Entertaining Eleanor Roosevelt

Entertaining Eleanor Roosevelt at Carnegie Hall

Entertaining Eleanor Roosevelt at Carnegie Hall has quite a happy and unusual twist for Rubinoff. Why am I writing this? I was Rubinoff’s arranger and accompanist for some 15 years. Dave’s life’s story is largely untold and it simply was incredibly exciting. When we went on our lunch breaks, which were always short due to the importance of the music, I heard the most fantastic stories. Some of these stories made it into his autobiography, The Dance of the Russian Peasant. 

Anna Eleanor Roosevelt (/ˈɛlɪnɔːr ˈrzəvɛlt/; October 11, 1884 – November 7, 1962) was an American political figure, diplomat and activist.[5] She served as the First Lady of the United States from March 4, 1933, to April 12, 1945. Her husband President Franklin D. Roosevelt‘s had four terms in office. Consequently, this made her the longest-serving First Lady of the United States.[5] She served as United States Delegate to the United Nations General Assembly from 1945 to 1952.[6][7]

Eleanor Roosevelt portrait 1933.jpg

President Harry S. Truman later called her the “First Lady of the World” in tribute to her human rights achievements.[8] 

Entertaining Eleanor Roosevelt at Carnegie Hall had Unexpected Consequences for Dave

Dave gave a concert at Carnegie Hall attended by Eleanor Rossevelt, two generals and secret service. Eleanor said to Dave, ” You were inspiring, as always. I want you to meet Richard Addinsell from England.” Immediately Rubinoff told the great British composer how much he admired his Warsaw Concerto and wanted to play it on the violin. Addinsell said it was written for piano. Rubinoff told him he would be happy to help him make an arrangement for violin.  Dave said it would be a great honor if  he could actually help him make the violin arrangement. As a result, Dave and Richard are busy conferring on the project in the featured picture.

Love Note Written by Darlene Changed Rubinoff’s Life

 

Warsaw Concerto - Theme

Start Over Again

Start Over Again Rubinoff Discusses the Great Depression

Start Over Again Rubinoff Discusses the Great Depression. Monopoly can be an allegory for life. Every time you pass “Go”, you start over again. The thing is to just keep on going! Yes, the roll of a dice can bring hardship and calamity. You can loose a ton of money when another player has hotels on Boardwalk or Parkway. Just keep on playing the game. Perhaps there is a chance? Now who was are Rubinoff?

  • Rubinoff and His Violin was a conductor violinist that I worked with for 15 years.
start over again
Rubinoff apprenticed with Victor Herbert and then with John Phillip Sousa. Sousa set Dave up with the U.S. State Department and from this connection, Rubinoff brought music to children throughout the country for almost the nest 60 years
 

Below is the Start Over Context of Famed Violinist, Rubinoff and His Violin

start over again
Dave bought his violin at the Wurlitzer auction in 1929 for $100,000.00. Now it it’s for sale and worth millions. I was his accompanist and arranger for 15 years.

Rubinoff did the start over thing. He left Russia under the wing of Victor Herbert, becoming his protege. Dave and his entire family had  lived in abject poverty and with anti–Jewish sentiment while in Russia and Poland.  He rose through his own efforts; from selling newspapers on a street corner  to conducting and working orchestras for both the Paramount Theater in Brooklyn  and Pictures in Hollywood. He lead the Chicago Symphony in a concert attended by 225,000 people in 1937. They turned away 25,000 at the door. Among many accomplishments, he played for 5 American Presidents. Talking about the hardships of the Great Depression Dave says in his autobiography: “I guessed the ones who were committing suicide hadn’t learned to throw ace-duce and start over again.”

Internal link:

Rubinoff Friendship with Will Rogers and His Special Poem
Extenal link is from our other website, Reviving Antiquity.com    Musical Building by Tones of the Old Scale
entertainer friendships

Entertainer Friendships Can Make Careers Skyrocket

Entertainer Friendships Can Make Careers Skyrocket.

Entertainer friendships
Rudy gave Dave Rubinoff his start in the newly created medium of mass media.

