Downpours Inspire Creativity for Music and Poetry. Ah, Gardens in the Rain by Claude Debussy. How refreshing. Debussy was an impressionist. He featured French Folksongs in this magnificent opus. He was proud of his French heritage. Nowhere is this more apparent than in his Gardens in the Rain. It gives the impression of being in a country cottage during a rainfall. When I hear most pianists play it, I feel like it should be titled: Gardens in a Tornado. I have a saying that call on three “T’s” Tempo should be Tempered With Taste. This is especially true when playing the music of Debussy. I hope to post myself playing Gardens in the Rain soon. For now I’ll share another recording. Here is a regal medieval dance called the Sarabande by Debussy. It uses majestic triple meter. This means 3 beats to a measure. The order is strong, weak, weak over and over. However in the masterful hands of Debussy, two beats to a measure are often inferred. I hope you can hear my bringing out the groupings of twos and threes. In the hands of the French composer Claude Debussy, measure lines merely become a marker as time going by.
Downpours Inspire Creativity for Me in the Catskill Mountains of New York
Downpours often inspired me to write poetry in the Catskill Mountains. Rain in the mountains is especially fascinating. While the entire youtube video below is about 12 minutes. After 6:24 seconds my poem, Like a Mountain Be appears. It celebrates the featured topic: Downpours Inspire Creativity.
Sample David, reciting his poetry, on the front page thumbnail of DSOworks.com. Click on picture trail to purchase the book on the site.
Finally my contribution to the “Downpour” repetorie: El Nino in Sarasota features a continuous rainfall with the perpetual motion Spanish rhythms on the piano. This work was written while watching an all day downpour. Very few have the technique required to play the double stops. Click on “El Nino” below.
Wind Song Players in Concert under Maestro Edmond Demattia. Ed is the founder and conductor of a new musical group. They are called the Wind Song Players. The trio consists of:
Ed Demattia on the oboe.
David Ohrenstein on the piano.
Sharon Ohrenstein, vocals.
They are offering a free concert. It is on April 23, Sunday at 3:oo pm. Location is the Fountains of Hope. It is at 1560 Jesus Way in Sarasota, Florida. This is behind the Church of Hope in a new facility. The concert is free. All are welcome. Call 941-316-6487 for more information.
So, firstly, who is Ed Demattia? A Founder and President of the National Concert Band Association.
The idea for a “national concert band” began in 1973 with discussions among retired and former members of the four major military service bands in the Washington, DC area. The organization’s two main purposes were to provide a way for area military musicians to continue to play after retirement, and to preserve the concert band tradition of music in the United States, so prominent in the first half of the twentieth century.It was during conductor DeMattia’s tenure the Band participated in making the epic series of historic recordings of “The Heritage of the March,” produced by Robert Hoe of Poughkeepsie, NY.
The first conductor chosen was Edmund DeMattia, formerly principal oboist with the United States Navy Band. He was one of the founding members of the American Concert Band Association (ACB) and the National Concert Band became a member of this professional organization.
The concert will be both enjoyable and popular. Selections will include a medley of classic melodies from Lerner and Lowe musicals. With David and Ed, Sharon will premier a new psalm that she arranged just for the group. It is called Sing Unto God. The main theme uses the haunting Brahms melody from the 1st movement of his 1st symphony. She will also sing Memory from the Andrew Lloyd Weber musical, Cats. David will play a solo waltz by Chopin. Ed will play oboe featuring the melodic To a Wild Rose by Edward MacDowell. His classical selections will include a Concerto by Corelli arranged for Oboe and Piano. I call oboe Ed, The Master. There is no musical limit to what can can learn from this wonderful man. Yes, the best things in life are free. Call today for a reservation.
