High Stepping on the Steinway Piano at World Class Gasparilla Inn. I feel like I have a special connection with Steinway grand pianos. My primary teacher on piano was Mischa Kottler. He kept two Steinway grands in his studio. For my lessons, I played on one. He accompanied and demonstrated on the other. What kind of teacher was Mischa? I quote Greg Philliganes in Keyboard Magazine.
High Stepping with Mischa Kottler
From work with Stevie Wonder while still in his teens, to tours and recordings with Quincy Jones, Michael Jackson, Eric Clapton, and Toto, Phillinganes’ massive discography reads like a “Who’s Who” of pop music, encompassing four decades.
From Greg Philliganes’ interview in Keyboard Magazine
“Sensing that I needed discipline more than anything else, my Mom managed to hook me up with a wonderful teacher named Mischa Kottler. He was a no-nonsense Russian Jewish guy who could crack a pane of glass with one finger. He was a complete badass, and he cooled my attitude out immediately. I studied with him well into my teens.
What kinds of things were you studying with him?
I was studying technique and classical repertoire. He taught me a certain way of playing that I still use to this day: a sense of evenness where your wrists aren’t loose or moving up and down. It’s a totally linear way of playing, where there’s even movement in both hands so your wrists stay perfectly still. Mischa would take two fingers and weigh them down on my wrists to keep them from moving. He instilled a sense of dexterity and definition in my playing. If I’m known for my speed and precision, it’s probably due to Mischa more than anything else.
I also have Mischa to thank for instilling in me speed and precision. He also instilled in me the desired to look for the “truth” in music. What is the music really about? How do you convey it? Again, thanks to Mischa, I have year round employment. . Until Dec 18, I will be at the Crab and Fin in Sarasota. See events on DSOworks.com. Then, Gasparilla from Dec. 19- April 1 2018 for six nights weekly. I play on a newly rebuilt Steinway Grand. The parts were special ordered from Germany. In between, my wonderful agent Fitz Otis at Jay Goodley Entertainment Group books me any other time I am available. My advice to students: Work hard. Be serious. And yes, I have a couple of openings for piano lessons in Sarasota.
Unraveling Codes of Lost Civilizations. An enigmatic code was once prevalent. It is definitely prehistoric. So how did I find out about it, you might ask? First, I always was curious as to what is the source of everything. Many say, “Our Creator” or “God”. That being true, is there a preferred medium or tool that “Our Creator” uses? Here is the story about how I discovered God’s preferred Creation tool.
The Oquaga Spirit Provided the Knowledge for Unraveling Codes of Lost Civilizations
In upstate New York we find many beautiful lakes. Oquaga Lake is some 25 miles east of Binghamton, NY. I worked for some 15 summer/fall seasons at Scott’s Oquaga Lake House. I was their “house piano player.”
At one time a matriarchal American Indian tribe lived around the lake. They were the Lennie Lenape. This spirit took a liking to me. I went for walks around the lake. She’d talk my ear off. The spirit dictated volumes of poetry. The 1st book was “The Book of Balance.” Then came “The Oquaga Spirit Speaks.” Then came The Staff of God volumes I and II. Her discourse on love is entitled “Ahav” The Creed of Love”. Finally came The Sacred Engineers’ Philosophy: The Pinnacle of Thought in the Unified Culture of Ancient Builders. This spirit not only revealed hidden codes, but directed my search. God’s preferred tool for creation was the seven number squares of antiquity. The first and most complex of the group is also the simplest. It is the standard 3 x 3 number square pictured below. Unity for all mankind is found in this square of numbers. The Chinese call it The Lo Shu. Christ and his Disciples called it the “Grain of Mustard Seed.” It holds the plan for sacred temples for most religions around the world. Its understanding heralds a new Golden Age. Read and reread all posts on DSOworks.com. All have easy and free access. See the front page. Oh yes, I have room for a few piano students in Sarasota.
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.
Ludwig II (German: Ludwig Otto Friedrich Wilhelm; English: Louis Otto Frederick William; 25 August 1845 – 13 June 1886) 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.