Rudy Vallee (July 28, 1901 – July 3, 1986) was a popular American singer, actor, bandleader, and entertainer. Born Hubert Prior Vallée in Island Pond, Vermont, he grew up in Westbrook, Maine. In high school he took up the saxophone and acquired the nickname.  “Rudy” was the name given after famous saxophonist Rudy Weidoeft. Vallee became the most prominent and arguably the first of a new style of popular singer, the “crooner”. Previously, popular singers both needed and had strong projecting voices to fill theaters.  Such were the voices neededin the days before the microphone.  New style crooners had soft voices that were well suited to the intimacy of the new medium of radio.

Entertainer Friendships

Vallee came often to play at the Paramount. Rubinoff told me about Rudy admired his playing and conducting of his overtures. Vallee was a sensation at that time with the college crowd. Everyone loved his Whiffin’ Poof Song. What is Whiffin’Poof? The Yale Whiffenpoofs is a collegiate a cappella singing group established at Yale University in 1909.  It is the oldest such group in the United States. The line-up is completely replaced each year: Rising seniors comprise its members. They often take a year leave of absence from the university to tour the United States and internationally. Former members included Cole Porter & Jonathan Coulton!

"The Whiffenpoof Song" (Rudy Vallee, 1927)
► 3:14

“The Whiffenpoof Song” (Rudy Vallee, 1927) – YouTube 

 

 

Dave often talked with me about how they ate, drank and signed autographs together. Also about how they enjoyed each others company and respected each other’s art.  Comically, Rubinoff admired how Vallee spoke perfect English with impeccable diction. Dave, by comparison, was often unhappy about how he spoke with a heavy Russian accent.  Rudy would then assure him not to worry because his violin would speak for him. Rudy guided Dave to his first job on the Chase and Sanborn radio hour. The rest is history. 

internal link: Rubinoff Friendship with Will Rogers and His Special Poem

music offers strength

Music Offers Strength in Rubinoff’s Older Age

Music offers Strength at Scott's
Darlene and Dave Rubinoff stayed on the 1st floor  on the right end “Green Gables”. Sharon and I spent many summers on the 2nd floor at the left end. After our concerts we put up a sign that read: “Rubinoff slept here!”. Hurrah for Scott’s at the Catskills!

Music Offers Strength in Rubinoff’s Older Age. Scott’s Oquaga Lake House was founded in 1869. This was about thirty years before Dave Rubinoff, the master violinist,  was born, in 1897. How did Rubinoff come to play here? I, David Ohrenstein, was the House piano player here for some 15 years. Doris and Ray Scott took wife Sharon and I in with our three children to enjoy the summers at this historical American resort. Of course professionally,  I was the “House” piano player. When we first started going there we only had Abe and Kathryn. Our youngest, Daniel was yet to be born. 

Doug & Eamonn Debut at Scott’s Oquaga Lake House. The Marvelous Ms. Maisel sits  in a canoe on Oquaga Lake in front of Scott’s Playhouse where Rubinoff and I performed one of his last concerts. Listen to this incredibly rare concert on the youtube connection below.

Music Offers Strength to Rubinoff at Scott’s

I quote from Darlene Rubinoff’s book, Dance of the Russian Peasant: “Oquaga Lake was beautiful and there was so much to do that summer. We had two of our four grand children…Aaron still remembers that summer vacation. On his return to his new school year he wrote an essay about it. It earned him an A+. Indeed, it was an A+ summer!”

We have my daughter to thank for this video. The video was taken and then lost. When it was finally found, daughter Kathryn took on the incredibly difficult job of posting it.  This 1984 video offers a complete course in American musical history.  Hear all about Victor Herbert John Philip Sousa, Caruso, Paderewski and many American Presidents. .

Internal link:                                Cotton Club Rendezvous in the 1930’s

continuous musical practice

Continuous Musical Practice by Rubinoff and His Violin

Continuous Musical Practice by Rubinoff and His Violin. Yes, Dave played and conducted at the Paramount Theater and for Paramount pictures. His fame covered the country from New York to Hollywood. Rubinoff was a guest conductor of the Chicago Philharmonic. Dave featured his artistry weekly on the Ed Cantor radio hour. Yet, he always made time for children in schools. 

