Johannes Brahms – His Life was Marked by Extremes. This is especially true with the ladies. He had a difficult time striking a happy medium. After Schubert, Brahms has become my favorite composer. His music has such a soul searching quality. I feel musically he was always searching for ideal love. Brahms was also charitable. To help out his family, he gave music lessons. He also played the piano in taverns, bordellos and local dance halls in his early teens. He never married. I quote The Classical Music Experience by Julius H. Jacobson. In his chapter about Brahms:”That (taverns) was my first impression of women…..And you expect me to honor them as you do?” The constant rough work with irregular hours affected his health. However, his attitude toward Robert and his wife, Clara Schumann, was totally different.
Brahms first visited the couple in Düsseldorf on 30 September 1853. Both welcomed him warmly. Robert was highly enthusiastic about the young man’s compositions. He went so far as to call the coming savior of German music!
However, Robert Schumann was becoming more and more unbalanced. He attempted suicide and was hospitalized. Brahms often visited Schumann in the hospital, . His friends, Joseph Joachim and Albert Dietrich, came with him. Brahms then lived with Clara and the children in the Schumann house. He became was helplessly in love with Clara. He wrote in frustration during 1855: “I can do nothing but think of you… What have you done to me?Can’t you remove the spell you have cast over me?” All accounts point to them as having had a strictly Platonic relationship.
How Johannes Brahms Paralleled Scott Joplin in America
Scott Joplin, like Brahms, played bordellos and taverns for income. He was also hailed by Europeans as the first great, original, legit, American composer. Kaiser Wilhelm of Austria is quoted as saying, at last someone has produced authentic, original American music. The King loved ragtime! Joplin officiated the American style of fun and syncopation. In this way he was not only a savior, but also, the father of American music. Enjoy my rendition of Scott Joplin’s Entertainer.
Conclusion: It’s fun to make comparisons. Who would ever think to compare Johannes Brahms with Scott Joplin? And yes, I have one or two openings for piano students in Sarasota.
Entertainer Lives on St Armand’s Circle at the Sarasota Crab and Fin restaurant. How? Listen to the outdoor piano playing of David Ohrenstein. He plays there Monday from 6-10 pm. And during the daytime on Tuesday 12:30 to 5:30 and Wednesday, same hours. Are you in the mood for fun? Then come and listen to David at the Crab and Fin. Enjoy the music written by the genius of Scott Joplin, Arthur Marshall or Scott Hayden. These three musical giants collaborated and/or lived together in Sedalia, Missouri at the Marshall home. This was because at the turn of the 1900’s, Sedalia allowed minority groups the chance for an excellent education. While some locations only allowed schooling for 3 months/year, Sedalia allowed a full 9 months. In no small measure, Sedalia, by accommodating Joplin and friends, allowed for the birth of the ragtime movement. That, in turn, shaped American popular culture.
Poster stamp for the Sedalia Missouri State Fair, c.1930.
Sedalia is also home to The Pettis County Museum and Historical Society, located at 228 Dundee Ave. The building was once a Jewish Synagogue and features many Historical artifacts from all periods of Pettis County history.
Entertainer is Heard on the Streets of Sarasota at the Outdoor Setting of the Crab and Fin
David offers a lesson on playing the music of Scott Joplin in the enclosed video. He explains how the notes tied over the measure are of the essence. Of course, playing ragtime requires a beautiful tone. All three of the ragtime giants described above were classically trained. Ideally, any serious player of ragtime should have had such training. Without the production of nice tone, any music can become vulgar. David studied with Mischa Kottler at Wayne State University. He holds a Master of Music degree. Kottler,then head of the piano department at Wayne, believed that it took about one full year to develop a correct approach to touch and beautiful tone. David now offers piano lessons in Sarasota to this end. In the meanwhile, be entertained by David’s version of The Entertainer.
Ragtime Enriches Yes, I Mean Money, lots of it! And yes, it’s time to be happy again. Listen to some Scott Joplin, Charles Lamb, Eubie Blake, Tom Turpin, James Jesse Europe or Luckyeth Roberts. Their music is as entertaining as their names. Eubie Blake said in gracious tribute, “Joplin was the father of us all.” Ragtime is a musical style that enjoyed its peak popularity between 1895 and 1918. Its cardinal trait is its syncopated, or “ragged”, rhythm. The style has its origins in African-American communities like St. Louis years before being published as popular sheet music for piano.
Scott Joplin is unquestionably the father of ragtime.
What brought about the return of ragtime after 1918? The movie called The Sting. The film is noted for its anachronistic use of ragtime, particularly the melody “The Entertainer” by Scott Joplin, which was adapted (along with others by Joplin) for the movie by Marvin Hamlisch (and a top-ten chart single for Hamlisch when released as a single from the film’s soundtrack). The film’s success created a resurgence of interest in Joplin’s work.
The Scott family was attracted by the Kissin’ Cuzzins marquee that announced me playing ragtime piano. They own Scott’s Oquaga Lake House in the Catskills. Its been in the family since 1869. The current year was 1983. For my audition I had to play the Pineapple Rag perfectly for the The Scotts. They were so impressed that they invited our entire family up to New York for that summer. That started a long string of about 20 summer seasons in the Catskills. We got to live our lives like as it was in the 1930’s setting of The Sting. It was like we took a time machine to the past. All loved it! It give rise to my book of poetry, The Oquaga Spirit Speaks, available on the product page.
David to play the Steinways at the Gasparilla Inn: David not only loves a piano with beautiful tone; but also music with beautiful melody. Music, he believes, should be all about beauty, enjoyment and relaxation. Thus he plays the music of Cole Porter, George Gershwin, Rodgers and Hart, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Henry Mancini, Michel Legrand, Billy Joel, Barry Manilow, Elton John, the Beatles, Scott Joplin, and any composer(s) who write memorable melodies. He even plays the theme from the King’s Speech (Beethoven’s 7th Symphony), Gustav Holst’s Jupiter, from the Planets, as well as music by Chopin, Rachmaninoff, Beethoven, Debussy, Ravel and J.S. Bach to name a few.The kids are happy when they hear his selections from the movies such as: Star Wars, Batman, Harry Potter, Home Alone, Close Encounters of a Third Kind, and Jurassic Park.
WHAT PIANO MUSIC DO THE PATRONS SEEM TO ENJOY THE MOST AT THE GASPARILLA INN?
Year after year though, everyone’s favorites are still by Henry Mancini including the theme from the Pink Panther (with the magical effect of its opening four note rhythm), the Baby Elephant Walk, Charade, the Days of Wine and Roses, Arabesque and of course Moon River. Enjoy the eloquence of old Florida decor, the beautiful atmosphere, great food by master chefs, and, of course, the vintage Steinway grand pianos from the 1920’s. David’s personal feeling walls of the Inn respond the best to Scott Joplin since they were built while he was actually writing ragtime. Celebrate your most special occasion in a most wonderful way; see you there! Admission to the public is either free or the price of a beverage in the living room; and the cost of dinner in the dining room. Formal dress code required for dinner.