Significant Rests determine Wedding or Funeral. Does a composer write rests into his music or not? If he does, the rests have a very specific function. They add lightness or breathing space into the music. We would expect a lack of rests in a funeral march due to its somber nature. On the other hand, we would expect rests in a Bridal Chorus. On the basic level: A funeral is a sad and heavy occasion = few, if any rests. A wedding is lighter and definitely joyful. We would expect quite a number of rests. Significant rests, and other factors determine the difference. One of the most tradition funeral marches was written by Chopin. While, the most traditional wedding march for the processional was written by Wagner.
Frédéric Chopin‘s Piano Sonata No. 2 in B♭ minor, Op. 35, popularly known as the Funeral March, was completed in 1839 at Nohant, near Châteauroux in France. However, the third movement, whence comes the sonata’s common nickname, had been composed as early as 1837. It was played at the graveside during Chopin’s own burial at Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.
Wagner wrote a bridal chorus in Lohengrin. It uses a similar opening rhythm to Chopin’s Funeral March. The basic pattern of Chopin‘s motif is (1) quarter note, (2) dotted eighth, followed by (3) a 16th note, and another (quarter note). However, the musical motif of Wagner‘s wedding march lightens the mood with two rests. They are the 8th and 16th note rests in the featured picture. I suggest the pianist observe these rules when playing for either occasion:
When performing the wedding march, release the damper pedal during the rests. This pedal adds heaviness to the music and the occasion. Rather, let the rests come through and punctuate the melody.
Conversely, when playing the funeral march plenty of damper pedal is just fine.
Yes, I am available as a pianist for all occasions.
Proper Musical Rendition Has Multiple Choices. For this blog I reference one of my favorite books, Inside Music by Karl Haas. Karl Haas (December 6, 1913 – February 6, 2005) was a German-American classical musicradio host, known for his sonorous speaking voice, humanistic approach to music appreciation, and popularization of classical music. He was the host of the classical music radio program Adventures in Good Music, which was syndicated to commercial and public radio stations around the world. He also published the book Inside Music.I grew up in Detroit. Karl Haas was one of the Detroit’s musical luminaries. When I started to play the piano at age 11, I composed a piano concerto in Eb minor (six flats). Also, at my 1st year piano recital I played the entire Moonlight Sonata by Beethoven from memory. I still play it at on St Armand’s Circle at the Crab and Fin Restaurant. See events on DSOworks.
After this initial start, my father then took me to Karl Haas for an interview. Haas was giving some piano lessons to a few students. He was getting busy with his radio program on WJR in Detroit so he recommended that I go to Mischa Kottler. Kottler was the head of the piano department at Wayne State University. I also began a 20 year association with Rubinoff and his Violin through the college. Here’s how it happened: I had just completed a piano lesson with Mischa . Mischa had his studio next door to the Liberal Arts Music Office. Rubinoff called the office as a was walking past. He was looking for an accompanist/arranger. Professor Morris Hochberg summoned me in to talk with Rubinoff. The rest is history.
By special request, here is a story about Rubinoff And His Violin – The Fascination Waltz (1905) and how he approached the music with style and finesse.
Proper Musical Rendition and Rubinoff and His Violin
Karl Haas states in Inside Music that a performer must always question the validity of the “subjective tastes of the editor.” That even applies to fingering. He tells a story about studying a Beethoven Sonata under the guidance of famed German pianist Artur Schnabel. Karl found the fingering extremely difficult that Schnabel penciled into the score. On questioning Schnabel, he replied: the fingering was simply ” a prompter to try ways by yourself in order to find the one best suited to your digital needs.”
Rubinoff both questioned and interpreted music in countless ways. Typically he would try difference rhythms, as I explain in the youtube video. He would change phrasing: Which notes to emphasize, or which to drop off on. The point is, the public loved his interpretations. If the proof of the pudding is in the tasting, his pudding was great. Some years in the 1930’s he could make $500,000.00.
Conclusion: Success in music, as well as in in other disciplines, is based on questioning and analyzing the subject at hand in great depth for proper musical rendition.
