Ferdinand Schubert. His Romantic composer comrades included Robert Schumann. Scumann went searching for it. He discovered it in Ferdinand’s trunk in his attic.
Fortunately, Felix Mendelssohn, counted among Schubert’s Romantic composer comrades,  was in a position to make the “Great” come to life. He was the director of the Gewandhaus Concerts in Leipzig, Germany. The story goes it was difficult to perform even for his orchestra. To make it more palatable, Mendelssohn omitted the repeats in the symphony that were indicated by Schubert. Here is another story of Schubert’s almost lost and forgotten music:

THE CLIFF HANGER QUEST OF GILBERT AND SULLIVAN to save Schubert’s Music

Gilbert and Sullivan had heard of Schubert’s Rosamunde. The manuscript was not to be found.  On a whim, they traveled to Germany to find the music. There, they caught wind of a Doctor Snyder who may have been in possession of the score. The rest of the story reads like a cliff hanger. When they arrived at his home, Dr. Snyder told them he had had a number of Schubert’s  manuscripts in his attic. Unfortunately, he had already placed them in the trash bin. The operetta duo ran to the refuse container. There, they not only discovered the score to Rosamunde, but numerous other symphonic works by Schubert. The rest of the story goes, they were so excited at the find, that they played leap frog with each other to celebrate the find.

This team did so much for our culture
Gilbert and Sullivan saved another work of Schubert’s.

Without the arts, life seems shorter and  even brutish.  We must support  creators of the fine arts who supply the musicians in the concert hall with new music. After all, there might not be a team like Robert Schumann, Felix Mendelssohn or Gilbert and Sullivan  at the right moment to save the great works of another poor Schubert-like composer.

Singer composer concept is returning

Singer Composer Was the Creator of Opera

Singer Composer Was the Creator of Opera. Today, many do not think of singers as the creators of opera. In the early 1700’s they were. The taste in Naples, Italy at that time, dictated how opera was created. That taste was manifested in the love of vocal display. Popular idols were made of singers. Theodore M. Finney writes in a History of Music: The composers became “a kind of formality that had within it the seed of artistic sterility and death.”

Singer composer phenomenon sent many composer fleeing.
The new singer composer phenomenon  caused composer Alessandro Scarlatti to leave Naples in 1725.

 

What Happened to Opera as a Result of the Singer Composer Phenomenon?

Many composers at that time would write scores of historical interest. However, they had little if any musical interest. Opera composers turned from opera to writing for other mediums, such as instrumental. Society in Italy mainly fawned over virtuosity in musical drama. This gave rise to the Golden Age of Bel Canto. Francesco Bernardi, for example,  loaded his adagios with countless ornaments. Opera singers became heroes. Hogarth immortalizes a singer in one of his arias in The Rakes Progress: He receives the adulation of a lady who says: “One God, one Farinelli.” The composer was reduced to the sideman.

As a matter of fact, the admiration of opera singers of the at time was so tremendous that most were totally unconcerned with the excellence of an opera itself.  For that reason the music of many operas had nothing more than a figured bass and perhaps the outline of a melody. They singer flushed out the rest of the opera. The singer was also the primary composer. Figured bass, or thoroughbass, is a kind of musical notation in which numerals and symbols (often accidentals) are used. They indicate intervalschords, and non-chord tones that a musician is to play.  Historically this was most often applied to   pianoharpsichordorgan, and  lute. 

Example of writing style with figured bass.

Melody from the opening of Henry Purcell‘s “Thy Hand, Belinda”, Dido and Aeneas (1689) with figured bass below (About this soundPlay 

 

women out west

Women Out West are in Copland’s Rodeo

 Women out West: Rodeo. Copeland wrote  Rodeo in 1942 as a Ballet in One Act.  The Ballet Russe of Monte Carlo commissioned choreographer Agnes de Mille to collaborate with Aaron Copeland on the Rodeo project. I found a  score arranged for piano. The arrangement is copyrighted by the Aaron Copland Fund for Music. It was printed in 1962. It has six principle sections:

  1. First Episode: Buckaroo Holiday
  2. Transition
  3. Second Episode: Corral Nocturne
  4. Ranch House Party
  5. Third Episode: Saturday Night Waltz
  6. Fourth Episode: Hoe-Down
Aaron Copland 1970.JPG
Aaron Copland as subject of a Young People’s Concert, 1970.

