Enjoy David now playing at the Crab and Fin Restaurant

Enjoy David Ohrenstein Playing Piano

Enjoy David playing the piano at the Crab and Fin Restaurant.
  • Clair de Lune - Suite Bergamasque by Claude Debussy
    Claire de Lune by Claude Debussy is still a favorite piano classic. So is Scott Joplin’s The Entertainer.

    Enjoy David’s piano playing outdoors (weather permitting) on an authentic Yamaha console piano.  Have lunch, dinner, or simply a beverage.  “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.  David is returning to the Crab and Fin for a 2nd engagement. He played there 2017 from May 31- Dec. 19.  Most recently, David just played from Dec. 20, 2017 to April 1, 2018 at the Gasparilla Inn on the isle of Boca Grande, Fl. This has been his 9th consecutive year at this world famous location. David has also played extensively in New York. This has been for 15 non consecutive summer seasons at Scott’s Oquaga Lake House. Currently, starting April 9, his piano playing has been called upon again  at the Crab and Fin Restaurant : Monday evenings from 6-10 pm; Tuesday afternoon  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 his piano playing in a beautiful outdoor setting.

Enjoy David Starting April 9, 2018

Playing on fine acoustic pianos is coming back in vogue. For finer dining, authentic pianos are making a much overdue return. . For years, everything has gone electronic. As a result, many piano players have lost their acoustic piano touch. If anyone is interested, I am offering piano lessons in Sarasota. My own teacher was Mischa Kottler. He studied piano with Alfred Cortôt in Paris in the 1920’s. Then he went to Vienna and studied with a pupil of Franz Liszt- Emil von Sauer. I love to play Liszt for audiences. Below is the story of how I studied and now perform the Bohemian Rhapsody:

Bohemian Rhapsody -With One Take Played on Piano – DSO Works

Map
Performer Pianist Concept

Performer Composer Concept is Long Overdue

Performer Composer Concept is Long Overdue. The idea for this blog came from: The Great Pianists- from Mozart to the Present. It is written by Harold C. Schonberg. He was the former senior music critic for the New York Times. I was quite taken with his text on John Baptist Cramer.  What he wrote about can be applied to our current musical situation. From the following, I concluded that Cramer was instrumental in creating our current performer composer dichotomy.

Performer composer concept and John Baptist Cramer
The man whom Beethoven admired- John Baptist Cramer.

 

Today, few pianists play their own compositions exclusively in concert. As a matter of fact, few pianists today even compose. It is all about other people’s music. The equivalent in the theatrical community  is the entire genre of “tributes.” Thus, we have countless tributes to Rogers and Hammerstein,  Steven Sondheim, Leonard Bernstein, etc. Pianists often feature one or two composers in their concerts. Beethoven seems to be preferred. Then comes some of the Romantics like Chopin or Schubert. Regardless, playing ones own music has fallen out of favor. As a result we have tribute after tribute. Sorry, but after a while this becomes “old hat.”

So How Did the Performer Composer Concept Come to be Abandoned?

First, who was John Baptist Cramer? Johann Baptist Cramer (24 February 1771 – 16 April 1858) was an English pianist and composer of German origin. He was the son of Wilhelm Cramer. His father was a famous London violinist and conductor.  The family is identified with the progress of music during the 18th and 19th centuries. My knowledge of him is through his masterful book of piano etudes entitled:  gradus ad Parnassum. It translates from Latin to”steps to Parnassus”. It is sometimes shortened to gradus. The name Parnassus was used to denote the loftiest part of a mountain range in central Greece.  It is a few miles north of Delphi. In Greek mythology, one of the peaks was sacred to Apollo and the nine Muses.  It had two peaks. One dedicated to inspiring deities of the arts.  The other to Dionysus.[1]

Related image
Greek Mountain range Mountains bearing the title of Cramer’s Etudes.

