Libra Music Has Verve

Libra Music as Effected by Instructor, Franz Liszt

Libra Music Has Verve and Drive to Spare. The month of Libra takes place September 23 – October 23. Some sources have a give or take of a day or two. The following is based on my upcoming book, Music Under the Zodiac. Hopefully, it will overall intention is to make musical therapy more pointed. However, much is also written in the spirit of fun.

Composers born during the month of Libra music include: George Gershwin, John Philip Rameau, Dmitri Shostakovich, Paul Dukas, Heinrich Schutz, Camille Sain-Säens, Giuseppe Verdi (Joe Green translated to English), Ralph Vaughan Williams, and our featured composer: Franz Liszt.

Libra Music as Written by a Libra Comoser
Franz Liszt’s music had the power, verve and drive of Libra, an air sign.

What was Liszt’s thought process that made him a great virtuoso? It was his approach to piano practice. This I gleamed from my own teacher, Mischa Kottler. He didn’t say “practice, practice, practice.” Many used to say, the way to Carnegie Hall was directed by this repeated word.  Mischa  rather said, practice slowly and one hand at the time. Kottler learned the art of piano practice from Emil von Sauer. In turn, Sauer studied with Franz Liszt.

Image result for picture of Mischa Kottler for the blog on changing music
Mischa Kottler, my teacher, studied with Emil von Sauer. In turn, Sauer studied over two summers with Franz Liszt in Austria.

Liszt not only practiced slowly. He would practice each element of the music slowly. He would practice being rhythmically precise with each hand. He would work the dynamics that he wanted. If two notes were to be played by the right hand, he would strike them exactly together. Playing as close as possible to exact togetherness was most important. It makes each note resonate more beautifully.  A 10th of a second brake between even two notes was not to be tolerated. He developed a special technique for playing the ubiquitous two note phrase.

So why am I not touring the world as a great pianist? Like so many, I was too impatient. Slow and hands separate practice was not for me. I thought I was better than “slow”. Now I’m older. This type of practice is making all the difference in the world.

Libra Music in the Balance of Fast and Slow

Finally, let’s tie all this into the scales of Libra. The opposite of very slow is ultra fast. By slow practice, you acquire precise and accurate speed. One extreme rocks the other. You can “practice, practice, practice” and never get good. As Mischa would said to me: “David, you are only perfecting your mistakes!” If practice takes hours upon hours, it’s because of the requited painfully slow tempo of meaningful practice. I changed my mode of practice late in life. It’s making all the difference in the world. And yes, I have room for a couple of piano students in Sarasota.

 

 

 

The Hurdy Gurdy rose in popularity and the lute fell!

Hurdy Gurdy Suddenly Came into Vogue

Hurdy Gurdy Suddenly Came into Vogue. Why am I writing this blog? To prove that no how popular something is, changing style can make it obsolete. For example, once upon a time no one ever doubted the popularity and supremacy of the lute.  The first lutes were brought to Spain by the Moors. Others may have been brought to Europe from Arabic lands. The lute is one of the ancestors of the classical guitar.During the Baroque music era, the lute was used as one of the instruments which played the basso continuo accompaniment parts. It is also an accompanying instrument in vocal works. The lute player either improvises (“realizes”) a chordal accompaniment based on the figured bass part, or plays a written-out accompaniment (both music notation and tabulature(“tab”) are used for lute). As a small instrument, the lute produces a relatively quiet sound

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Would you believe this instrument at one time bowed to the hurdy gurdy in popularity?

How the Hurdy Gurdy Came to Replace the Lute

The book Le Parnasse Français is from 1736. Its author is Titon du Tillet. He writes that he had met a great lute amateur, M. Falco. The lute player assured  Tion du Tillet that there are only 3 or 4 accomplished old time lute players left in Paris. Now I quote du Tillet: “M. Falco invited me to go up to his apartment. After having seated me in an antique armchair, he played 5 or 6 pieces on the lute. He looked at me all the while with tender expression. From time to time he shedding tears on his lute. I could not help mingling a few tears with his. And thus we parted.”