Ancient Burial Sites Used the Perfect Fifth Ratio 3/2. Many Neolithic cultures placed the numbers of harmonious ratios of musical intervals into their buildings and environment. How can musical intervals possibly apply to burial sites? What was the purpose of seeking harmonious intervals for interment? Where and when did this happen?
The tradition belongs to yin-yang concept of the ancient Chinese
The ideal was the 3/2 ratio. Three parts yang to 2 parts yin. 3/2 defines the musical interval of a perfect fifth. The higher note vibrates 3 times; for 2 of the lower.
The tradition characterizes ancient burial sites in China. I found what I thought was such a location in Wiki commons. It is pictured as the ALMATY, KAZAKHSTAN. See featured pictured above.
The fifth has always been considered a perfect interval. In Western music, intervals are most commonly differences between notes of a diatonic scale. The smallest of these intervals is a semitone. In music, an interval ratio is a ratio of the frequencies of the pitches in a musical interval. For example, a justperfect fifth (for example C to G) is 3:2. There are only 3 perfect intervals in our scale system. They are the octave, fourth and fifth. They are called perfect for the following reason: They vibrate in whole number ratios from 1 to 4. They sound the most harmonious. Major and minor intervals vibrate with higher number integers. Note the following list:
The interval between C and D is a major 2nd (major second).
The interval between C and E is a major 3rd (major third).
The interval between C and F is a perfect 4th (perfect fourth).
The interval between C and G is a perfect 5th (perfect fifth).
The interval between C and A is a major 6th (major sixth).
The interval between C and B is a major 7th (major seventh).
The interval between C and C is a perfect 8th (perfect octave).
Ancient Burial Sites share the 3 to 2 Perfect 5th ratio with other disciplines
(1) Microbiotic cooking uses the 3/2 ratio for healing. It advocates 3 foods that grow above the ground in addition to 2 that grow under.
(2) Chinese geomancers detect yang and yin currents. Yang is the blue dragon, Yin is the white tiger. Yang current takes the path over steep mountains. Yin mainly flows over chains of low hills. Most favored is where 2 streams meet surrounded by three parts yang and 2 parts yin. That was the spot where Chinese ancient burial sites were built.
Chinese believed that proper burial of ancestors controlled the course of the surviving family’s fortune. Great dynasties are said to have arisen from proper placement of tombs. Also, the 1st action of a government facing rebellion was to destroy the family burial grounds of the revolutionary leaders.
If Ancient Burial Sites are Beyond You, Here’s a Simple Musical Exercise to Help Your Health and Fortune
Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star incessantly uses the interval of the perfect fifth. So does Baa, Baa Black Sheep. Sing the first 4 notes of each. With both nursery rhymes, the interval between the 2nd and 3rd notes is a perfect fifth. You have your choice: (1) Sing the first four notes over and over, Or (2) simply and just sing the 2nd and 3rd notes over and over. Another choice is take piano lessons. Play Mozart.
Neolithic Number Eight Permeates the Great Pyramid of Egypt. Also the modern piano keyboard. Here’s how.
First use of eight (8). The featured picture illustrates an octahedron. It is a symmetrical, eight-faced, triangulated figure. All angles at their corners are 60°. Bisect the featured picture across the square at the center. The bisected octahedron then becomes two square based pyramids. The above I call the positive. The below I call the negative. All square base pyramids imply an attached equal and opposite pyramid. The mere existence of any square base pyramid, implies a counterpart. Granted, the Great Pyramid of Egypt has differing angles. It uses isosceles triangles. But, the extra four reverse-faced pyramid is still implied. When they are joined, the square bases become internal. They literally disappear. There no longer is a separated square base. We have our first usage eight. As, 4 faces (postive) + 4 (negative) faces = 8.
2nd Usage of Neolithic Number Eight
Each side of the square base measures 440 shorter Egyptian cubits. Shorter cubits are 1.718…feet. A more encompassing measure is the Great Cubit. It measures 55 shorter Egyptian cubits. Thus each side of the Great Pyramid of Egypt is 8 Great Cubits. 440⁄ 8 = 55. Reference John Michell, The View Over Atlantis. Therefore the Great Pyramid is 8 x 8 Great Cubits.