 

As per Schonberg, Cramer was one of the 1st pianists to feature music other than his own in concerts. He especially performed Mozart and Bach. I personally am a great believer in cycles. With few exceptions, pianist composers have left the scene. Witness the return. I hope to be a leader in this way. Enjoy my compositions at the Gasparilla Inn.

Upcoming Events

  1. Entertainer David Ohrenstein plays ragtime

    Pianist David Ohrenstein to Play at the Gasparilla Inn

    December 20, 2017 @ 6:30 pm – April 1, 2018 @ 6:30 pm
Musical Tradition is Heard at the Gasparilla Inn

Musical Tradition Embraces Architectural Style

Musical Tradition Embraces Architectural Style. Obviously, Elvis is the star in the featured picture. Now, who is playing the Steinway concert grand in the beautiful setting below? That’s your blogger, David. So what does one have to do with the other? It’s the music that I’m playing. Basically, I love the style and taste of Elvis.

Here’s a story: One of my most popular piano arrangements, Aura Lea: Theme and Variations for piano, was composed in Toronto, Ontario.   No matter where I play it – on the concert stage, for a private party or during the dinner hour – it always receives grand applause and some rather sizable tips.  The arrangement is heart rendering;  bringing back pleasant memories.  One variation combines the theme with “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf”; bringing two great American songs together.  And, by the way, this composition has many showy virtuoso passages. Yes, choosing this number, Elvis proved once more that he was king.

How Musical Tradition Embraces Architectural Style

Gasparilla Inn Historic District is located in Florida

Gasparilla Inn Historic District

LocationBoca GrandeFloridaUSA
Coordinates26°45′8″N 82°15′39″WCoordinates26°45′8″N 82°15′39″W
NRHP reference #08000205[1]
Added to NRHPMarch 18, 2008[1]

Gasparilla Inn Historic District is a historic district at 500 Palm Avenue in Boca GrandeFloridaUnited States. On March 18, 2008, it was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.[1]

Now for musical tradition, Aura Lea is one of the most beloved American songs and is arguably as popular as Amazing Grace.  Our generation heard it with the words that Elvis sang as Love Me Tender.  The melody has graced America over the last two centuries.  The music was written by W.W. Fosdick and words by George R. Poulton during the Civil War in 1861.  The sheet music cover is the original Confederate version, dated 1864. The 1st internal link me playing in New York’s Catskill Mountains.

Aura Lea: Theme and Variations for piano – DSO Works

It was at Scott’s Oquaga Lake House a few years back.  However,their piano was “so, so.” Below is the link just recorded with me at the Inn. The difference in pianos is quite noticeable.  It was videoed live and less than week ago, and just posted. Keep checking DSOworks.com for more and more upcoming events. Elvis understood the public pulse.

Live at the Gasparilla Inn!

Posted by DSO Works on Saturday, February 3, 2018

Bohemian Rhapsody, but played by me on the piano

Bohemian Rhapsody -With One Take Played on Piano

Bohemian Rhapsody – with One Take Played on Piano. “Bohemian Rhapsody” is a song by the British rock band Queen. It was written by Freddie Mercury for the band’s 1975 album A Night at the Opera. It is a six-minute suite.[1] It consists of several sections without a chorus. It has an intro, a ballad segment, an operatic passage, a hard rock part and a reflective coda.[2]

Image result for Wikipedia what is a Bohemian Rhapsody?
 It topped the charts in several other markets in addition to England. They included Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, and The Netherlands. It later became one of the best-selling singles of all time. It sold over 6 million copies worldwide.

How My Youtube Recording of the Bohemian Rhapsody Came About

The request for the Rhapsody came about over the summer of 2017. I was playing three days weekly at the Crab and Fin Restaurant in Sarasota, Fl.  The general manager is Chris Koehlinger. He asked me if I could play the number. That began the process. Finding the music was not easy. Most sheet music stores are out of business. Music stores are not faring much better. Luckily, my wife is fairly adept at the computer. She found a version on youtube played by Vika Yermolyeva. It is very aptly titled  www.vkgoeswild. Her arrangement was available. We downloaded it. I practiced it. Then performed it for clientele at the Crab and Fin. What a hit it was!