 Image result for picture of the hurdy gurdy

 

 

 Wanda Landowska on Music writes: By the end of the 17th century, the best lutes were sought after. However, they were transformed into the theorboes. Somewhat later, the hurdy gurdy totally replaced the lute in popularity. Shockingly, at onetime the hurdy gurdy was mainly used by beggars and village peddlers. As it happens, Marchionesses from the court of Louis XV  called the few remaining lutes “gothic and despicable instruments.” The hurdy gurdy became the aristocratic rage.

Conclusion: Don’t bank on anything being popular for too long. Check out my blogs. Musical style will soon change. By the way. Stay in style. Using this knowledge, I am having my busiest season ever. To this end I offer piano lessons in Sarasota.

Changing Music Indicates Changing Times

Changing Music Indicates Changing Times. Welsh music, as recorded in the Welsh Triads, adjusted its music to changing times. Here’s how. In ancient England, changes were foreshadowed by “perpetual choirs.”

Changing Music and Perpetual Choirs?
The Welsh Triads speak of perpetual choirs of saints in the distant past.

How did I discover this? My source is City of Revelaton by the Reverend John Michell. The Welsh Triads are verses of great antiquity. They were written by “prehistoric bardic historians.” Unique choirs are mentioned:

  • One at the now existing site of Glastonbury Abbey.
  • Another operated at the site at which Stonehenge now exists.
  • A third was at Llantwit Major at Glamzorgan.

2,400 saints worked each site. Each kept a perpetual chant going. Each of the 24 hours of the day, at each site, occupied 100 saints with singing.

As the Times Varied, Changing Music Marked Their Song

The character of time changes with the seasons. As light can change by the hour, so could their song. Another aspect of song was planetary. The school of Pythagoras believed that each planet had its own pitch. As their distances from each other changed, so did the music.

We are currently living through times of great change. Music that heralds beautiful melody will lead the way. In all aspects, people will buy what is beautiful. I was taught to play with beautiful tone. Play well-formed two-note phrases are key. Also, how to emphasize the note that is tied over the measure. My instructor was Mischa Kottler.

Image result for picture of Mischa Kottler for the blog on changing music
Mischa Kottler was a pupil of Emil von Sauer, Sauer studied over two years with Liszt.

In looking to this beautiful past, I am helping to lead the way to the future. We all need beautiful things in our lives. When times are difficult, all need the beautiful in art, poetry and music. To this end, I am working full time this year. I will be playing piano from Christmas to Easter. This will be six days weekly. The location is at the Gasparilla Inn on Boca Grande.

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I play here on a vintage and newly reconditioned Steinway concert grand from the 1920’s. Parts were shipped directly from Germany.

 

Until Christmas, I am working to bring musical beauty back at the Crab and Fin Restaurant on Saint Armand’s Circle. I play three days weekly. Call for specifics. Wear something comfortable, but beautiful. Enjoy a tasty and well-presented meal  while dining outdoors to my piano music.

 

 

 

New music of the romantic era reflects the times in Beethoven's later music.

New Music Heralds New Ages Like Beethoven’s Music

New Music Heralds a new age. This was a known truth in the past. New music was created by the great composer, Beethoven. At first he wrote in the classical style. By 1810 he became a crucial figure in the transition between the Classical and Romantic eras. In Western art music, he remains one of the most famous and influential of all composers. His best-known compositions include

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Beethoven’s new music included many Masonic principles.

Classical music was often written written for royalty. It needed tp be pleasant and unobtrusive. Romantic emphasized feelings and emotions of the individual. Its range of passion and expression were greater. The power and magnificence of nature was also a subject for Romantic musical expression.

Ludwig von Beethoven was a Mason. A such he knew many Masonic secrets. These secrets heavily figured into Beethoven’s creativity.One such secret was the Fibonacci series of numbers. They grew by successive addition. Nature develops by these numbers. The series goes: 1,1,2,3,5,8,13,21,34,55,55,89,144,233,377,610 etc. Two previous numbers are added to get the next sum.