I Witnessed Dave’s Continuous Musical Practice

I (David Ohrenstein) worked as his accompanist and arranger for many years. My work took place at the Leland House in downtown Detroit. After he married Darlene Azar, we worked together in Hilliard Ohio and later in Houston Texas. Dave seemed to like my musical ideas. Also, my temperament is easy going. So what characterized Dave’s practicing? 

Continual musical practice
Dave always held his Stradivarius violin in front of him like a valued trophy. This was his object of continuous musical practice. A younger me is standing next to this great master.

Except for eating, he almost never stopped playing his violin. When he watched TV, his violin was in his hand. Over and over, he worked tricky passages. When his wife or a chauffeur drove us to a concert, he’d run scales in the back seat on his violin. We worked a five day day making musical arrangements. Trial and error for arrangements and practice for proper technique were always there.  

Bringing the house down at Carnegie Hall; yet he’d always play for children in schools.

Here’s What Dave Had to Say About Being Diverted from Practice

I quote this story from Dave autobiography written with his last wife, Darlene. His book is entitled Dance of the Russian Peasant. “Back in Hollywood, Cary Grant, Victor Mature, Rudy Vallee…talked me into going deep sea fishing on someone’s yacht…To me it was a waste of time; I could have been practicing. Music was my life. I lived for music.” My own relevant story was the day a said to Dave, “Music has been good to you.” Dave immediately and sharply replied; “Why, that’s because I’ve been good to music!”

Enjoy these internal Rubinoff links for stories like you’ve never heard: 

 

 

Knickerbocker Hotel

Knickerbocker Hotel Houses Rubinoff and His Violin

Knickerbocker Hotel Houses Rubinoff and His Violin. Rubinoff was in the employ of the Paramount Theaters in New York. He also worked for the Paramount Pictures in Hollywood, Ca. What a life he lived!  My connection (David Ohrensein): I was Rubinoff’s arranger and accompanist for some 15 years. 

  • On the East Coast he chummed around the big names at Harlem’s Cotton Club after conducting at the Paramount Theater. 
  • On the West Coast he socialized with Hollywood stars after filming for Paramount Pictures at the Knickerbocker.

One way he was able to tell where he was (especially after a drink or two) was by the stars in the room: If he saw his friends  Cab Calloway, Lena Horne, Satchmo, Ethel Waters, Joe Lewis- the heavyweight champion of the world-Louis Armstrong,  or Jimmy Durante” – he knew he was on the East Coast.

Dave made many movies for Paramount Pictures. On the West Coast he chummed around with Hollywood stars. What a life!

Amazon.com: THANKS A MILLION (Arthur Johnston SHEET MUSIC) from ...
The Knickerbocker was a hangout for his cast after hours.

About the Los Angeles Knickerbocker Hotel

Date of completion was 1929 when it was rechristened the Knickerbocker in June 1929.[1][2] The hotel catered to the Hollywood’s film industry. Some of Hollywood’s most famous dramatic moments took place there. For example on Halloween  of 1936, Harry Houdini‘s widow held her tenth séance to contact her deceased husband/magician on the roof of the hotel.[3]

For this section I quote from Rubinoff’s` autobiography as he dictated to his wife, Darlene:

“I was making the movie Thanks a Million with Dick Powell, Ann Dvorak, and Patsy Kelly. We had many intimate get-togethers at the Knickerbocher Hotel Grill. This hotel had the reputation for being haunted.” (see picture below) If you look at the sheet music (to the right),  Paul Whiteman led the band for the movie. Lasting fame  attached itself  Whiteman for introducing the world to Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue.  

Dead Hollywood The Lady Dicks
It seems like most fun a person can have is visiting a haunted place. This is especially true on Halloween.