Women Out West Had to Find Suitable Men!

Image result for picture of Agnes de Mille
Agnes de Mille choreographed Copland’s Rodeo.

 

Basically, throughout the American southwest, the Saturday afternoon rodeo was a tradition. Usually, it was followed by an evening dance at the Ranch House. Copland’s Rodeo uses this basic western concept. As a matter of fact dating between the sexes  was problem confronting all American women since early pioneer times. The question has been how to get a suitable  man? Most likely, it is still a problem everywhere.

Women Out West Relished the Saturday Evening Dance.

On Saturday evening, after the Rodeo, social time was shared by dancing the square dance. The principle theme of Copland’s Hoe-Down in Rodeo uses a square dance tune called Bonypart. Of course this is a humorous reference to Napoleon Bonaparte.

Agnes de Mille describes the basic concept for choreography: “Throughout the American Southwest, the … dance was a tradition. On the remote ranches, as well as in trading centers and the towns, the “hands” get together to show off their skill in roping, riding, branding and throwing. Often, on the more isolated ranches, the rodeo is done for an audience that consisted only of a handful of fellow-workers and women-folk.  Any neighbors that attended often had to do an eighty mile or so run-over to witness the event.”

I, the blogger, also wrote a ballet called The Dance of the Zodiac. It also features the bull, as in the rodeo. Only it appears as the symbol of Taurus. Enjoy this internal link to my own ballet.

Scorpio Musicians Perform with Profound Emotions

 

instrumental versus vocal

Instrumental Versus Vocal – Which One Dominates?

Instrumental Versus Vocal – Which One Dominates at any particular time? Secular cultures have greater emphasis on instrumental. Religious cultures emphasized more vocal music.  Troubadours and jongleurs elevated the dominance of instrumental music in Medieval times. How did they come about? The oldest mention of the word troubadour as trobadors is found in a 12th-century Occitan text by Cercamon.[1] The sixteenth century Italian historian Giammaria Barbieri was perhaps the first to suggest Arabian influences on the music of the troubadours.[13] With instrumental versus vocal, the former comes out ahead in this case. Later scholars like J.B. Trend have asserted that the poetry of troubadours is connected to Arabic poetry written in Spain.[14]

Instrumental versus vocal
This name came from a Medieval French tradition
Exterior of the Troubadour in 2006
Location9081 Santa Monica BoulevardWest HollywoodCalifornia
Coordinates34.08138°N 118.389399°W
TypeNightclub
Genre(s)Folksinger-songwritersrockheavy metal
Seating typestanding
Capacity500
Opened1957

 

Instrumental Versus Vocal Plays Out

 

  1. Instrumental music was given a boost by the Crusades. War and hardship also resulted from the Crusades.  But, these Holy Pilgrimages also brought about  free flow of ideas to Europe from the Middle East. Author Theodore M. Finney in A History of Music goes so far as to state: …”the development of harmony may sometime need to be rewritten giving much more weight to Eastern influence. Eastern being Arabian influence.”
  2. Instrumental music, Finney states, was at first fashioned by what he calls “rough people”. This simply means people who did not dwell in towns or villages. They used instruments to accompany their wanderings with their flocks of goats or sheep. . Also, they would play for their own dancing. These activities, in turn,  gave rise to instrumental secular music.
The troubadour Perdigon playing his fiddle.

Here are two class systems that gave rise to more instrumental music. This system involved the division between Troubadours and Jongleurs. This music was performed by groups of musicians known as troubadours,trouvères, and jongleurs. The troubadours and trouvères were active in France.  The troubadours to the south. Trouvères to the north. They were medieval poet musicians that catered to the upper class, or the nobility. Oftgen they were noblemen themselves.