Related imageLeonardo Fibonacci was born 600 years before Beethoven. The beginning of the Fibonacci series, named after him. are the numbers in red.  It continues to infinity.

Beethoven used this series in his Fifth Symphony. Of course, 5 is the first non-successive Fibonacci number. The series skips from 3 to 5. Here is the proof: 233 measures is the length of Beethoven’s opening section. 377 is the length of Beethoven’s development section).

But Beethoven’s Masonic Use of New Music Goes Even Further

The Masonic tool for engineering par excellence was the 3 x 3 number square. Many of the free blogs on DSOworks.com cover the subject. Look at the composition list above. Beethoven wrote 9 symphonies, 5 piano concertos, and  1 violin concerto. This is a vertical, middle column read across the square of three. I blog about how Solomon’s Temple used this section. The Second Jerusalem Temple used the entire bluprint. Look at the next two numbers of his output:

  • 32 piano sonatas
  • 16 string quartets.

Read my blog about the period chart. The square root of 32 comes from the geometry of the grid. Also, the ratio of 32 to 16 by the sonatas and quartets form a 2:1 ratio. This defines the first fundamental perfect overtone of the octave. Finally look at his crowning 9th symphony. It is all about the brotherhood of man!


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keyboard touches great vary

Keyboard Touches Vary Greatly Depending on Instrument

Keyboard Touches Vary Greatly Depending on Instrument. My piano instructor was Mischa Kottler. I was offered a position playing the organ. Kottler told me not to accept it. He said, playing organ would ruin my piano technique. Of course, I wondered how and why? I think the answer comes from Karl Philipp Emanuel Bach. In the quote below, C.P. E. had the harpsichord in mind. The piano wasn’t yet invented. But what he said about the contrast applies to the piano.  In the interest of keeping posts short, there will be more blogs. A harpsichord is a musical instrument played by means of a keyboard.  The player presses a row of levers. This triggers a mechanism.  One or more strings are then plucked with a quill.

 The above harpsichord is the work of two celebrated makers: originally constructed by Andreas Ruckers in Antwerp (1646). It was remodeled by Pascal Taskin in Paris (1780). The prototype of the pianoforte was invented in 1710. Bartolomeo Cristofori di Francesco (Italian pronunciation: [bartoloˈmɛːo kriˈstɔːfori di franˈtʃesko]; May 4, 1655 – January 27, 1731). He was an Italian maker of musical instruments.

 The 1720 Cristofori piano in the Metropolitan Museum in New York is the picture on the right. The total number of pianos built by Cristofori is unknown. Only three survive today, all dating from the 1720s.

Keyboard Touches and Keyboard Styles

 Here is a primary difference between the organ and the harpsichord/piano. According to C.P. E. Bach: “The organ is indispensable in church. It bestows splendor and maintains order. However, for sacred recitatives, and arias… one must resort to the harpsichord. It gives the singing voice freedom of variation. Too often, one discovers how bare a performance can be without harpsichord accompaniment. Moreover, this instrument is indispensable in the theater and at concerts.”
Image result for Wikipedia picture of an musical organ
“The organ bestows splendor and order.” – C.P.E. Bach

Other differences will be for future posts.

Musical orphanage outlet was his professional anchor.

Musical Orphanage Outlet in Venice for Vivaldi

Musical Orphanage Outlet in Venice for Vivaldi. Antonio Lucio Vivaldi ( 4 March 1678 – 28 July 1741) was an Italian[2] Baroque composer, virtuoso violinist, teacher and cleric. Four orphanages for girls existed in Venice, Italy. They taught females the art of music. Antonio Vivaldi worked at the Ospedale (orphanage) della Pieta. He was employed there for  more than 30 years. He duties included composer, violin maestro, and orchestral conductor.

When musical styles later changed during his employment, he lost his job. He went to Vienna, impoverished. After he died, no one even knew where he was buried until 1938.   My main source of reference is Landowska On Music. Wanda Landowska quotes Italian President, De Brosses.  The points made come in part from his:  Lettres familieres ecrites d’Italie (1739 – 1740). De Brosses lived during Vivaldi’s time. He gives a glimpse into the musical life of Italy.