Neolithic Number Eight and Musical Octaves on the Piano Keyboard
Last, but not least. We will tie the Great Pyramid into concert note A-440 and its octaves. Its essential measures come from octaves of the concert note A 440. A higher octave doubles the vibrations per second. The lower octave cuts them in half. The lowest note on the 88-keyed piano is “A”. It vibrates 27.5 times per second. On the Steinway below, it is the furthest note to the left.
The musical keyboard of a Steinway concert grand piano
Here’s the connection. The height of the Great Pyramid is 275 cubits. Neolithic builders freely multiplied and divided by 10’s. This is because 10 ten was considered a synthetic number in antiquity. Reason: It totaled any two opposite numbers on the 3 x 3 number square. Diagram is below. 4 + 6 = 10. Or, 9 + 1 = 10. Etc. We now have the following:
The note A, underneath Steinway’s name, vibrates 440/per second.
The lowest note on the piano, also an “A” vibrates 27.5 /second.
The length of any side of the square base on the pyramid is 440 cubits.
The height of the truncated Great Pyramid of Egypt is 275 cubits
Learning Piano With Mischa Kottler Thanks to My Dad. This blog is in memory of my father. Much of the content will be in my eulogy for my father, Bernard Ohrenstein. He just passed away at age 97. Dad was from Poland. He was a survivor from four years in the camps.
My father saw I had a flare for piano and composing. This was at age 11. He did everything possible to nurture that. I began composing as soon as we got the piano. He arranged for a solo concert of my eastern European flavored music at the local synagogue in Detroit. I was 12 years old when I played the concert. Later that year wrote a musical play. He arranged for a presentation with renowned Detroit Mi and Louisville Ky cantor, Joseph Birnholtz. I had been studying piano with a Mrs. Foster. At my 1st year recital I played the entire Moonlight Sonata by Beethoven from memory.
Learning Piano With Mischa Kottler
Dad then took me to the best, Mischa Kottler. Mischa was considered the finest teacher and prima piano player of Detroit. He headed the piano department at Wayne State University. He was the official pianist of the Detroit Symphony. He had his own radio program with WJR, On it, he played a different program every Sunday. My father paid for my college education and piano lessons with Mischa.
It gets better: When 1st accepted by Mischa, you were placed on a waiting list. Lessons could even be 2 months apart. So what did my father do? Being a jeweler, he made a solid gold ring. He then sent the ring to Italy to finest craftsman. The head of Beethoven was carved intaglio on a sardonyx stone. Beethoven was set into the ring. My father’s plan worked. I got regular piano lessons. Mischa wore the ring at every concert he gave. It was his pride and joy. So what came of my learning piano with Mischa?
Even at my current age, I play six nights weekly at the Gasparilla Inn. There, I’ve entertained two American Presidents. Guests have also included members of the British House of Lords. I am currently completing my 8th year.
I married a wonderful book writer-lyricist, Sharon Ohrenstein. Together, we write and produce shows. Below are short youtube samples. They are from our newest show entitled, Golden Roads. Thanks to my dad (and mom, of course) I’ve had a wonderful life filled with love and music. My advise to parents with children: Do any of the following: Give them piano lessons. Teach them to sing; or, to play any other instrument. Joy for everyone will follow. Feel free to share this with friends.
Having Fun Playing Piano on Main Street. My gosh, it’s like the good old days. Back to the 1960’s when everyone wanted a piano player. In the 60’s I was already playing piano professionally. At the time, I was living in Detroit. For years I was the Sunday brunch pianist at the Oakland Hills Country Club. They held the PGA’s there. That also included house parties galore. I was once told that the two best things about the club were (1) The recent addition of sirloin steak to the brunch menu. (2) My piano playing. I enjoyed playing contrasting numbers. People loved it. Frequently I would play Scott Jopin’s, The Entertainer, This would be followed by Chopin’s Nocturne in Eb (theme from the Eddie Duchin Story). My piano style was described as having sartorial eloquence. Thank the Good Lord, after all these years, I’m still ably playing for fun or at sartorially eloquent places. I am just completed my 8th winter season having fun playing piano at the Gasparilla Inn.