My job at the Crab and Fin kept me in fine form for my next job. Currently, I play 6 nights weekly at the Gasparilla Inn in Boca Grande Fl. They have a magnificent vintage,  rebuilt Steinway concert grand from 1924. My contract there is throughImage result for picture of the Gasparilla Inn on DSOworks.com

Easter, April 1 2018. I got the same results. What a hit this Rhapsody makes!

To continue the story of how the current blog came about: We were having a Sunday brunch at our Sarasota home. I brought up the subject of the Rhapsody. My daughter says: “Dad. I’ll record you for youtube playing the Rhapsody.” She said that she and her husband had to leave in 15 minutes.  I then raced to the piano.  It is on the link below. I didn’t even have time to change or put on anything dressier or do any warm ups. Regardless, hope you enjoy it. Lots of exciting events are coming up this year. These include an historical concert in Circleville Ohio. Keep checking DSOworks for listings.

How about a little Bohemian Rhapsody on your Sunday morning?

Posted by DSO Works on Sunday, January 14, 2018

Rubinoff concert is shaping up

Riches Come from “Dance of the Russian Peasant”

Riches Come  from “Dance of the Russian Peasant”. Rags to riches refers to any situation in which a person rises from poverty to wealth.  In some cases from absolute obscurity to heights of fame. With this blog both wealth and fame happen. This is a common archetype in literature and popular culture. Examples are in the writings of Horatio Alger, Jr.

Rags to Riches is Exemplified by a Violinist!

The featured picture places the meaning of the title on a silver platter. The story you are about to read is touching. Anyone struggling, poor or victimized by discrimination can identify with it.

Riches came to Rubinoff and His Violin, They were partners.
Rubinoff’s posh Suite at the Leland House. We worked together on musical arrangements for years.

The Rags to Riches Story

A violinist reached an income level of  $500,000/year in the 1930’s. That was during the heighth of the Great Depression. His name was David Rubinoff. Dave’s childhood was dramatically poor. It was recorded by his wife, Dame Darlene Rubinoff. Her book is called, The Dance of the Russian Peasant. I, David Ohrenstein, was his arranger and accompanist for over 15 years. Currently guests hear my piano playing 6 nights weekly. This is on the isle of Boca Grande, Fl. It is on a newly rebuilt Steinway. Location is at the world renowned Gasparilla Inn. Dave Rubinoff dictated his entire book to wife, Dame Darlene. Since he spoke broken English, at best, she edited his words.

Image result for pictures of Rubinoff on DSOworks.com
A poor Russian as a youth, little David acquired riches and fame through his violin.

“Paderewski was Headmaster of the Warsaw conservatory. He later became premier of Poland. Professor Leopold Auer was headmaster of the violin department. He taught such greats as Heifetz and Zimbalist.

We had no time for play. Everything was work, study, practice, and practice some more. Professor Dressnor was working with me. He hit my fingers with his bow.”Wrong, wrong!” he said, loudly. I started to play the passage again and he hit my fingers.  “But I did not play it yet”, I said dejectedly.

“Never mind. It would have been wrong anyway!”, he said loudly. I vowed that for my graduation I would play something so difficult, that no one could play it but me. I filled it with difficult passages my professor would not be able to play.” As a result, Dave Rubinoff wrote “Dance of the Russian Peasant.” This personal fire stayed with Rubinoff throughout his life.

Best news of all. I will be honoring my mentor, Dave Rubinoff 30 some years after his passing away. This will be on June 2, 2018 at the new Ted Lewis Museum. It is in Circleville, Ohio. Included will be our arrangements. I will play them with famed violinist, Steven Greenman. The orchestral conductor will be maestro Joseph Rubin. Afterwards I will lecture about our association. To find the particulars, visit the Ted Lewis Museum on line. Do not miss this inspiring all-American event.