Musical Orphanage Outlet
Vivaldi’s Four Seasons Made its Premier With an All Female Chamber Orchestra at the Orphanage della Pieta. They were virtuosos. Not too many ladies here!

Musical Orphanage Outlet Description

  1.  Why were there four female orphanages needed in Venice? Girls were left in orphanages for three reasons (1) They were illegitimate. (2) They were orphaned. (3) They were placed there by parents who could not afford to keep them. Poor families often orphaned their girls. Hence the key words of this blog:
  2. How were they brought up? The State paid their expenses. They were trained exclusively to excel at music. De Brosses stated: “They sing like angels and play the violin, the cello. the bassoon; in short, there was no big instrument that could terrify them.” Hence the key words of this blog: Musical Orphanage Outlet
  3. De Brosses  stated about Vivaldi: “I heard him claim that he could compose a concerto faster than a copyist could write them down.”

Alas, Vivaldi’s music went out of fashion. His death was not even noticed. In 1938 it was learned that he died in 1741 and was buried in Vienna. That’s some 200 years in passing.  Vivaldi would be rich on royalties if he were alive today:

  • Walter Kolneder in Antonio Vivaldi: His Life and Work states: A unofficial survey of diners in Greenwich Ct. in the 1990’s claims: Today Vivaldi’s popularity has taken on such dimensions that it almost threatens that of other music.”
  • P.G. Goulding states in Classical Music: The 50 Greatest Composers and Their 1000 Greatest Works: “The 4 violin concertos that make up the Four Seasons are  most popular on many classical radio stations.”

Immediately below in Spring from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. Solo violin is played and the orchestra conducted by Itzhak Perlman.

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The four seasons, Enjoy Itzhak Perlman playing Spring on the youtube below.

 

What conclusions might we draw from this blog?  To make a living, one must know what is on the horizon and be able to respond, appropriately.  Genius does not guarantee a living. Also, everyone has their day in the Sun. That means it is necessary to put aside resources for a rainy day. As a musician, I greatly sympathize with the plight and challenges of all serious musicians- men and women. Even a genius like Vivaldi greatly suffered.

 

 

Music Prolongs Life as it did for David Rubinoff and His Violin

Will Rogers Plays the Violin, or Tries to with Rubinoff

Will Rogers Plays Had a Place in My Life Through Rubinoff. For years I worked with “Rubinoff and His Violin.” He always would praise Will Rogers. Rubinoff stated in his autbiography: “Will used to give me advice. He was a happy fellow and a pleasure to be near. Will advised me on timing, how to time my gestures, how to get the audience to do my bidding, and how to talk to provoke the appropriate responses.”  This quote is from Rubinoff’s book, Dance of the Russian Peasant. His wife, Dame Darlene Rubinoff, co-authored the book with her husband.  Maestro Rubinoff always paid homage to Will Rogers at his concerts.

Will Rogers Plays:

William Penn Adair Rogers was born on November 4, 1879, in present-day Oologah, Oklahoma—then part of Indian territory. … Himself part Cherokee, Rogers socialized with both indigenous people.  Interest in Will Rogers plays found its way into a hit Broadway show: The Will Rogers Follies is a musical with a book by Peter Stone, lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, and music by Cy Coleman.

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Will Rogers Follies

It focuses on the life and career of famed humorist and performer Will Rogers, using as a backdrop the Ziegfeld Follies, which he often headlined, and describes every episode in his life in the form of a big production number.

He gave Rubinoff a gigantic pocket watch. Will had the poem below engraved on its back. Will also included his picture with Dave with the following inscription: “To the greatest fiddler in the world. Your Pal, Will Rogers 1932.” Rubinoff recited it at every single concert. Audiences loved itHere are some paraphrases::

Will Rogers plays Rubinoff's violin
Will Rogers plays Rubinoff’s Strad in a gag picture. Rubinoff is looking on and smiling.

The clock of life is wound but once,
And no man has the power
To tell just when the hands will stop
At late or early hour.

