Music prolongs life and enjoyment

Music Prolongs Life of Rubinoff and His Violin

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, GrodnoRussian Empire, now Belarus – October 6, 1986),[1] 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.

Music Prolongs Life of those who engage in the art.
Dave Rubinoff, myself, and “The Clock of Life.”

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.”

Music prolongs life at our Pittsburgh Concert
Out concert in Pittsburgh was a proud moment for me.

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.



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.

Related image
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).

Image result for picture of Victor Herbert
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 for new posts. By the way, a have 1 or 2 openings for piano students in Sarasota.


Unsung romantic hero was, in a way J.S. Bach. Read how.

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.

Roatan Suite has a dozen works describing our stay on this island paradise

Suite: Many Composers, Including Me, Favor It.

Suite: Many Composers, Including Me, Favor It.  The Suite is based on “tradition.” It works! The earliest are found in the late 1500’s. Suite is a French term meaning: “series or set.” I personally enjoy composing in this form. It affords me more freedom or choice  than the preset forms of Sonatas or Symphonies. Its variety was apparent, even in the 1500’s. Even then, it paired opposites as:

  • The court dance of the slow and stately pavane with
  • The cheerful and quick moving galliard.

Everything has its date and style. Everything changes. From the music of today to the suite of the past.  Today’s rock and roll will diminish in popularity.  Already we can have long and lilting melodies of the 1930’s making a return. This is because our culture needs the healing qualities that beautiful melody has to offer. The pavane and galliard  were soon replaced by the allemande (German Dance) and courante- ( French dance). The allemande has flowing motion.  The courante is quick paced. More numbers were added for the change.  They offered varied  rhythms and pace.  These dance numbers included:

  • sarabande
  • gigue
  • minuet
  • gavotte

Then, different countries gave the dance suites their own distinctive names:

  • In Germany they were called either suites or partitas
  • In Italy the were termed “chamber sonatas” or “sonata de camera”.
  • In France, Couperin called his, “ordre”.  They were short pieces for the harpsichord. Titles were descriptive: The Little Windmill, The Sad-faced One…


The sheet Music for Roatan Suite (by myself) .  Score Available as a product

I (David) personally, love the music of the  French composer, Couperin. I used his technique as a model for my Roatan Suite .Couperin’s descriptive titles  were to my liking. While doing a “Nat King Cole” show on the Honduran Island of Roatan, I wrote my own suite.  Below is the list of the 12 selections. My piano students in Sarasota loved learning the music. Below is  my Iguana Farm on youtube.

Roatan Suite is perfect for Children to Play on the Piano
Roatan Suite for Children. Kids. Get ready to master the “Iquana Farm.:

The music for the Roatan Suite is now available for purchase  as a product on

  • The Roatan  Rhumba- with  fun calypso rhythms
  • Island Dreams- expresses the hope that natives have for a better life. Many dream to work on the cruise ships.
  •  Iguana Farm (Disney would love to get a hold of this one. Ed Demattia, President of the American Concert Band Association,  played it on oboe with a pianist in Cleveland.
  • Children on the Beach
  • Crazy Taxis on the Island. They are worse than the drivers at the Indy 500.
  • Sunrise Worker With Machete- A Tarantella. It depicts the continual swinging of machetes that men use while  cutting the grass on mountainsides.
  • Sauntering on the West End. The beauty of its 1.5 mile walk way defies description. The shops are are fun. One is even on a ship.
  • Fishing Fleet Expedition
  • Deep Sea Diving. Boy, are there colorful specimens below!
  • Town of Coxen Hole (named after the famous  pirate, Coxen).
  • Stroll on the Beach
  • Shimmering Water on the Gulf- Another Tarantella. It also uses the Perpetual Motion and rhythms of 6/8 meter.

 Composer David playing his Iguana Farm from the Roatan Suite at Scott’s Oquaga Lake House in Deposit New York for a select audience.




Tarantella- an Italian Marathan

Tarantella was an Early “Dance Marathon”

Tarantella was an Early “Dance Marathon”. It started in Italy. The dance was belief to be a cure for the bite of the poisonous spider, the tarantula. The craze swept across Europe in the 15th and 16th centuries. Dancers kept dancing until they fell, exhausted, to the ground. Musicians provided the music. They wandered from town to town. A musician’s life was never easy: Their playing could last from 10 to 36 hours as they affected their “cure”.

The Tarantella Uses 6/8 Meter

An Early Dance Marathan was called the Tarantella
A typical Tarantella uses this 6/8 rhythm, with slight variations. The rhythm keeps the dance ongoing.

My Just About to be Published Roatan Suite uses this Dance Form

I compose music everywhere. Sharon and I were on the island of Roatan. We did the first and last show on the island. But that’s another blog. One of my piano students in Sarasota asked me: “Mr. Ohrenstein, why don’t you compose something for children?” So I did. While on the island, off the coast of Honduras, I depicted its daily life in compositions. The descriptive numbers include:


De Mattia Trio rehearsing selections from my Roatan Suite that features the Tarantella
The Demattia Trio rehearsing selections from my Roatan Suite that features the Tarantella. Ed deMattia, oboist,  is a distinguished conductor. His nephew plays the French horn with the Cleveland Orchestra.
  • The Roatan  Rhumba- with  fun calypso rhythms
  • Island Dreams- expresses the hope that natives have for a better life.
  •  Iguana Farm (Disney would love to get a hold of this one. Ed played it with the pianist in the picture in a Cleveland concert).
  • Children on the Beach
  • Crazy Taxis on the Island
  • Sunrise Worker With Machete- the first perpetual motion Tarantella. It depicts the continual swinging motion of men cutting the grass on the mountains.
  • Sauntering on the West End
  • Fishing Fleet Expedition
  • Deep Sea Diving
  • Town of Coxen Hole (named after the famous  pirate, Coxen).
  • Stroll on the Beach
  • Shimmering Water on the Gulf- Another Tarantella. It also uses the Perpetual Motion and rhythms of 6/8 meter.

Keep watching the products page of  for my posting of the entire Roatan Suite. My Iguana Farm is currently posted as a product. Even my beginning students wanted to play the Iguana Farm. I would teach it to them section by section by rote. It is a hit. When others heard a student play it, I would pick up four or five more students.

Iguana Farm 1
Piano teacher, David, on the Isle of Roatan feeding the iguanas at Archies Iguana Farm

My Iguana Farm is currently available on my product’s page for $2.99. It is neatly written on the Finale computer program

Fun Business facts About the Iguana farm

  • As a piano teacher over the years in Sarasota, every piano student wanted to learn it- even beginners.
  • Before they could even read music, they loved it so much that they took the trouble to memorize every note,
  • They would also play it at featured talent shows at their elementary schools to audiences who went wild over it.
  • A fun piece is a great motivational tool for all piano students young and old.