Quality not Quantity Becomes the Key Question for People

Quality not Quantity Becomes the Key Question for People. What does that mean? Let’s start by discussing a primary  source of quantity: the periodic chart. It gives defining information of the elements of nature as well as some that are man made. Image result for wiki commons picture of a periodic chart

Above is an elementalal excerpt from a periodic chart. The quantity of  particles determines the substance and properties.

  • Five protons in the nucleus makes an atom of boron.
  • Six, makes an atom of carbon.
  • Seven makes notrogen.
  • etc.

With people  we have a paradox. The elements that make different people are basically the same for everyone. However, with people, quality makes the difference. How agreeable is your personality? Do you finish projects you’ve started?  Do you show your family affection? How well do you do your job?

Quality versus Quantity in Music

Quality is added to life through great compositions
Maurice Ravel at the piano

With the arts: Does your oil painting move others? Did the audience love your piano rendition? Are you leading a happy and rewarding life? These qualities cannot be ascribed to ordinary elements. People have a higher calling than the physical. Some call it soul. Perhaps it’s self-motivation or personality? Perhaps quality is an inherited trait? Whatever it is, it is above the physical plane.

The picture to the right is of Maurice Ravel seated at the piano. His compositions are of exceptional quality. Had he written 10 times as many compositions as he did, but all terrible, no one would have listened to his music.  Because of quality,  he is a highly revered French Impressionistic composer. Below is a sample of my own piano playing with violinist Steven Greenman. The concert was just given in Ohio at the Circleville High School auditorium.

Preview YouTube video Rubinoff’s Fiddler on the Roof – Violin and Piano

I personality love the piano music of Franz Schubert. In addition to great melodies, I find him to be a rare master of rests. He frames his phrases and motifs beautifully with rests. They have tremendous artistic impact- I think more so than any other composer. Hopefully I will soon be posting my own rendition soon of his Sonata Op 120 in A.  Keep checking the site. Thanks.

Image result for wiki commons picture of Franz Schubert
Franz_Schubert_by_Wilhelm_August_Rieder.jpeg

 

Conclusion: We all have quantity. It’s our quality that makes us outstanding as individuals. Feel free to share the post.

Ravel Has Novelty, Always in Good Taste

Ravel Has Novelty, Always in Good Taste. The Golden Encyclopedia of Music by Norman Lloyd confirms my thoughts. His music is “rarely emotional.” It is as though he wrote waltzes, minuets or sonatas with amusement or affection. Lloyd brings out his contrast with Debussy:

  • Debussy drew much of his inspiration from nature.
  • Ravel received his creative impulses from dance.

The Background of Ravel

Ravel’s mother was a Basque.  That defines a region located around the western end of the Pyrenees (the part shaded red).  It is on the coast of the Bay of Biscay. The Bay straddles parts of north-central Spain, and south-western France.

Image result for Free map of Basque territory in Europe
Ravel was born in Basque territory(red)  in the town of Clibourne. The French-Spanish connection is obvious.

Part of his soul was Spanish. His masterpiece, Bolero, is an affirmation. Again, we see a prime example of his affinity for dance. Here’s my favorite story. I set it up by contrast to a story about John Cage. The theme for Bolero is only 8 bars long. Its treatment by variations with orchestra is 17 minutes long. But, it builds to one of the greatest climaxes ever.  In his humble manner, Ravel called it: “17 minutes of orchestration without any music.” By contrast John Cage wrote a piece of music that he calls 4’33”. It refers to the time of actual silence. Not one tone is played. You can “hear” it on youtube.

My Upcoming French Piano Concert

I am planning a full piano concert of French piano music from the late 1800’s and early 19oo’s. My instructor, Mischa Kottler, asked me to do such  the concert just before he passed away. He studied in Paris under Alfred Cortot in the 1920’s. Below is a sample of him playing Chopin’s Minute Waltz.

Minute Waltz (Mischa Kottler Version) – YouTube (to be amazed beyond words, click on “youtube” words and watch). He studied it in Paris.

 

The entries of my own concert will include the following works:

  • by Claude Debussy: Deux Arabesques, the entire Suite Bergamasque, Reverie. the Sarabande from Pour le Piano, Estampes, and La Cathedrale engloutie
  • By Gabriel Faure: Pavane
  • By Maurice Ravel: Sonatine

I will be arranging a date and place in the near future. It will be announced as an event on DSOworks.com. Below is a sample of the concert taken from from my upcoming Debussy CD. It is his Claire de Lune. from the Suite Bergamasque. Click on the title.

Clair de Lune – Suite Bergamasque by Claude Debussy …

Gabriel Fauré and his misunderstood Pavane

Fauré in 1887

The Pavane in F-sharp minor, Op. 50, is a pavane by the French composer Gabriel Fauré written in 1887. It was originally a piano piece, but was known. at one time in Fauré’s version, as a version for orchestra, optional chorus and dancers.