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

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

 

Mar 28, 2008 – Uploaded by Rudder3218

Rubinoff in concert at the White House. This Violin solo by Rubinoff – Dance of the Russian Peasant is a …

 

 

 

 

 

Entertainer David Ohrenstein plays ragtime

Pianist David Ohrenstein to Play at the Gasparilla Inn

Pianist David Ohrenstein to Play for diners and socialites on a newly rebuilt Steinway Grand at the Gasparilla Inn. He is scheduled 6 nights weekly in season at this island resort.

Pianist David Ohrenstein Will Begin his 8th winter season at the Famous Gasparilla Inn on December 20
David to Be Featured on a newly rebuilt 1925 vintage Steinway Grand Piano. Location: Gasparilla Inn on the isle of Boca Grande, Fl. This year marks his 9th consecutive winter season.
The Gasparilla Inn & Club – Photo courtesy of Gasparilla Inn

Enjoy Pianist David Ohrenstein

Live at the Gasparilla Inn!

Posted by DSO Works on Saturday, February 3, 2018

The Gasparilla Inn and Club in Boca Grande is ideal for any special occasion:

Gasparilla Inn Historic District is in the heart of an historic district.  Location is on 500 Palm Avenue in Boca GrandeFloridaUnited States. On March 18, 2008, it was listed in the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.[1]

The National Register designation centers largely on the Gasparilla Inn itself.  It is one of the largest surviving resort hotels in Florida.  Originally it was built for wealthy northerners in the early 20th century.[2]

Here are just a few of the highlights the Inn has to offer:

  • Great food by master chefs
  • Service by a highly trained,  considerate and responsive staff.
  • Incredible decor with featured displays.  View: (1) Spectacular seashells. (2) A pictorial history of the Inn. (3) Pictures of big fish catches and fishing expeditions.
  • Of course, the newly rebuilt vintage Steinway.

David is particularly excited about this year. This is because piano technician, Larry Keckler of Sarasota Florida, reconditioned and fine-tuned the dining room Steinway.   He also tuned a second Steinway grand in the “Living Room”. Both date back to the early 1920’s. Steinway parts were flown directly from Germany. Having played at the Inn over Thanksgiving, I personally witnessed how the guests loved its intimate, clean and clear tone.

When dining, be sure you ask me to play entire piano score to Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nacht Musik (A Little Night Music). I have a rare and most enjoyable German-made arrangement.  Guests also love my rendition of Chopin’s Nocturnes. Gustav Holst even gets into the act. I have a unique transcription of his Jupiter from The Planets. Franz Liszt loved transcriptions. So do I.  Enjoy great music in the old tradition in a special setting. I will be there six nights weekly: From December 20, 2017 through April 1, 2018.

 

Rachmaninoff Versus Editor

Rachmaninoff Versus Editor – Who is Right?

Rachmaninoff Versus Editor – Who is Right? It was the early 1920’s. My piano teacher took an audition to study piano with Sergei Rachmaninoff. The gist of the audition was this: Rachmaninoff was too busy giving concerts and composing to take on any students. But, he gave my piano instructor, Mischa Kottler, a letter of recommendation. The letter was addressed to Alfred Cortôt.  Who was Alfred Cortôt? Alfred Denis Cortôt (born Nyon, 26 September 1877; died Lausanne, 15 June 1962) was a FrenchSwiss pianist and conductor. He is one of the most famous 20th century musicians. He was especially known for his playing of piano music by 19th century Romantic composers such as Chopin and Schumann. He formed a piano trio with the violinist Jacques Thibaud and the cellist Pablo Casals.  Now back to Rachmaninoff versus Editor.

Picture of of Alfred Cortot. Thanks to Rachmaninoff, my piano instructor studied under Alfred Cortot.

For Mischa Kottler’s audition, he played Rachmaninoff’s 3rd piano concerto for the composer. Sergei told Mischa after he finished: “That’s not how the editor marked the phrasing in the music!” Mischa told me at one of my piano lessons that he replied to Sergei:”I know. But I heard you play the concerto in concert. You did it the way I played it for you!”