The Jongleurs were often collaborators or assistants of Medieval Troubadours or Minstrels. Jongleurs gained a reputation of itinerant entertainers of Medieval France and in Norman England.  Many were deemed to be vagabonds. They wandered from court to court with their music.

Finally, with regards to the featured picture. David Rubinoff is on the left. Fritz Kreisler is on the right. They were royalty of music. We can compare them to the troubadours. Dave made as much as $500,000 annually by performing on the violin and conducting for the Paramount Theaters in New York and Paramount pictures in Hollywood. For some 15 years I was his accompanist and arranger.  Enjoy this caricature of a classic jongleur to troubador Rubinoff to realize an exaggerated difference.

Music Prolongs Life of Rubinoff and His Violin – DSO Works

 

dsoworks.com/all-posts/music-prolongs-life/

 

 

Image result for pictures DSOworks of Rubinoff and His Violin

Hollywood nineteen thirties

Hollywood Nineteen Thirties under Rubinoff’s Baton

Hollywood Nineteen Thirties under Rubinoff’s Baton. I frequently blog about David Rubinoff and His Violin. That’s because I worked with him for over 15 years. My capacity was as his arranger and piano accompanist. The years spanned 1971 to 1986. In 1986 Dave passed away at age 89. He was the very model of musical success. This was especially true in Hollywood during the nineteen thirties. I’ll never forget the spontaneity of his reply when I said to him: “Mr Rubinoff, music has been good to you.” He immediately replied as a matter of factly, “Why, that’s because I’ve been good to music.”

You can now listen to a recent concert that I was honored to perform at with maestro Steven Greenman. Steve performs the Fiddler just as Rubinoff intended it. The Ted Lewis Big Band museum curator and conductor extraordinaire, Joseph Rubin, invited me in from Sarasota to play the concert honoring my friend and mentor, David Rubinoff.

Preview YouTube video Rubinoff’s Fiddler on the Roof – Violin and Piano

Hollywood Nineteen Thirties

Dave’s wife, Darlene Rubinoff, wrote a book about his life. Dave personally dictated it to her as she tape recorded his voice. Eloquence, sophistication, technical prowess,  passion and perfection marked his playing. But most of all he openly conveyed the love he had for his  audience. In return his audiences loved loved him. This was to the tune of hundreds of thousands annually in the 1930’s.  In this regard I must quote Mr. Rubinoff’s words through his angel of a wife, Darlene Azar Rubinoff:

Image result for picture of Darlene Rubinoff on DSOworks.com
The good looking couple, David and Darlene Rubinoff. I was honored by how well she treated me- like I was  one of her own family.

“I worked every  hour of the day and night, driving everyone with no conception of time, being only interested in my music and pleasing the public. My audiences screamed and applauded. They were after me night and day, waiting for me outside the stage door for a glimpse or for an autograph. I seldom refused them. They were the reason for my success. That is why I drove the orchestra and the arrangers so hard. I screamed, I cajoled. I even, on occasion, threw things in order to win my way. The amazing thing was, I was always right when it came to my music.”

Please enjoy the internal link below of the concert I gave with Rubinoff in the Catskills at Scott’s Oquaga Lake House.  The youtube link is at the end of the blog. It was over 30 years ago. Also, my wife Sharon and I have written a new opera entitled “Patra”.  The featured artwork is used by permission from the  “From Cairo With Love”  art gallery in Cairo, Egypt. It will be premiered in New York on Schroon Lake this coming September. Please read about the details under the “stage”on our front page of DSOworks.com.

Extremely Humble King of Early American Music

Steady Eddie taught the art of musical rhythm

Steady Eddie Had the Gift of Rhythm

Steady Eddie Had the Gift of Rhythm. I always seem to have had the best of luck in mentors. Maestro Edmund DeMattia was up there with the best. He recently passed away. I miss him. I’ve always excelled as a composer and am a fairly good pianist. Ed communicated how I could steady my rhythm in performance.