Now is the only time we own,
So live, love, toil with a will,
Place no faith in “Tomorrow,”
For the Clock may then be still.

― Robert H. Smith

Conclusion: So many were jealous of Rubinoff. Musicians frequently were contemptuous about how he pandered to the public. However, they were really jealous of his income. In the 1930’s he made as much as $500,000/year. Now I offer a present to all my readers. Here is a free youtube link to Rubinoff and I, performing at our last concert in 1984. And yes, he’ll show off his Will Rogers pocket watch. You can hear the thunderstorm at Scott’s Oquaga Lake House during the concert. Oh yes, please share. This is happy and entertaining!

Lost Concert “Rubinoff and His Violin” on Oquaga Lake, 1984 – YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jujqLu-jrN8
Jun 22, 2015 – Uploaded by Lesley & Ohrenstein

In one of the final years of his life, renowned violinist Dave Rubinoff plays … Your browser does not currently …

Johannes Brahms Arch Romanticist

Johannes Brahms Arch Romanticist, not Richard Wagner

Johannes Brahms Arch Romanticist, not Richard Wagner. I am in awe of Johannes Brahms. I have been religiously practicing the six numbers of his opus 118. I hope to eventually make a post playing all six. The key to the romantic era is fusion of  melody with counterpoint. Counterpoint is so rare nowadays that I will define it.

Image result for Wiki Commons picture of composer Richard Wagner

Ludwig II (GermanLudwig Otto Friedrich Wilhelm; English: Louis Otto Frederick William; 25 August 1845 – 13 June 1886)[1] was King of Bavaria from 1864 until his death in 1886. He stands next to Richard Wagner who is seated at the piano. 

Why Johannes Brahms Arch Romanticist Peaked the Romantic Era, not  Richard Wagner

Brahms is the master. Wagner is dramatic, exciting and on a grand scale. Brahms, however,  is the scholarly master of counterpoint. The romantic era revived counterpoint. One era contrasts another. Melody with accompaniment mostly characterized the rococo period and the classical. To be different, the romantics revived counterpoint as an art form. My opinion is that Brahms is better at counterpoint that Wagner. The collection of Opus 118 is filled with masterpieces of this genre. No. 4 is mostly a continuous “round.” The right hand plays one bar of music. In the next measure the left hand plays the same.  In that same measure,  the right plays a new aspect of the melody. In the next measure, the left hand plays the same… I think that Tal-Haim Samnon in the youtube video has an excellent approach.

Conclusion: Melody and counterpoint fused together are hallmarks of the Romantic era. In my opinion, Brahms is its outstanding representative.

Brahms – intermezzo op. 118 no. 4 – Samnon – YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fIM-2hq3f9E

Apr 1, 2011 – Uploaded by Tal-Haim Samnon

Brahms– intermezzo op118 no. 4 in f minor- Samnon. Tal-Haim Samnon was born in Tel Aviv in …

Liszt tempos are too quickly paced

Liszt Tempos are too Fast, said von Sauer

Liszt Tempos are too Fast According to von Sauer. Emil Georg Conrad von Sauer (8 October 1862 – 27 April 1942)[1] was a notable German composerpianist, score editor, and music (piano) teacher. He was a pupil of Franz Liszt.    Also, he one of the most distinguished pianists of his generation. Josef Hofmann called von Sauer “a truly great virtuoso.”[2] Martin Krause, another Liszt pupil, called von Sauer “the legitimate heir of Liszt. He has more of his charm and geniality than any other Liszt pupil.”[3]

 Emil von Sauer (1902)