THE GRAND SCOPE OF THE PAVANE

Gabriel Fauré and his misunderstood Pavane. The pavane, as a musical form, has taken a bad rap in recent times. As an opus, the pavane has acquired an overly sad, even funeral-like character. However, the impressionistic composers often  looked to the 16th and 17th century for inspiration. The pavane was a slow and dignified court dance from Spain. It possibly comes from the Spanish word, “pavo”, which means “peacock”. Certainly, from the given description, the dancers strut around like peacocks. In the 1500’s the dance used bowing, curtsying and walking. Musically it is  a slow and expressive section of the dance suite.

HOW THE SCOPE OF THE PAVANE GREW, AND I I HOPE TO PLAY A CONCERT OF FRENCH PIANO MUSIC

Before writing this blog, I thought that the Pavane was a commemorative musical work for someone who is deceased. Perhaps my erroneous conception came from the title of Maurice Ravel’s work Pavane for a Dead Princess. The pavane itself has nothing to do with funerals. Ravel simply chose this dignified dance form and mood to express his sentiment. Another misconception I had was that it was originally written as an orchestral work. However, in 1887 Fauré  played it as a piano work and it was only orchestrated later. Furthermore, I assumed it should be played slowly. When the great conductor, Sir Adrian Boult heard  Fauré play it, he remarked that it went no slower than quater note =100. Soon after its world premier by  Fauré, his patroness comtesse Greffulhe, financed the work to add  an orchestra, dancers and a chorus. She even provided a venue with  choreographic space  at one of her garden parties. Stravinsky’s choreographer, Diahilev, loved the Pavane by Fauré it so much that he made it a standard part of the Ballet Russes repetoire after he introduced it to the company in 1917. I ordered his music from Paris in the original piano score version. I hope to play it myself at an all French piano concert- time and place to be announced. I will also include piano works by Ravel and Debussy. I will preview a number of selections starting Dec 18th at the Gasparilla Inn in Boca grande, Fl where I will be playing on the Steinway vintage pianos 6 nights a weekly (see events on this website).

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A Date With Debussy: As I Record His Music at Glenridge Performing Arts Center

 

 

A Date With Debussy: As I Record His  Music at Glenridge Performing Arts Center- My family put together an incredible birthday present for me. Abe, my oldest son, wanted me to play and record one hour of the piano music of Claude Debussy. That got the ball rolling. I immediately agreed. Preview YouTube video Ohrenstein plays Debussy Arabesque No. 2

SAMPLE THE VIDEO MADE AT THE GLENRDIGE PERFORMING ARTS CENTER ON YOUTUBE

Debussy: Arabesque #2 . One hour of his piano music played by me will be available shortly, as a product. My wonderful daughter and son-in law bought the session. I currently play italmost daily.  This is at at the Gasparilla Inn in Boca Grande(see events) on DSOWorks.com

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MY DEBUSSY PARIS MUSIC CONNECTION

My own piano instructor, Mischa Kottler, asked me when he was 94 years of age to give a concert of French music.  That I should show people how I play. Kottler studied on the 1920’s with Alfred Cortot. In turn, Cortot was a contemporary of Debussy.  He personally knew him in Paris. Debussy was born August 22, 1862. Cortot, September 26, 1877. I  learned  Debussy’s craft from Mischa. It uses included the plethora of two note phrases. Also Debussy developed a hidden notation to specify which notes he wanted to emphasize.

PARTICULARS OF THE RECORDING

That got me started on a 4 hour/day regimen of practice. On my birthday, October 24, my daughter Kathryn and her wonderful husband, Jonathan, bought me the session. It was videoed  by Mark Palmer.

Mark Palmer recorded the day with three cameras!
Mark Palmer recorded the day with three cameras!

 AT THE GLENRIDGE PERFORMING ARTS CENTER

My wife, Sharon-Lesley coached me on some tricky rhythms. She the agreed to be the page turner.IMG_0783

My youngest son had a day off. He was the  lighting technician and stage assistant. That was after a 4 minute tutorial.

My oldest son, Abe, was the first to insist on one hour of Debussy. He is a marvelous computer technician.

Melissa and Ben from the Glenridge graciously helped out and taught Daniel the ropes.
Melissa and Ben from the Glenridge graciously helped out and taught Daniel the ropes.
Daniel in the lighting booth
Daniel in the lighting booth

Conclusion: As proud as I am of A Date With Debussy-, I am even prouder of my family coming together to give me the best birthday present of my life. Date of release to be announced. And yes, I am working on piano music for an all French concert. It will  include works  Ravel and  Faure.