Special arranging was shunned by Beethoven

Special Arranging was Not Beethoven’s Cup of Tea!

Special Arranging was Not Beethoven’s Cup of Tea!  Beethoven loved receiving inspiration.  He would stroll in the woods for this purpose.  He also created his music of grand sentiment. For example:  Symphony No.5 deals with the struggle and the joy of victory.  “The Pastoral symphony” represents the expression of the love he held for  for nature.  However, he refused to make special arrangements for specific instruments once the work was composed. Of course, his editors took up the slack. His publishers hired arrangers through their own publishing houses. The end result was Beethoven sold more copies and made more money. This happens when you increase your potential buyers.

What Exactly is Special Arranging?

I will define arranging by a joke. It circulated in the entertainer’s old haven- the Catskill Mountains. Below is a picture of Oquaga Lake, It is perched high in the Catskills.  I was the house pianist at Scott’s Oquaga Lake House for some 17 years. As such, I accompanied many Catskill comedians and professionals.  Harry Carlyle often told this story:

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This lucky song bird has an arranger!

“A man walks by a pet shop in the summer. Its windows are open. He hears a canary singing. The man walks in and says to the pet shop owner: “I love the song of this canary. How much does she cost?” The pet shop owner says, “”five dollars”. “That’s all, the man answers, I’ll take her!”. The pet shop owner says,”Wait a minute.” Do you see that ugly, scraggly, looking bird over there? The man answers, “yes”. “The owner says, “When you buy her, you have to buy him. And, he’s $100.00 dollars”. The man looks up in a state of puzzlement: “Why should I buy that ugly, scraggly bird over there for $100.00 when I can have this beautiful songbird for $5.00?” The pet shop own answers: “He’s the arranger!.”

 

Scott's Oquaga Lake House where I heard this special arranging joke.
Scott’s Oquaga Lake House where I also made many arrangements for comedians, singers, etc.

 

 

Incidentally, in between jobs I offer piano lessons in Sarasota.

 

Banned Music was part of the politics

Banned Music in Old Russia is Featured Our Operetta

Banned Music in  Old Russia is Featured Our Operetta. Wife Sharon and myself (David) wrote a musical.  Once titled Elizabeth of Russia.  Half Peasant – Half Royal is the new name.  We had a marvelous costumed staged reading in Sarasota Florida at the Players Theater.  Below are YouTube videos: The entire cast sings the Drinking Song  (since,more universal lyrics have been penned).  In 1740, ethnic Russian music was banned from court.  As an act of rebellion against the ruling regime, Elizabeth brings in the following entertainment:  The Dance of the Cossacks – performed by principle dancers from the Sarasota Ballet.  And, Dance of The Russian Peasant played on a Stradivarius flown in from Houston.  The link below has composer Rubinoff and his Violin playing that piece.  Sharon wrote the book and lyrics. I wrote the music.  It is copyrighted.

Elizabeth of Russia – Drinking Song – YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ymHT-2qiPEc
Dec 17, 2007 – Uploaded by Rudder3218

Lesley and Ohrenstein’s Elizabeth of Russia follows in the tradition of the great Broadway hits South Pacific …

Elizabeth of Russia – Dance of the Cossacks – YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rrnpBQEA9FgÊ
Sep 4, 2007 – Uploaded by Rudder3218

Lesley and Ohrenstein’s Elizabeth of Russia follows in the tradition of the great Broadway hits South Pacific …

But first, with regards to the featured medallion picture:   This medallion is dated and signed on the back by Gregory Musikiiskii, the first Russian painter of portrait miniatures. It can be compared to an earlier enamel painting of Peter the Great with his family, now in the Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg, executed by the same artists in 1717. Here, the Russian emperor is depicted together with his wife Catherine, his three daughters Anna, Elizabeth (the future empress and subject of our musical. She is reclining on  her mother.) and Natalia, and his grandson Peter (the future Peter II). Musikiiskii was transferred from the Moscow Kremlin Armory to St. Petersburg to work for the court of Peter the Great, the founder of modern Russia.

What About the Banned Music in Old Russia?

Our new title unravels and hopefully will solve the problems we had with our production.  Elizabeth of Russia, in fact, was half peasant and half royal. She fell in love with a peasant. He was reputed to have one of the most magnificent singing voices in Russia at the time. Unfortunately, the combination of the two together made them 3/4 peasant and 1/4 royal. So what was the problem with Russian secular music?

  • Early czars considered secular music to be a highly suspicious activity. Weapons could easily be hidden in instrumental cases.
  • Thus, no musical instruments of any sort were allowed in church or at court.
  • They instructed peasants to stop singing folk songs. Common people, of course, are the source of folk songs.
  • Troubadours (travelling minstrel singers) were forbidden in old Russia. The czars worried that they would sing seditious songs.
  • Thus, for the ruling elite, the act of Elizabeth falling in love with  “lowborn peasant singer” was unacceptable.