Proof of the Liszt Tempos

So how is it that I know what Sauer said about Liszt’s music? From my own teacher, Mischa Kottler. He publicly made the statement in an interview for the Detroit Free Press/Sunday April 10, 1983. The featured picture is from the interview. I’ve saved the Sunday magazine section all these years.  The article was written by John Guinn/photos by Patricia Beck.  John Guinn was the Free Press music critic. Patricia Beck was a staff photographer. To make my point, I will quote a couple of sections:
  • “Kottler studied with Cortot in Paris, and then went to Vienna where he ended up studying with Emil von Sauer. Sauer had studied with Franz Liszt in Weimar in 1884-85. Liszt was a pupil of Carl Czerny, who studied three years with Beethoven himself.” Incidentally many of the techniques I learned from Mischa came from Beethoven. Reputedly, Beethoven invented the “prepared thumb” technique. I in turn pass this knowledge on to my own Sarasota piano students.
  • This is a direct quote from the interview: “Sauer told me everybody plays Liszt’s music too fast,” Kottler said. “there’s no reason to do that,” Sauer insisted-“Liszt didn’t.”

So where can you hear me play Liszt tempos not too fast? At the Crab and Fin Restaurant in Sarasota, Florida.

“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. After a 20 year absence from the piano scene in Sarasota, David Ohrenstein returns. Over that time he has been a regular in the Catskill Mountains of  New York and at the world famous Gasparilla Inn on the isle of Boca Grande. Now he entertains at the Crab and Fin Restaurant three days weekly: Monday evening from 6-10pm; Tuesday from 12:30 to 5 :30 p.m. Wednesday also from 12:30 to 5:30 PM. You can enjoy lunch, dinner or simply purchase a beverage and listen to my piano playing at this beautiful outdoor setting.  

I was also an arranger/accompanist for Rubinoff an His Violin. So I also play popular music beautifully. Rubinoff was the conductor and violin soloist of the orchestra at the Paramount Theater in New York and of Paramount pictures in Hollywood. When he conducted the Chicago Philharmonic in 1937, he played for 225,000 people. In addition, they turned away 25,000 people at the door. Hope to see you on St Armands Circle in Sarasota, Fl – David.  I play outdoors so check the weather. You could call me a “fair weather pianist.”

Map
  • Edit
    420 St Armands Cir
    Sarasota, FL 34236

 

Interesting repetition of the bass line.

Interesting Repetition With the Musical Canon by Pachelbel

Interesting Repetition With the Musical Canon by Pachelbel. . Since the 1980s, Pachelbel’s Canon has also been used frequently in weddings and funeral ceremonies  throughout the western world. It uses a continually repeating bass line. Off season in Florida (that means summertime), I extend my services for weddings.

Repetition has different levels of sophistication. In this present day and age, words are frequently repeated over and over. The word choice word  seems to be “baby”. Also, in today’s musical palette, four bars of music are often repeated over and over- like a chant. Simplistic chants are used in advertisements. They can hypnotize you into buying a product.

Interesting Repetition in Pachelbel’s Canon in D

Sarasota Wedding Pianist plays Pachelbel’s Canon – YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5m-IpXovpHk
1 day ago – Uploaded by Dso Works

Pianist David Ohrenstein plays Pachelbel’s Canon. Now available to play for Sarasota weddings. For more …

Pachelbel’s Canon combines the techniques of canon and ground bass. Canon is a polyphonic device in which several voices play the same music, entering in sequence. In Pachelbel’s piece, there are three voices engaged in canon (see Example 1), but there is also a fourth voice, the basso continuo, which plays an independent part.

Interesting repetition as the bass plays the same notes over and over underneath florid violins.
Interesting repetition becomes an art form in Pachelbel’s Canon in “D”

Example 1. The first 9 bars of the Canon in D. The violins play a three-voice canon over the ground bass to provide the harmonic structure. Colors highlight the individual canonic entries. The bass voice keeps repeating the same two-bar line throughout the piece. The common musical term for this is ostinato, or ground bass (see the example below).

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 Why is the Canon in “D” and the canon form so popular with weddings? The canon provided a grounded bass over which the music above changes and flows. A man and wife can change over the years. However, the sacredness of the wedding vows remain constant. They make the part of the grounded bass. The grounded by can be compared to the presence of the Divine.  Now is that beautiful, or what? I play  the Canon as part of my repertoire at the Crab and Fin Restaurant at St Armand’s Circle season outdoors on  Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. If it rains, no show! Check events on DSOworks.com for times.