“Steady Eddie” was a Great Musical Innovator of the American Military

The idea for a “National Concert Band” began in 1973.  Discussions were held among retired and former members of the four major military service bands in the Washington, DC area. The organization’s two main purposes were: (1)  To provide a way for area military musicians to continue to play after retirement.  (2) To preserve the  concert band tradition of music in the United States. Ed also happened to be one of the founding members of the American Concert Band Association (ACB). The National Concert Band became a member of this professional organization. This was in no small part due to Ed.  Because of him, those who retired from military service could continue their music  in the National Concert Band .

"Steady Eddie" had impeccable musical rhythm.
Edmond DeMattia knew when to keep tempo, make an accelerando, and ritardando.

Wind Song Players in Concert under Maestro Edmond Demattia

One of Ed’s last concerts was with my wife and myself. Wife, mezzo soprano Sharon Ohrenstein, is also a composer, lyricist and arranger.

Sharon and I shared in co-composing. We worked together on a couple of  military marches for Memorial Day. Link is below to our live performance of  “Glory and Honor”.  We even had Civil War Re-enactors firing their muskets during the concert on conductor’s cue!

Finally, what I am most proud of in the realm of the  American military march. I worked with “Rubinoff and His Violin.” This was over a 15 year span. I was his arranger and accompanist. The American March King “-John Philip Sousa” gave Rubinoff’s career a big boost:  He procured a continuous stipend from  the State Department for bringing fine music to children in the public schools.

Image result for picture on DSOworks of John :Philip Sousa and Rubinoff
David Rubinoff and His Violin with American March King John Philip Sousa. I accompanied and arranged for Rubinoff, later in his life, for 15 years.

If you enjoyed this blog, please share it with friends. We can all be proud of our wonderful traditions!

6:03

 6:03
 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dCDtKdXtyX0

.

contrapuntal universe

Keyboard Consideration is Still Glossed Over Today

Keyboard Consideration is Still Glossed Over Today. For an explanation, let’s look back to the Baroque era. Its years were approximately 1600 – 1750. Very few composer/keyboardists  in the Baroque era were said to have mastered even two types of  keyboards!  Most often, if they  played the organ, they were deficient in the harpsichord. In reverse, if they could play the harpsichord, they were deficient in organ. This is the point of this blog: If two types of keyboards were confusing, even for geniuses; today we literally have hundreds of types. This of course takes into consideration the electronic wizardry which seems to multiply daily.

Wilhelm Friedemann Bach (22 November 1710 – 1 July 1784), the second child and eldest son of Johann Sebastian Bach and Maria Barbara Bach.  He was a German composer and performer. He possessed two mind sets for keyboard instruments: One for the organ. One for the harpsichord. Historian and contemporary of J.S. Bach, Johann Forkel, wrote: Their style (harpsichord and organ)  and manner of playing differ as much as their respective destinations. That which at the harpsichord produces excellent effect, does not express anything at the organ and vice versa.”

Wilhelm Friedemann Bach sketch.png
Wilhelm Friedemann Bach was a master of both harpsichord and organ. He, and his father, were two  of the few.

Keyboard Consideration of Organ V. Harpsichord

Further on Forkel states  how he only knew of two musicians  equally adept at both: J.S. Bach and his eldest son, Wilhelm Friedmann Bach.  He states: “Both were elegant virtuosos at the harpsichord. Once seated at the organ, it is impossible to perceive the slightest trace of the the harpsichordist.” Forkel states the following of Wilhelm Friedmann Bach: “I had the pleasure of hearing Wilhelm Friedmann at the harpsichord. All was delicate, elegant and pleasing. When I heard him at the organ, I was truly seized with religious respect.  ”

Words of Keyboard Consideration from My Own Teacher- Mischa Kottler

Mischa studied in Paris and Vienna in the 1920’s. He worked with Alfred Cortôt in Paris and Emil von Sauer in Vienna. He told me right from the beginning, do not play the organ if you study piano. Seeing what Forkel just had to say about two different keyboard instruments, I think he was absolutely correct! Please share with friends that might be interested.

