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.
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:
“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.
Music Prolongs Life of Rubinoff and His Violin. I used the featured picture of the Gypsy Kings because they convey the joyfulness of older musicians in general. With music, all enjoy perpetual youth. My featured older musician is David Rubinoff. Dave Rubinoff (September 3, 1897, Grodno, Russian Empire, now Belarus – October 6, 1986), was a popular concert violinist who was also known for his Stradivarius violin. He purchased it in 1929 for $100,000. Now it is priceless.
I worked with Dave over a 15 year period. This was in the capacity of arranging and piano accompanying. This blog story has an air of mysticism. It doesn’t seem possible. It raises a question: Can music bring someone back from the edge of death’s door? First, I must explain the pocket watch Dave Rubinoff is holding in the above picture. I am standing next to him. Will Rogers and he were best of friends. Will gave him the pocket watch. Will had a poetry excerpt by Robert H. Smith engraved on back. It is called The Clock of Life. Dave read the poem at every concert to an appreciative audience.
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.
The present only is our own,
So live, love, toil with a will,
Place no faith in “Tomorrow,”
For the Clock may then be still.”
Music Prolongs Life of Rubinoff for our Pittsburgh Concert
Darlene Rubinoff, documented her husbands life in the book, Dance of the Russian Peasant. He dictated the book in general to her. She gave it the finishing touches. I now quote: “I was 88 years old. Don Baretti book me on a concert. It was sponsored by the Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company. I had just been released from the hospital after suffering from pneumonia.” Darlene told me (David Ohrenstein) “I’m afraid you’ll have to do this concert by yourself.”
The rest of the story goes: I had flown in to Columbus, Ohio so we could practice the concert. Rubinoff stated: “”I summoned all my strength, got out of bed, dressed and was standing, violin in hand when Dave and Darlene arrived from the airport.” Here’s he’s enthusiasm: He said to me- We”ll start with Fiddler on the Roof not waiting for him (me) to remove his jacket. He smiled shook my hand, and we began to practice.”
” Darlene made me sit down for the rest of our practice. I was just out of the hospital three days, suffering from pneumonia. I was still spitting blood.”
How did the concert at Pittsburgh Wintergarden Plaza end? Literally, the audience went wild with applause. Rubinoff lived. We gave many more concerts together. Yes, music prolongs life! Learn to play. By the way, I have room for 1 or 2 piano students in Sarasota.