Requiem for Rock and Roll with the Passing of Chuck Berry. Charles Edward Anderson “Chuck” Berry (October 18, 1926 – March 18, 2017) was an American guitarist, singer and songwriter and one of the pioneers of rock and roll music. With songs such as “Maybellene” (1955), “Roll Over Beethoven” (1956), “Rock and Roll Music” (1957) and “Johnny B. Goode” (1958), Berry refined and developed rhythm and blues into the major elements that made rock and roll distinctive. The quote below is from NYT dated March 18, 2017:
Berry in 1957
Requiem for Rock and Roll
The following is an excerpt from the New Yorks Times. This quote below is from NYT dated March 18, 2017. Jon Pareles, a music critic for The New York Times, reflects on the pioneering music and attitude of the rock legend Chuck Berry. ” While Elvis Presley was rock’s first pop star and teenage heartthrob, Mr. Berry was its master theorist and conceptual genius, the songwriter who understood what the kids wanted before they knew themselves.”
As a teenager, I, David, was ousted from Rock and Roll central. I had an interview at Motown with Marvin Gaye. At the time I was giving Motown’s attorney’s children piano lessons. My compositions have always been melodic to the “nth” degree. Rhythm was in. Melody was okay, but quite secondary. Bottom line: Times are now difficult. The public needs beautiful once more. Kind of like the early 1930’s. Think of “Stardust.” It was the leader song that gave the 20’s rhythm songs their requiem. Here’s what most people do not realize: Rock and roll has outlasted the entire era of classical music. The heyday of classical style was 1750 to 1800. That is 50 years. This included Mozart, Haydn and early Beethoven. Above is a picture of Chuck Berry. It is dated 1957. That is 60 years ago. The only thing for sure is change. I unhumbly state: “Watch for my music. I intend to be at the forefront of the new style with new and beautiful music. This is not only as a piano player, but as a composer”. My wife, Sharon Lesley Ohrenstein is the book writer and lyricist. Shortly, our new musical “Golden Roads” will be making an appearance. In this free youtube presentation Sharon is singing and being interviewed. I am at the piano. In the meanwhile you can hear me play on vintage Steinways at the Gasparilla Inn on the exotic isle of Boca Grande. This is my 8th season. I’m under contract until April 16. Watch this short interview and excerpt from Golden Roads. Enjoy the new sound we are presenting and get on the bandwagon. There’s room for everybody.
Mischa Kottler Student Endures on the piano. My father had a sense about me. We grew up in Detroit. I immediately took to the piano and composing. At age 12 I wrote a piano concerto. I had only been playing the piano for 3 months. I also played the complete Beethoven Moonlight Sonata from memory.This was at my first year piano recital. We soon arranged for auditions with the best Detroit instructors. Julius Chajes was the director of music at the Detroit Jewish Community Center. Chajes suggested to go to Mischa Kottler since he was quite busy. Chajes also mentioned Karl Haas. Haas was the creator and host of the nationally syndicated program, Adventures in Good Music. Haas also suggested that I audition for Mischa. Finally, I went to Mischa Kottler. He is a brief description of him in Keyboard Magazine by one of his students student.
Another notable Mischa Kottler student – Greg Philliganes
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. Misha 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.
As a Mischa Kottler student
So, how did Mischa impact my career. I am playing my 8th season at the Gasparilla Inn on the exotic isle of Boca Grande. Management thinks of me as part of their corporation. It’s amazing how well you a liked when you are good for business and morale. Management just reconditioned a vintage 1924 Steinway grand. What a difference it makes! “Beautiful, lovely, most enjoyable” …are a few of the positive adjectives. Very few people walk by the piano without patting me on the back. They invariably say, “Good job.” I play 6 nights weekly. This is through April 16. Earlier I had been playing for some 15 years in the Catskill Mountains of New York. This was at Scott’s Oquaga Lake House. Another demanding job: Seven nights a week! Through the training of Mischa Kottler and the generousity and backing of my father, I’ve been enjoying a remarkable long career. I offer piano lessons in Sarasota. Below is a picture of the Gasparilla Inn.
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.
Golden Roads, our one-woman musical about Golda Meir, premieres in less than 10 days at the SaraSolo Festival! Get a sneak preview and find out just how young David was when he started composing these melodies. Why is this production so special?
