Friday, April 19, 2019

Happy Passover!

On this Friday April 19, 2019, at sundown Jews around the world will be celebrating the first night of the eight days of Passover.  We do so with the Passover Seder.  Passover is one of the most observed Jewish holidays that celebrates God's freeing the Israelites from slavery under ancient Egypt as described in the second book of the Bible  [Old Testament] - Exodus.  Many Christians also celebrate Passover and a Seder.

The Seder Plate includes roasted hard boiled egg; roasted shankbone; bitter herbs-horse radish [maror - chazaret]; sweet chaorset [nuts, apple slices, cinammon]; parsley [Karpas] which is dipped in salt water; matzah; and cup of wine.
At the Passover Seder the Haggadah [Jewish book for the Passover service] is read giving the order of the Seder [which includes drinking 4 cups of wine and the four questions traditionally asked by the youngest person able at the Seder table].   After the reading of the Haggadah, the Seder service ends and the meal begins.  I love the Seder service, but I really love when the meal begins as it means here comes the Matzoh Ball soup and the rest of the great feast.

I'll take the hard matzah balls and pass the matzah farfel please  :-) 
One of the traditional songs sung at the Passover Seder is Dayenu.  This is a happy, upbeat song in praise of God for all his blessings to the Jewish people, such as taking us out of slavery, giving us the Torah, etc.  Dayenu means "It would have been enough."   In the song, every time we sing the word Dayenu, it means we are praising God and letting him know that had he only given us one of his many blessings, 'that would have been enough'.  Jews are in awe and praise of God's continuing blessings to the Jewish people.

Happy Passover to all!


Next Year in Jerusalem!

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Beethoven's Sustained Beauty

L. V. Beethoven
One of Beethoven's most famous piano sonata's is his sonata #14 in C-sharp minor known as his "Moonlight" sonata.  Most classical pieces with 3 movements have a fast, slow, fast tempo form.  Beethoven's moonlight sonata is unique in that the first movement is in a slow speed, the slowest of the three movements. The first movement is one of the more recognizable of piano sonata movements.  I am fairly certain you have heard this many times before.

The first movement is marked adagio sostenuto.  This means the movement is to be played in a slow sustained manner. The way this is done on the piano is to play in a strong legato form in which the notes are connected and the first note held well into the second note being depressed.  Another way for a note to be sustained [longer than the full value given] is for the pianist to use the middle pedal, which is called the sostenuto pedal.  When depressed, whatever note has been played while it has been depressed will sustain that note [and that note only] until the pedal is released.    The first slow movement is truly beautiful and moving.  

Beethoven's sustained beauty.

Tiffany Poon
I have found this wonderful playing of the Moonlight Sonata on You Tube by this young girl Tiffany Poon.  She was only 13 years old when performing this in the hall at Julliard School of Music.  On twitter she is @Tiffanypianist  On Facebook Tiffany Poon is here.

The talented virtuoso pianist, Tiffany Poon, is now 21.

Beethoven's great piano sonata #14 is in C-sharp minor with three movements: 1. Adagio Sostenuto, 2. Allegretto [which starts at 6:35] and the exciting movement 3. Presto Agitato [which starts at 9:08]

Please turn up the volume and enjoy Beethoven's beautiful Moonlight Sonata.

L.V. Beethoven: Piano Sonata #14 in C-sharp minor "Moonlight":

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Trip To London

Repeat post from August, 2014 of our great family vacation in London.  It also includes a couple hour visit in Paris, France in the video from 4:52-6:44.  With today's [April 15, 2019] tragic and devastating  fire of the iconic breathtaking Notre Dame Cathedral - there is a brief picture of it at the 6:13 mark.  Because we didn't have much time before we had to catch the Eurostar train back to London, we never went inside.  I always was hoping in the future to go back to Paris to spend more time and then take a tour inside the wondrous Cathedral.  So, heartbreaking.  I am repeating this post in honor of all Parisians, Frenchmen, and all Catholics around the world on this Holy Week. 

Big Ben in London, England
Our family just arrived safely back home after a great trip to London, England.  A great time was had by all.  The people we encountered in London were very nice and friendly.  Here is a video of some of the pictures that I took while there.  It includes a one-day visit to Paris via the Eurostar train that goes through the underwater tunnel in the English channel.  Pictures weren't allowed in Buckingham Palace [which was an awesome tour] with so many awesome chandeliers in every single room or in the Piccadilly Theater where we saw a great performance of Jersey Boys with some of the loudest ovations I have ever heard at a show or at a concert.  Also, pictures can't capture the wonderful English accent [or I guess we are the ones who had an American accent] or the beautiful French language in Paris; also, pictures can't describe the beautiful sweet aroma we encountered upon entering the Harrod's luxurious department store's perfumery department as we just opened the door.  

With that in mind, Tales presents it's 2014 vacation trip to London.

Trip To London - 2014:

Featuring: Big Mike and Mrs. big Mike aka the fetching Sheralyn and wonderful  daughter Ebony and son-in-law, big John and the nice sister of Sheralyn, Carmen.

Music in the order it is played: 
1.  A short clip of George Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue".
2.  England's own Sir Edward Elgar's "Nimrod" from his "Enigma Variations".
3.  Rule, Britannia
4.  British National Anthem [ending]: "God Save the Queen"
5.  George Gershwin's "An American In Paris" [clips]
6.  Modest Mussorgsky's "Pictures At An Exhibition".
7.  George Fredrick Handel's "Water Music".
8.  Dean Martin sings the ending of "Going Back To Houston".

Note:  Would have loved to get pictures from inside awesome Buckingham Palace when we toured there, but pictures weren't allowed.

Please turn up the volume and enlarge the picture for best viewing and [even if you don't like the pictures] to hear some great music.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Jackie Robinson Day 2019!

Once again Major League Baseball honors the great American, Jackie Robinson, as every MLB player in every major league park will wear his retired number, 42, that he wore with the Brooklyn Dodgers.  Jackie Robinson is the only player in baseball to have his number officially retired by MLB [meaning no player can ever again where the number 42 on any team in Major League Baseball].

  Target Field in 2013, where the Minnesota Twins, as all MLB players, wearing Jackie Robinson's #42  

From my post: "MLB Honoring the Great American Jackie Robinson #42":  "Major League baseball honors Jackie Robinson, the first black American allowed to play in the segregated major leagues when he started for the Brooklyn Dodgers at first base on April 15, 1947.   This is the [fifteenth] anniversary of Jackie Robinson Day commemorated at every major league ballpark in America." [The day to honor Jackie Robinson was initiated on April 15, 2004] 

"Jackie Robinson has to be regarded as one of the top Americans who influenced civil rights in our history, along with great figures like Rosa Parks, not just for being the first black man to play Major League Baseball, but for having to endure unspeakable acts of bigotry against him for daring to break the color barrier in baseball. He not only endured them, but he faced them down with courage and grace, in overcoming the bigots.  And now Major League Baseball rightfully honors Jackie Robinson every April 15, as every major league baseball player wears Jackie Robinson's number 42."

"My wife and I went to see the movie "42" and I can report that this is a must see movie by every American.  We thought it was a great  moving movie that ended in applause by the entire theater and tears in many eyes [I know there were some in Sheralyn's and my eyes].  What is great is that Jackie Robinson's wife, the graceful Rachel Robinson is still living and getting to enjoy this celebration of her beloved Jackie."

Jackie and Rachel Robinson
 Happy Jackie Robinson Day, America!