Rachmaninoff Versus Editor …. The Composer Wins and so Does Mischa Kottler

Rachmaninoff Versus Editor
My Instructor, Mischa Kottler, Studied with Alfred Cortot in Paris and Emil von Sauer, a pupil of Liszt, in Vienna.
 Rachmaninoff was so impressed, he wrote the letter.  Mischa studied with Cortôt in Paris. Then he went to Vienna and studied with Emil von Sauer. That launched him on a successful piano career. He consequently became the official pianist of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Mischa headed the piano department at Wayne State University. I took lessons with him for 5 years at WSU. He taught about 50 piano students with full one hour lessons.  He was the music director of WJR in Detroit. He raised many successful students. Now I (blogger David Ohrenstein) am offering piano lessons in Sarasota, Fl. From Dec. 20- April 1 2017. I will play in Boca Grande, Fl. This will be at the Gasparilla Inn. Their vintage Steinway Grand was just rebuilt for me. Larry Keckler rebuilt it with new Steinway parts direct from Germany. Hope to see you there!
 Image result for pictures of the Gasparilla Inn on DSOworks

 

 

 

High Stepping on the Steinway at World Class Gasparilla Inn

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. 

High Stepping on his Steinway was Mischa Kottler
Mischa Kottler preferred old vintage Steinways just like the ones I now play at the Gasparilla Inn.

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.

 

 

 

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.

Image result for picture of the Gasparilla Inn n the Isle of Boca Grande
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.

 

 

 

Proper piano practice without being precise is time tossed in the river.

Proper Piano Practice Means Precision

Proper Piano Practice Means Precision. I began my piano studies at age 11. The date was August 24, 1958. This was exactly two months before my October 24th birthday. I would turn twelve. At my first year piano recital, I played the entire Moonlight Sonata by Beethoven from memory. The teacher I studied it with was a Mrs. Foster. I forgot her 1st name. My apologies. In retrospect, I played it terribly. The reason for this shortcoming will became apparent. in the blog. My apologies. The way to Proper Piano Practice was later shown to me by my nest teacher, Mischa Kottler, but:

 I didn’t listen to his most basic advice. I thought I was quite advanced at age 15. He told me to (1) practice slowly and (2) hands separately. My adolescent mind told me, “that’s for babies.” Of course, I never told him that. But as it turned out, I was wrong. When slow practice and intense concentration unite, the results are outstanding. First, here is a taste of this great virtuoso-pianist, teacher.  Kottler would play it for an encore. Even when he was in his nineties he could finesse his special arrangement of Chopin’s “Minute Waltz.”

3:47

Minute Waltz (Mischa Kottler Version)

Kottler had the ability to see the future when it came to his piano students. I studied with him for years. When I was 25, he looked straight at me and said: “You’ll get good when you’re in your sixties.” He was serious.  Naturally, that comment did not sit well with a 25 year old. I’m well into my sixties, Finally, I have seen the “proper piano practice” light. Here’s the core of the method I now started to use. It’s never too late.

  • Play any two fingers on either hand.  With one finger play a white key. With another pick a black. Play the two notes at the same time.
  • Unless you intensely concentrate on what you just did, the notes are likely to be perhaps 1/10th of a second apart!
  • Now think of how difficult it is to play even more tones at the same time. Add to the formula, using the fingers on both hands.
  • Multiply this spread out sound by an entire piece of music. You have a mess.

How has Proper Piano Practice Helped Me?

In one word, employment. This December 20th, I’ll begin my 9th winter-spring season at the Gasparilla Inn. On Boca Grande it is favored place for VIP’s. Off-Florida season, there are also no shortage of jobs. Currently I play at the Crab and Fin Restaurant . It is on St, Armand’s Circle in Sarasota. Of course, a lot more goes into successful piano playing.  If you wish to know more elements, I’m also available for piano lessons in Sarasota.