It is our 4th major rewrite of a show whose time is now. Its history goes back to 1990 at the then Jewish Community Center in Sarasota. Then it had a full cast of 25. Afterwards, it was included in the abbreviated version of three of our musicals, called Three Queens: They were (1) Elizabeth of Russia (2) Octavian and Cleopatra (3) Our Golda.
We placed the Golda musical on the back burner for 10 years because of the then touring “Golda’s Balcony.” Now after the recent election we brought it out again. Here is a musical about a woman who did rule her country. This was in spite of her having cancer at the time. She had to lead the country during a vicious attack on Israel. This was on the holiest of Jewish holidays- Yom Kippur.
Above, composer/pianist David Ohrenstein seated at the piano.
Sneak Preview: Our Wonderful Director is New York Broadway and Metropolitan Opera Veteren, Carlo Thomas
The following about Carlo Thomas is an excerpt from Lynn Bernfield’s radio show. “He went on to a career which included Opera (City Opera, Canadian Opera, Berlin Opera, The Spoleto Music Festival, where he was directed by Gian Carlo Menotti), Broadway (1776, Phantom of the Opera), Concert (soloist at Radio City Music Hall), Recording with the Fred Waring band – and anything that required music. With his life partner Timothy Gray (who with Hugh Martin wrote the score for the musical High Spirits – based on the Noel Coward play Blithe Spirit, and many more), Carlo was enmeshed in the theater scene. Listen to this extraordinary man tell the charming, funny and sometimes outrageous stories of a life and career dedicated to the making of beautiful music. 11-24-14 Audio Interview.”
Kind, wonderful and generous Carlo has been coming to our Sarasota home twice weekly. He introduced us to concepts that are now currently used in Broadway musicals: These are the use of musical motifs throughout the score. The motifs uniquely make the piano an active actor in the show. Now Golda and the piano have an active dialog. One example: When Golda goes to the kibbutz, the piano’s motif is “Old MacDonald had a Farm”. Everyone has enjoyed the piano’s part. The piano cleverly comments on almost everything. I could go on and on. But I won’t. Just come and see the grand premier. Seating is limited. The show is selling quite well.
Ragtime Era Lives on the Isle of Boca Grande. David Ohrenstein is engaged as the pianist for his 8th year at the historic Gasparilla Inn. He is currently playing there 6 nights weekly. That will be until April 13. The Inn was built in 1911. That’s when ragtime was in full swing. What three words best describe ragtime? In David’s opinion, “happy, happy, happy.” It seems like the 1st world war put an end to the ragtime era. Ragtime – also spelled rag-time or rag time – is a musical genre that enjoyed its peak popularity between 1895 and 1918. Its cardinal trait is its syncopated, or “ragged”, rhythm.[
David senses that even the walls of the Inn welcome ragtime. Scott Joplin studied piano and composition with a German professor. He structured his ragtime pieces like the marches of John Phillip Sousa or the Waltzes of Johann Strauss Jr. They consist of individual sections. Many are in varying key signatures. Most start in flat keys. Then they add more flats in successive sections. For example,
The Maple Leaf Rag sets the tone. It starts in four flats. Another section reaches five flats. It ends in four flats.
The Gladiolus Rag starts in four flats. The last two sections are in five flats.
The Pineapple Rag starts in two flats. The last two sections are in three flats.
Easy Winners (from the movie, The Sting) starts in four flats. The last two sections are in five flats.
For the revival of ragtime in the late 20th century, we have Marvin Frederick Hamlisch (June 2, 1944 – August 6, 2012) to thank. He was an American composer and conductor. Hamlisch was one of only twelve people to win Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony awards. This collection of all four is referred to as an “EGOT”. He is one of only two people (along with Richard Rodgers) to have won those four prizes and a Pulitzer Prize.
I personally call flat keys the “social keys.” They blend people together without bumps. Flats have curved and smooth endings. Sharps are pointed. Flats make for wonderful romantic music. Flat keys are perfect for social dancing. They even unify soldiers in their quest. Check out our front page on DSOworks. All kinds of wonderful projects are in the works.
Pianist David Ohrenstein to Play for Diners on a newly rebuilt Steinway Grand at the Gasparilla Inn. He is scheduled 6 nights weekly in season on this island resort.