18th Hole at Oakland Hills Country Club (South) (498 Yard Par 5)
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sartorial It’s easy to uncover the root of sartorial. Just strip off the suffix -ial and you discover the Latin noun sartor, meaning “tailor” (literally, “one who patches or mends”). It can be used for many descriptions as: The wedding party arrived in sartorial splendor.
Having fun playing piano at the Gasparilla Inn on the isle of Boca Grande, Fl
I strongly identify with the “father of the symphony orchestra”, Joseph Haydn. He was the court musician, conductor and composer for the Austrian family, the Esterhazys. The Austrian prince passed away. Then the king of England employed Haydn. The composer accepted a lucrative offer from Johann Peter Salomon, a German violinist and impresario. Haydn then visited England. There he conducted new symphonies with a large orchestra.
The choice was a sensible one because Haydn was already a very popular composer there. Since the death of Johann Christian Bach in 1782, Haydn’s music had dominated the concert scene in London; “hardly a concert did not feature a work by him” (Jones). Haydn’s work was widely distributed by publishers in London, including Forster (who had their own contract with Haydn) and Longman & Broderip (who served as agent in England for Haydn’s Vienna publisher Artaria). Efforts to bring Haydn to London had been undertaken since 1782, though Haydn’s loyalty to Prince Nikolaus had prevented him from accepting.
Haydn, of course, wrote the London Symphony as a thank you to the British king. I am also a composer. Frequently I play my own music. One of the favorites is my own theme and variations on “Aura Lee.” Elvis turned it into Love Me Tender, I have been working at the Gasparilla Inn for the last 8 years. Like Joseph Haydn, I suggest to all artists seeking employment: Follow the rules of etiquette. Perhaps that is also a good rule for anyone seeking employment.Below is a picture of some of the “royalty” that have stayed at the Inn. I’m there 6 nights weekly through Easter.
Minute Waltz Glimpse of Chopin’ Genius. When a genius creates, everything he or she does is great. Such is the piano music of Frederic Chopin. The Minute waltz has a touching story attached to it. It was inspired by a dog. The dog belonged to his muse and girlfriend, George Sand.
The “Minute Waltz” is the nickname for the Waltz in D flat major, Op. 64, No. 1 by Frederic Chopin. It was written in 1847. It is a piece of music for the piano. It is sometimes called “The Waltz of the Little Dog” (French: Valse du petit chien). This is because Chopin was watching a little dog chase its tail when he wrote it. The little dog was “Marquis”. He belonged to Chopin’s friend George Sand. Marquis had befriended Chopin. The composer mentioned Marquis in several of his letters. In one letter dated 25 November 1846, Chopin wrote: “Please thank Marquis for missing me and for sniffing at my door.”
The waltz was published by Breitkopf & Härtel. It was the first of three waltzes in a collection of waltzes called Trois Valses, Op. 64. The publisher gave the waltz its popular nickname “Minute”. The tempo marking is Molto vivace (English: Very fast, very lively), but Chopin did not intend the waltz to be played in one minute as some believe. A typical performance will last between one and a half to two and a half minutes.
The Complex Rhythms of the Minute Waltz Revealed
Just take a look at my 5 measure excerpt above for this:
The treble staff has the 2 beat motif of four eighth notes in measures 1 and 2. The motif is repeated many times during the waltz.
The scale that follows in has 8 eighth notes. They cover 4 beats.
Measures 4 and 5 have a dotted quarter note beginning each measure. The entails 1½ beats each.
Also in 4 and 5, following the dotted quarter are 3 eighth notes. Each 3 note phrase lasts for 1½ beats.
Finally, against all this melodic complexity, we find a steady 1-2-3 beat in the left hand. It takes the form of “Bass-chord-chord.”
So Where Can I Hear David (this blogger) Play Chopin’s Minute waltz?
I am still booked six days a week through April 14 at the Gasparilla Inn. It is on the Florida isle of Boca Grande. There I get my choice of 2 vintage steinway Grand pianos. I played in the “living room” from 6:20 to 7:00 pm. Then I go in the dining room and play from 7 – 9 pm. See you there.