In violation of the above, a case enclosed an authentic Stradivarius violin is brought and is played on stage at a court party.  It has the official crest of the Russian empire. It is set with diamonds and rubies.  The theatrical audience went wild with excitement.  How did we come by it? I worked with Rubinoff and His Violin. His widow, Dame Darlene Rubinoff, flew the violin from Houston. It was the Stradivarius that had previously belonged to Czar Nicholas II. Now for the first time, enjoy Rubinoff himself playing his featured violin solo, Dance of the Russian Peasant. Pictures in this youtube background highlight both his life and his friendship with Sharon and myself. Feel free to share this special post with with friends. We are looking to do a full production.

Rubinoff and his Violin – Dance of the Russian Peasant – YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h_wn9SfNdp4

 

 

Richard Addinsell with Rubinoff and His Violin

Richard Addinsell With Rubinoff and His Violin

Richard Addinsell With Rubinoff and His Violin. I worked for over 15 years with violin maestro, David Rubinoff. Dave was a man with passion plus. This was not only for music, but for life. Dave was born into extreme poverty in Kiev, Russia. The year was 1897. Violin was his ticket to success. How did his success transpire? Victor Herbert was on sabbatical in Warsaw, Poland. He heard  David play a student recital at the Warsaw Conservatory. Paderewski was the headmaster.

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Polish pianist, Ignace Paderewski, head of the Warsaw Conservatory,

Here’s the tie in with the Richard Addinsell: Warsaw was close to Rubinoff’s heart. Dave loved the sentiment and music of the Warsaw Concerto.  The music was composed a British film:  Dangerous Moonlight. The subject is the Polish struggle against the 1939 invasion by Nazis. One of Dave’s most memorable moments is in the featured picture. He consulted with the  Addinsell for his violin/piano arrangement. I will be playing piano from the same Rubinoff score this winter. Management just rebuilt their vintage Steinway grand at the Gasparilla Inn. The finest parts were ordered from Germany. It is situated in the dining room. Hear me play it. I am booked at the Inn by the Jay Goodley Group in Sarasota. My contract is 6 nights weekly from Christmas to Easter.

Herbert Places Rubinoff on the Path to Success that also Led Him to Meet with Richard Addinsell

Victor Herbert declared, “Son, you belong to America.” He brought young David and his entire family to the United States. David apprenticed with Victor Herbert in Pittsburgh. Herbert was the conductor of the Pittsburgh Philharmonic. Rubinoff apprenticed his musical art with his benefactor. Dave told me countless stories about Herbert’s Sunday musical get togethers. Dave, for a while actually resided with Victor Herbert. He was able to socialize with John Phillip Sousa, the great tenor-Carouso, Andrew Carnegie…Sousa told Rubinoff to take good music to the public schools. Years later, Dave and I (Dave Ohrenstein) did this throughout the Sarasota area.

Victor August Herbert (February 1, 1859 – May 26, 1924) was an Irish-born, German-raised American composercellist and conductor. Although Herbert enjoyed important careers as a cello soloist and conductor, he is best known for composing many successful operettas.  Many 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).

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Imagine living and apprenticing with this great composer/conductor Victor Herbert.  Cover from The Fortune Teller.

By the way, Rubinoff told me about how Victor Herbert composed while standing by his lectern. I guess conductors are used to standing. Keep checking DSOworks.com for new posts. By the way, a have 1 or 2 openings for piano students in Sarasota.

 

Keyboard consideration was quite flexible for J.S. Bach

Careless Music Editors Point the Wrong Way

Careless Music Editors Point the Wrong Way. I am a proud graduate of Cass Technical High School in Detroit. The school was a four-year university preparatory high school in Midtown Detroit, United States.[2][3] The school is named in honor of Lewis Cass, an American military officer and politician who served as governor of the Michigan Territory from 1813 until 1831. The school is a part of Detroit Public Schools. In the 1960’s Cass Tech two major musical curriculum. Both were college prep. The school had some 30 college prep courses of study. You could even major in aeronautics. We actually had an airplane in one of the rooms that you could work on for assembly or repair.  In the music courses the  students were wise to editors. We all spoke of a professional frustration cycle. It went from soloist to conductor to editor. Editors, we half-jokingly said, wanted to get revenge on everyone else. Obviously, they couldn’t be successful at the first two professions. Not bad for high school kids!

Careless music editors were bantered about at this High School in Detroit
My High School Alma mater was Cass Technical High School in Detroit

J.S. Bach omitted placing tempo, phrasing or dynamics in his works. Over zealous editors quickly stepped in.  I quote Edward Hughes from G. Schirmer  & Co. I think he is one of the good ones. Edwin Hughes taught at the Ganapol School of Musical Art in Detroit from 1910 to 1912, the Volpe Institute of Music in New York from 1916 to 1917, and the Institute of Musical Art in New York from 1918 to 1923. He lectured at various schools. From 1920 to 1926 he was special editor of piano music for G. Schirmer, Inc. He toured widely in the USA and Europe after the close of World War I; performed duo-recitals with his wife, the pianist Jewel Bethany Hughes, and also gave master-classes. He also had opinions about careless music editors.