The Gasparilla Inn & Club – Photo courtesy of Gasparilla Inn
The Gasparilla Inn and Club in Boca grande is wonderful for that special occasion. Here are just a few of the highlights that the dining room has to offer:
Great food by master chefs
Great service and wonderful decor
A newly rebuilt vintage Steinway grand piano
The Steinway is played by David Ohrenstein
David is particularly excited about playing this year. Famed piano technician Larry Keckler from Sarasota Florida was called to recondition and fine tune the dining room Steinway. It dates back to the early 1920’s. Mr. Keckler loves this Steinway. He told me that after he worked on it, he is bowled over by its incredibly sweet and beautiful tone. I can’t wait. My piano playing is all about melody and singing tone.
PIANIST DAVID OHRENSTEIN PLAYS LONG TERM ENGAGEMENTS
This year David’s contract in Boca Grande spans approximately four months. He plays six nights a week. The timing corresponds with the peak busy season in Florida. He has also worked as the pianist at Scott’s Oquaga Lake House in upstate New York. For some 15 years his contracts were for almost five months at the time. Most often, in New York he worked seven days a week. He and his singer-actress wife Sharon would also perform two featured shows weekly. So many say there is little work for musicians. On the contrary, David knows musicians can pick and choose. He offers piano lessons in Sarasota for aspiring students. Meanwhile, see you at the Inn! Yes, I take requests. Sample of David’s playing below:
Film Featurette is Produced By and Stars Kathryn Parks . Yes our daughter, Kathryn Parks, is now doing a film. I was honored to be asked to compose some of the music. Mother, Sharon, is the highly valued acting coach for the film, The film is called 50 Words. It features a musical show within the context of the film. Biographies are often limited to 50 words in programs, It is of the comedy genre. Here are some of the many comic genres daughter Kathryn uses. A comedy of manners typically takes as its subject a particular part of society (usually upper class society) and uses humor to parody or satirize the behavior and mannerisms of its members. Romantic comedy is a popular genre that depicts burgeoning romance in humorous terms, and focuses on the foibles of those who are falling in love.
I got to be one of the diners in the film. That’s me sitting across from the young lady with the blue top. Kathryn has a strong back ground in acting. She majored in Theater at the University of Miami. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree. I think this film is a wonderful Holiday tribute and gift to the city of Sarasota. Kathryn was sure to place so many of our theatrical and fine dining venues in the spotlight for her film. Everyone believed in her project from the owners of our various theatrical centers to the kind actors and actresses. They all got a taste of what it is to make a film in Sarsota. Kathryn is now into the post production work with her film producer, Mars Vision. At the core of Mars Vision Productions is Mark Palmer. His great love for this project was unrelenting throughout the entire shoot. His work simply shines.
Film Featurette Features Major Sarasota Arts Venues
HADASSAH WILL ENJOY DAVID AND SHARON IN THEIR NEW ONE WOMAN MUSICAL
Golden Roads is a musical. The book and lyrics were written by Sharon Ohrenstein and music composed by David Ohrenstein. The date is set for SaBra Hadassah Membership Luncheon Nov 17th. The performance will take place at approximately 12:45 PM. The luncheon is for members only. Goals of Hadassah are financial, educational, and medical. For more information about joining, call the number listed below.
The musical presents highlights from the early life of Golda Meir. The show has already been presented in other manners. For example, below is a scene is from an earlier production for 3 people. The venue was the Players Theater of Sarasota. For the Players, we had a small orchestra:
The Building of “Golden Roads” in Israel was an idea that came to fruition under the leadership of Golda. She was against pavement marking the landscape. Instead, she insisted that roads should be beautiful. Trees, flowers- all were to be used for this purpose. The choice of this new title for the work replaces previously previous titles of “Our Golda” and “My Golda”. The version we are doing for Hadassah has shapes the script into a one woman show. It was first presented as such for the Jewish Genealogical Society of Southwest Florida on Sunday, May 15 2016 at he Kobernick House.