Internal link to Rubinoff and the Cotton Club:    Cotton Club Rendezvous in the 1930’s

 

Cotton Club Carousing

Cotton Club Carousing for Rubinoff and His violin

Cotton Club Carousing for Dave Rubinoff and His violin. I begin working with Rubinoff as his accompanist and arranger when he was 70.  I was 21 years old at the time. How did this happen?  I was working on my Master of Music degree at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. Dave Rubinoff was staying at the Leland House in downtown Detroit. I just happened to be walking by the Liberal Arts Music Office. A Dr. Morris Hochberg had just answered the phone at the office. Dave Rubinoff was on the phone. Dr. Hochberg said to me, “David, come here, there is someone I’d like you to talk with.”  As the story goes, I hit it off with this great violinist at my audition.

Dave Rubinoff and I (David Ohrenstein) remained best of friends and work associates until he passed away at age 89. He married Darlene Azar while we were working together. They then lived in Hilliard, Ohio so I simply made many trips to Ohio.  Darlene wrote a book about Dave that he dictated to her.

“The Music Shop” was filmed when he was at his prime. For the second youtube video, I personally brought David to Scott’s Oquaga Lake House for a 1984 concert. Dave will tell you unbelievable but true show biz stories.

16mm ‘soundie’ “THE MUSIC SHOP” US 1944 Rubinoff & his …

www.youtube.com › watch

16mm ‘soundie’ “THE MUSIC SHOP” US 1944 Rubinoff & his violin … Music Shop” and features …

May 17, 2014 – Uploaded by 95filmforever

Lost Concert “Rubinoff and His Violin” on Oquaga … – YouTube

www.youtube.com › watch

In one of the final years of his life, renowned violinist Dave Rubinoff plays the Stradivarius violin for an …

Jun 22, 2015 – Uploaded by Lesley & Ohrenstein

What’s it Like to Do Cotton Club Carousing ?

The story you are about to read was dictated to her in his “The Dance of the Russian Peasant.”

“Jimmy Petrillo, czar of the musicians union, picked me up in his armored car to go to the clubs. Once I rode with Al Capone and Jimmy in  Capone’s armored car. My brother Charlie advised me to stay away from Capone. Al Capone never bothered me or tried to befriend me. I guessed Jimmy Petrillo took care of Capone, and told him to leave me and mine alone.”

 

Internal Rubinoff Link: Ten Minute Musical Bliss of Rubinoff and His Violin    Please share this post!!!!!Thank you.

Rubinoff Friendship

Love Note Written by Darlene Changed Rubinoff’s Life

Love Note Written by Darlene changed Rubinoff’s Life. I, David Ohrenstein, worked with Rubinoff and His Violin over a 15 year period. We started in the summer of 1970.  I was working on my Master of Music degree at Wane State University. As I walked by theLieral Arts Music Office, Dave called.  aHe was looking for an arranger/accompanist.  Conductor Dr. Morris Hochberg.  He gave it to me. Talk about being in the right place at the right time. My capacity with Dave was as his arranger and accompanist. He was seventy-two years of age when our association began. Dave passed away at age eighty-nine. He was an incomparable violinist. Audiences loved him to the tune of $500,000.00 a year. That was in the 1930’s during the Great Depression.  Just imagine, Hollywood and Paramount Pictures helped to make a violin player into a matinee idol! Watch the youtube videos below and you’ll see their instinct was right!

 

Dave’s Love Note Story is Pretty Sensational

As the story goes, Dave felt depressed. For his concert in Hilliard, Ohio the community was small. The weather was very cold and advance tickets sales were quite meager. Usually Dave felt a great zest for the stage: However, not on that snowy night  that winter in February of 1972.  However, once Dave picked up his Stradivarius that belonged to the czars of Russia. The mood changed. His  is future wife to be, Darlene,  was in the audience. At the time she was still a widow.  Darlene handed him a note and told him not to read it until he was alone. The note read: 

Dear Mr. Rubinoff:

Tonight, at age forty-four, I
know what love at first sight means. 
If  I were free to do as I please, I
would follow you everywhere.
Mother of eight.