Tenth Year Entertaining on the Steinway at the Gasparilla Inn

I owe my longevity as a pianist to Mischa. This will be my 10th year at the Gasparilla Inn. Check the internal link above. December 20, 2018 @ 6:00 pm – April 20, 2019 @ 9:00 pm
Tenth Year Entertaining
Famed Gasparilla Inn in Boca Grande

Mischa Kottler plays Rachmaninoff, Prelude in g# minor – YouTube


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GHQ8mCk26Pg
Dec 28, 2013 – Uploaded by Joseph Beels

Mischa Kottler Plays Rachmaninoff’s Prelude in G# minor 

Here is an internal musical link:

Pianistic Robots are Created by Competitions

 

Rubinoff concert review

Rubinoff Concert Review of the 1930’s

Rubinoff Concert Review of the 1930’s. The short article below, at the Ted Lewis Museum,  offers some reasons why Rubinoff was so popular with the public. I do not have its exact date. It is from the Depression era of the 1930’s. First, he was primarily popular because he brought melodic and beautiful music to America when the country needed it the most. The public rewarded him. He made as much as $500,000.00 annually.  Joseph Rubin is the curator of the Ted Lewis Museum. I found this abbreviated article below on Joseph’s museum website.

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling
Dave was a matinee idol in the 1930’s.

What is the Ted Lewis Museum about? First, and most important me, Joseph brought me to Circleville for a Rubinoff commemoration concert this last June 2, 2018. It also was sponsored by the Ted Lewis Museum.  I got a chance to perform the works I arranged with Rubinoff live with concert violinist, Steven Greenman.

The museum is located in “the Capital of the World,” Circleville, Ohio. The Ted Lewis Museum attracts thousands of visitors of all ages.  They come from nearby and around the world.  Educational Outreach programs are offered free of charge to Pickaway County schools. These programs bring the history and music of Ted Lewis to life.  For schools and students, it featurs a 5-piece jazz band.  Scholarships are annually offered to graduating Pickaway County high school seniors planning to pursue a degree in Music or the Performing Arts.

With your support, the Museum will continue to offer free admission to all visitors and expose a new generation to the  timeless music of Ted Lewis and the greats of a by gone great American era.

The Ted Lewis Museum, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization.  All donations are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.  All donors will be listed in the Ted Lewis Museum event programs. They will also receive the Ted Lewis Museum Newsletter in the mail and VIP seating at events.

Museum1.jpg

For the record, John Philip Sousa set Rubinoff on the school concert road. The article mentions Dave was a protege of the late Victor Herbert. – I, Dave Ohrenstein, worked for 15 years with Rubinoff. He employed me as both an arranger and a piano accompanist. Dave had a genius for publicity stunts and gags. In the featured picture Jimmy Durante playing Dave’s violin. Dave Rubinoff, as part of the gag, is at the piano.

 Rubinoff concert review.

Rubinoff concert review from the 1930's
Rubinoff concert review explains how he brought joy to so many.
Image result for picture on DSOworks of John :Philip Sousa and Rubinoff
I worked for 15 years with Rubinoff. Here he is pictured with Sousa. Sousa encouraged and helped Rubinoff to give of his violin playing talent to the American public schools.

Below is a link to my own website. Check it out. Musical events are upcoming. Many posts are about Rubinoff. Click on all posts.

Rubinoff and His Violin Sort of Was My Grandfather

 

Sharing happiness

Sharing Happiness at a Big Band Music Museum

Sharing Happiness at a Big Band Music Museum. How do you get a good handle on life? Answer:  Ask a key question. What should that question be? Simple stated. “Is everybody happy?” This question is even better than meditation. Actually, it is the banner on a big band museum in Circleville, Ohio. Meditate on this question. It will focus your thoughts on a highly noble cause. Now for another big surprise: This pronouncement is also the title of a film. It stars Ted Lewis.

Is Everybody Happy? (1929) is an American Pre-Code musical film.  It stars Ted LewisAlice DayLawrence GrantAnn Pennington, and Julia Swayne Gordon.  Direction is by Archie Mayo, and released by Warner Bros. Most of the music was written by Harry Akst and Grant Clarke.   The “St. Louis Blues” was written by by W. C. Handy and “Tiger Rag“. The film’s title comes from Ted Lewis’s catchphrase “Is everybody happy?”