Careless Music Editors Over-Edit

I am currently working on the Bach Prelude and Fugue in A minor. It is transcribed for piano by Franz Liszt. Publisher is G. Schirmer Inc. Hughes humbly states about his editing: “The phrasing is to be regarded more as indicative than complete. Of himself he states “There is no desire to appear arbitrary in matters of pedaling, touch and so forth. Also bear in mind: “In the democracy of art there is no final authority on such subjects.” I think these are the words of a great man.

Finally, if anyone is interested I have  I have one or two openings for piano students in Sarasota.

Mischa and I in our Sarasota Home
My instructor, Mischa Kottler, studied with Emil von Sauer- a pupil of Franz Liszt. I acquired a Master of Music degree from Wayne State University under Mischa.

Musical Transcriptions Were One of Bach’s Priorities

Musical Transcriptions Were One of Bach’s Priorities. However, he often transcribed his own works. Most think of transcription by people other than the original composer. For example, Franz Liszt transcribed some of Bach’s organ works for the piano. In fact, Liszt wrote transcriptions for piano of a wide variety of music. Indeed, about half of his composing work (approximately 400 out of 800 items) are arrangements of music by other composers.[52]

Musical transcriptions contributed to Liszt's popularity.
Liszt give the musical public what they wanted- musical transcriptions

During the period 1730-1733 Bach wrote seven concertos for harpsichord and strings. Most were musical transcriptions from his own violin concertos. Bach had a passion for transcriptions. He seemed to be never satisfied with any definitive version of his musical output.  I quote Wanda Landowski in her book, On Music: “His versatile and restless spirit refused to be limited to the use of any one particular instrument or even to instruments in general.”

Reason for Musical Transcriptions

What other reason can there be for writing a composition for different instruments? Perhaps business. It allows you to sell more copies.Instead of selling to only violinists, you can , also sell music to other instrumentalists. Also transcriptions makes a person popular with the public. If they enjoy a particular  work, they can also hear it played by a piano player. Liszt became rich enough to help many composers of his time.  Yes he was a great pianist. However, I feel his transcriptions propelled him to the top and gave him the reputation of being the greatest.

For years I worked as a transcriber for Rubinoff and His Violin. He too made a fortune.  He called me his best arranger in his lifetime of performing. Enjoy our concert at Scott’s Oquaga Lake House. We gave it in 1984. Witness the audience going wild over a violinist at age 87. I am playing the piano. Also, see for yourself what a difference arrangements can make. Also I have one or two openings for piano lessons in Sarasota.

44:13

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

Lesley & Ohrenstein
986 views
Bach keyboard preference is the harpsichord

Bach Keyboard Preference- Proof is Quite Surprising

Bach Keyboard Preference- Proof is Quite Surprising. We will consider the harpsichord v. the clavichord. All kinds of keyboard falsehoods were spread in the 19th century. Inaccuracies affected keyboard virtuosos, piano teachers and, of course,  instrument builders.

During Bach’s later years,  a new style began brewing.The new style rebelled against counterpoint.  J.S. Bach’s son, Karl Philipp Emanuel, was in favor of change. He advocated the galant style. In music, galant refers to the style which was fashionable from the 1720’s to the 1770’s. The clavichord was well suited to the galant style. This movement featured return to simplicity. It advocated immediacy of appeal.  The style ignored the complexity of the late Baroque era. This meant simpler, more song-like melodies. The sweeter and quieter sound of the clavichord was suited to this style.  The style had decreased use of polyphony.  It favored short, periodic phrases. Harmonic vocabulary was quite limited. It emphasized the tonic and dominant triads. A clear distinction was made between soloist and accompaniment.

Bach Keyboard Preference Favors the Harpsichord

Bach keyboard preference
There is a world of difference between a harpsichord and a clavichord.

No matter how ingrained a style may seem, its life is limited. Of course, that rule applies to today: It holds for popular styles in America as well as the rest of the world. Consider this: In Baroque times  many composers wrote sweet or expressive music for the harpsichord. They included Rameau, Couperin and Frescobaldi. Titles, for example, included: Les Tendres Plaints, La Reine des Coeurs, Canzone, etc. However, Bach also composed music of force and fury. That was more suited to the harpsichord. The harpsichord was flexible. It could be either sweet sounding or furious,

Proof Positive of the Bach Keyboard Preference

After Bach’s death an actual inventory of musical instruments in his home was made.  In the realm of keyboard instruments he had: (1) Five harpsichords. (2) One spinet. (3) He even gave three-pedal harpsichords to Johann Christian before his death. In the inventory not even one clavichord is mentioned. The value of his harpsichords amounted to one-third the value of his entire estate. The entire estate was valued at 1122 rt. 16 gr. My source is Landowska on Music:Collected, edited and translated by Denise Restout assisted by Robert Hawkins. Conclusion: Every keyboard has a personality in the same manner as every person. Incidentally, I have a few openings for piano lessons in Sarasota.

Bach Keyboard Preference:picture of Wanda Landowska on DSOworks
Wanda Landowska
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.

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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.

 

 

 

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

Wartburg-Laute.02.JPG
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.

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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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