I never forget: When he returned to Detroit at the Leland House where he lived, he said to me: “Dave, I think I’m in love. I met a wonderful woman after my concert in Hilliard. Do you think I should marry her?” Being agreeable and easy going I replied, “Why not”?  He said:”She has eight children.” I then gulped and said, “That makes no difference if you really love her.” He married her. It ended up being the best thing he ever did. She and her children prolonged his life many extra years. He constantly flew me to Hilliard Ohio to work with him at Darlene’s beautiful home on new arrangements. PS I am also a composer. If you care to, read the internal link below. 

 

 

musical taste

Musical Taste Referenced by 3 Composers

Musical Taste Referenced by 3 Composers. Obviously, the feature picture is a gag photo and from the 1930’s. Bing Crosby was not a violinist. Here, Rubinoff let him play his Stradivarius violin. Back then, like now, people needed laughter and fun; anything to raise the spirits. My connection with this photo: I both arranged for and accompanied Rubinoff and His Violin over a fifteen year period. Below is a picture of me with “Ruby” from the 1980’s.

Musical taste
Rubinoff was a master of what the public enjoyed. For his astute musical taste, he made as much as $500.000.00 annually during the Great Depression. A younger David Ohrenstein (me) is pictured with the master.

Musical Taste as per Edward Elgar, Ralph Vaughn Williams and Arnold Schoenberg

  • Edward Elgar: Believed that being common place is worse than being vulgar. Even a University education cannot replace a commonplace mind. All white for rooms in a house does not show exquisite taste. It merely shows want of taste.
  • Ralph Vaughn  Williams stated: “If  a composer is naturally vulgar, let him be frank and write vulgar music, instead of hedging himself about with an artificial barrier of good taste.” 
  • Arnold Schoenberg went even further: “In my vocabulary (taste) stands for arrogance and superiority-complex of mediocrity. And taste is sterile. It cannot produce. Taste  applies only to the lower zones of  human feeling.” 

The above notations and quotes are reference in Michael Steinberg’s The Symphony, A Listener’s Guide , p.156 Oxford University Press 1995.

To sample Rubinoff’s musical taste click on the link below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rubinoff Friendship

Ten Minute Musical Bliss of Rubinoff and His Violin

Ten Minute Musical Bliss of Rubinoff and His Violin https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QUz-LOrzTQU. Like fine wine, musicians and artists improve with age. Dave Rubinoff is much too ignored today. That is due to the jealousy of the 100% pure classical musicians. Indeed, I even wonder how many pure symphonic musicians are left to be found today. It seems like so many are crossing the lines into the popular field.

Even as of recently, Dave Rubinoff refuses to give up the ghost. This is true even some 35 years after he passed away. Maestro, conductor, and curator Joseph Rubin (not related to Rubinoff except in spirit) gave a concert commemorating this great artist last summer. I was called to appear with violinist extraordinaire, Steven Greenman. It was  held at the  Circleville High School near Colombus, Ohio. Maestro Greenman had just returned from a tour of Poland. Among other places, he played the most haunting melodies in the synagogue in Cracow. Below was the itinerary Maestro Rubin sent me for the Circleville. Ohio concert.

Ten minute musical bliss
During the Great Depression, Rubinoff and His Violin had stellar income- as much as $500,000.00 a year during some years. This would be like millions today. For the Ten Minute Musical Bliss, go to the youtube connection given above. If you’ve ever heard a violinist/conductor with such precision, speed and musicality with movie star quality, let me know.

Witness Another Ten Minute Musical Bliss with Steven Greenman and I playing the Rubinoff’s Fiddler

Friday, June 1 (2017)
Around 3 PM – Rehearse Fiddler Medley with Steven Greenman, location TBA
7-9:30 PM – Orchestra Rehearsal at Circleville High School
Saturday, June 2
11 am – Rehearse Fiddler Medley with Steven Greenman
2-4:30 pm- Orchestra Rehearsal at Circleville High School
6:30 PM – Pre-show lecture at High School
7-9 PM Concert at High School
9-10:30 PM Post show VIP reception at High School
Copy and paste the youtube link above to see what success is obtainable by playing incredibly well what the general public enjoys. I was thrilled to work so many years with this man.