Is Everybody Happy?:Ted Lewis 1929

Sharing Happiness in Circleville, Ohio

Image result for picture of the Ted Lewis Big band Museum in Circleville
Curator of the Ted Lewis Museum, Joseph Rubin, shares happiness with all!

So why am I blogging about this? I got to share in this happiness. There was at a special concert on June 2, 2018 in Circleville, Ohio. I had worked with a famous conductor-violinist. My job was as his arranger and accompanist. His stage name, Rubinoff and His Violin. Joseph Rubin, the curator,  is also a phenomenal conductor. The maestro had read some of my Rubinoff blogs online. He gathered an élite orchestra for a Rubinoff dedication. I was invited to play a Rubinoff memorial concert. What an experience! Below are a couple of youtube links. Please take the time to listen to this unforgettable music, unforgettably arranged. The 1st is a link to excerpts from the concert. The 2nd demonstrates the mastery of Rubinoff in his younger years.

For those of you who missed our Rubinoff and His Violin Concert in June of 2018, here’s a montage of some of the highlights! When was the last time you heard music of this calibur?  

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

Image may contain: 10 people, people smiling, text
Rubinoff and myself, blogger David Ohrenstein, are in the lower right program corner.The picture shows us  ready for a special concert at the Governor’s Club in Tallahassee, Fl. This program is posted at what I would call the “Ted Lewis Museum” ….. of sharing happiness!
Image result for David Ohrenstein on youtube
Playing the arrangements I made with Rubinoff, this time with with Maestro Steven Greenman, in Circleville, Ohio some 50 years later.
Full musical lifetime

Full Musical Lifetime is a Blessing and a Half

Full Musical Lifetime is a Blessing and a Half. Imagine:

  1.  Being discovered as a violin student at the Warsaw Conservatory under the direction of Paderewski.
  2. The famed conductor/composer of operettas who discovers you is Victor Herbert. At the time of discovery, Herbert, on a Sabbatical, was the conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.   He was a German-raised American composercellist and conductor.. He is best known for composing many successful operettas that premiered on Broadway from the 1890s to World War I. He was also prominent among the tin pan alley composers.  Later  he was a  founder of the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP).
  3. Image being able to apprentice your craft with under the guidance of this great man.
  4. Every Sunday night Rubinoff was able to meet the most prominent singers and musicians in America.  Victor Herbert had weekly musical soirées at his home. There, Rubinoff got to meet the likes of  the great tenor -Caruso, Mme. Schumann Heink, and John Philip Sousa.
  5.  John Philip Sousa secured a grant from the US State Department so Rubinoff could take his music to the public schools.
Full musical lifetime
45 minute live concert on youtube given in the Catskills by Rubinoff and Ohrenstein, Link is below.

David Rubinoff (left) with me, pianist David Ohrenstein

Full Musical Lifetime Included Me for some 15 years

Now by a great happenstance, one of our concerts was recently found. My daughter posted it on youtube. Dave Rubinoff was eighty-six years of age at the time.  His Stradivarius violin is set with the official crest of the Russia Empire in solid gold set with diamonds and rubies. Riches followed this man for his great contributions to America. Some years, in the 1930’s, he grossed as much as $500,000.00. Rubinoff truly is a rags to riches story.  As you will hear, even in his older years, his playing was remarkable. Now you see why I titled this post: Full Musical Lifetime is a Blessing and a Half. Please feel free to share this miracle with friends.

For those of you who missed our recent Rubinoff and His Violin Concert in June of 2018, here’s a montage of some of the highlights! When was the last time you heard music of this calibur?  

 

 

 

 

Ernestine Schumann-Heink in 1918 (cropped).jpg
Ernestine Schumann-Heink (Libeň, 15 June 1861 – Hollywood , November 17, 1936) was an alto of opera , known for her control, tone, beauty and the wide range of its edge. She was a star on Herbert’s guest list.