Saturday, February 24, 2018

Gershwin Explained Like You Have Never Seen Before

My big brother Sandy, a great American, found this awesome video of Dr. Astrith Baltsan, virtuoso classical pianist, narrator and musicologist from Israel, explaining in a short but brilliant way the music of George Gershwin [who she informs was born Jacob Gershowitz].

George Gershwin [1898 - 1937]
I know Dr. Baltsan's students must feel blessed to have such a great teacher as this.  Here she performs with the Israel Philharmonic.  In this video she explains how Gershwin's love of music of different cultures was brilliantly combined in what is undoubtedly George Gershwin's most popular piece, Rhapsody in Blue.

Now enjoy the complete Rhapsody in Blue by George Gershwin:

George Gershwin: An American in Paris

George Gershwin: "I've Got Rhythm" for solo piano from the musical Girl Crazy

George Gershwin: "Summertime" from the opera Porgy and Bess, Ella Fitzgerald singer:

Friday, February 23, 2018

An Early Hint Of How Mark Cuban Would Handle The Dallas Mavericks Current Scandal?

Hat TipLandry Locker - producer of the 610 morning Sports Radio Show called MAD Radio with Seth Payne and Mike Meltser.

A Feb. 20, 2018 story in Sports Illustrated, "Exclusive: Inside the Corrosive Workplace Culture of the Dallas Mavericks" by John Wertheim and Jessica Luther, detailed a corporate culture of sexual  harassment and corrosive behavior in the Dallas Mavericks organization.  This behavior was exemplified, according to the investigative story, by the president and CEO of the Mavericks, Terdema Ussery, who for many years had allegations against him, even before Cuban took over the team.

But why would Mark Cuban retain this man when he became owner of the Dallas Mavericks in the year 2000 and why has his reaction to the Sports Illustrated article been one of amazement?  From the Sports Illustrated article"Reached by SI on Monday, Cuban expressed embarrassment and horror at the accusations—but insisted he had no knowledge of the corrosive culture in his offices. 'This is all new to me,' he said".

Owner of the Mavs - Mark Cuban - "this is news to me"
This from "Sports Day" in the Dallas News: "it's difficult to imagine that, over the 15 years that Ussery worked under him, Cuban never had a clue about the salacious details laid bare by Sports Illustrated.  Especially when he knew the organization had done its own investigation of Ussery two years before he bought the team, which, you know, might have caught his attention."

"As a result of those allegations in 1998, the Mavs hired a guy to sit outside Ussery's office in his job as head of human resources. They also drafted a new set of guidelines on interoffice conduct. Because nothing stops harassment like a good pamphlet. But Ussery remained, until 2015, when he resigned to take a position with Under Armour."

Did we get an early preview [2015] of how Mark Cuban would react to this scandal, when we see what his reaction was to the Dallas Cowboys signing of Defensive End, Greg Hardy, who was found guilty of assaulting and threatening to kill his girlfriend?

This from Sporting News, March 21, 2015: "A lot of people have a problem with the Cowboys signing Greg Hardy.  Mark Cuban isn’t one of them.  The owner of the NBA team also located in Dallas said that while he didn’t think the Cowboys handled their signing of the Pro Bowl defensive end correctly, he thinks it's unfair to not give Hardy a second chance."  "I think they handled it wrong publicly ... (but) you can't just throw people away," Cuban told the Dallas Morning News .  “What are you going to say about Greg Hardy?  You can’t ever get a job?"

So, it seems like Cuban has a history of  "second chances" even for sexual harassers and sexual assaulters.

Also, Seth Payne, co-host of MAD radio, made the astute observation that Mark Cuban [possibly thinking of some action that could be taken against him in the future], didn't even think that Donald Sterling, the racist owner of the Los Angeles Clippers should have been thrown out of the league, even though Cuban recognized he was a bigot and racist as he said, "people are allowed to be morons and stupid in this country, even owners of NBA teams" and [from the LA Times]: "Cuban made it clear that he thought the NBA would be better off without Sterling as an owner, but he also said it would be a "very slippery slope" if the league started forcing owners to sell based on comments made in private."

Hmm, or maybe a "very slippery slope" that would also lead to the league forcing out owners for turning a blind eye to a culture of sexual harassment in their organization? 

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Albert Ketelbey's Inclusion Of The Kol Nidre Theme In His 'Sanctuary Of The Heart'

On my morning walk on Sunday morning [Feb. 26, 2017] while listening to "All Classical Portland" I heard this peaceful meditative piece, with an almost movie like theme.  What caught my ear was all of a sudden hearing the Jewish Kol Nidre theme [chanted/sung on Yom Kippur Eve in synagogues in what is known as the 'Kol Nidre Service'] played in the piece.

Albert Ketelbey [1875 - 1959]
I found out this piece was "The Sanctuary of the Heart" by the late Romantic Era English composer, conductor and pianist, Albert Ketelbey.  On the Sanctuary of the Heart web page I found out some interesting information.   This piece was published in 1924 and in the synopsis in the sheet music when describing the origin of the themes in this piece, Ketelbey did not name the Kol Nidre theme only describing it as "an old melody".   The reason is, according to this article, there was a lot of prejudice in Britain in the 1920's against non-Christian religions.  It wasn't until 1928 when Ketelbey revised his synopsis of his piece did he finally name the Kol Nidre theme. 

Please turn up the volume, play in full screen and enjoy Ketelbey's "Sanctuary of the Heart".  This is a very nice melodic piece. 

Note: the Kol Nidre theme begins at the 1:38 mark. 

Albert Ketelbey: Sanctuary of the Heart:

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

On This Day In 1948 NASCAR Was Founded

This from "On this day in history" - Feb. 21: "On this day in 1948, the National Association for Stock Car Racing–or NASCAR, as it will come to be widely known–is officially incorporated."

"The driving force behind the establishment of NASCAR was William “Bill” France Sr. (1909-1992), a mechanic and auto-repair shop owner from Washington, D.C., who in the mid-1930s moved to Daytona Beach, Florida."

Richard Petty - The King
Further down in the article, "Lee Petty won the first Daytona 500, which was run on February 22 of that year.  The Daytona 500 became NASCAR’s season opener and one of its premiere events. Lee Petty’s son Richard, who began his racing career in 1958, won the Daytona 500 a record seven times and became NASCAR’s first superstar before retiring in 1992.  On February 18, 1979, the first live flag-to-flag coverage of the Daytona 500 was broadcast on television. An end-of-the-race brawl between drivers Cale Yarborough and Donnie and Bobby Allison was a huge publicity generator and helped boost NASCAR’s popularity on a national scale." 

In this year's Daytona 500, 27 year old Austin Dillon won the "great American race" driving the #3 car, the same as the legendary late great Dale Earnhardt, Sr. [who won the race 20 years ago-almost to the day]. 

To read the whole article from, please click here.

Boogity, boogity, boogity, Let's go racing!