Thursday, June 22, 2017

It's Summertime And The Music Is Hot

With all the politics and news that is going on the Tales almost missed that we have entered the first day of summer.  It's summertime baby, and on the Tales, that means the music is hot!

Summer Solstice - June 21, 2017  - good day sunshine! 
And what can be hotter than Antonio Vivaldi's "Summer" concerto from his "Four Seasons".  Antonio Vivaldi was a great Italian Baroque composer and a violin virtuoso.  His most well known work was his set of four short violin concerti that represented each of the seasons.  Vivaldi's "Four Seasons" is not just his most well known piece, it is also one of the most well known pieces in the Baroque repertoire.  The Summer concerto is the second concerto of the Four Seasons which is in G minor.  The first movement [in the following video from 0-6:00] is scored allegro non molto.  The second movement [6:06-8:08]  is scored Adagio e piano-presto e forte. And the exciting final movement [8:12-end], often referred to as "the storm", is scored presto.  The first two movements of the summer concerto have an unusual dual character-both starting slow, calm, but have phrases intertwined that are tense and fast.  The final movement is tense and exciting from beginning to end.  It is one of my favorite movements of all the 12 movements in the "Four Seasons".

Also, how can a Tales classical music summer be considered hot without the song "Summertime" from the great early 20th century American composer George Gershwin.  "Summertime" was one of the great aria's from Gershwin's beloved opera "Porgy and Bess."  I think you will love this version featuring Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong.


Then please enjoy a piece by one of my favorite composers, the German early Romantic Era composer Felix Mendelssohn.  Of course, I am talking about one of his famous pieces, "A Midsummer Night's Dream".  His "Overture To A Midsummer Night's Dream" is very melodic and beautiful, a description that is common with all of Mendelssohn's pieces.


Then-a bonus special on the Tales-while maybe not a classical music piece, still one of the favs of the Tales!  You will need to scroll down to find out what it is. 

So, please turn up the volume and enjoy some hot music on this Tales classical music special honoring the beginning of Summer.


Antonio Vivaldi: Concerto #2 in G-minor, "Summer", from "The Four Seasons":


George Gershwin: "Summertime", aria from "Porgy and Bess":



Felix Mendelssohn: Overture in E-Major to "A Midsummer Night's Dream":



Tales bonus special - The Beatles "Here Comes The Sun":




Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Hail To The Jewfish

As a recent Supreme Court decision portends that the Washington Redskins will not need to change their name, here is an oldie but goodie Tales post from June 5, 2015 about what if the Redskins name did need to be changed. What would that new name be?

Hail To The Jewfish - first published June 15, 2015:  

Producer Jim Mudd started the discussion on Jewfish
On Wednesday morning, June 4, 2015, on this local Houston radio sports show, "In The Loop" with announcers  Nick Wright, John Lopez, and producers Jim Mudd and Robert Hensley they had this hilarious discussion about Jewfish, which they insisted, and I discovered, is a real name for various types of fish. 

The discussion was so funny, I tweeted out to the guys that, as a Jew [although not a fish], that discussion was so funny I nearly drove off the road. 
Jewfish - this is the giant of the groupers

That got me to thinking, if the Washington Redskins ever decided to change their name, which I don't think they should unless a poll can show that the name is offensive to a majority of Native Americans [in which case they then, I believe, should change their name] here is a new name I am pretty sure that has not been taken by any other sports team in America.   

The new name I am talking about? - the Washington Jewfish!  As a Jew, I might get excited by the chant coming from Jewfish Stadium during a Jewfish game, Go Jews!

And with their new logo of a giant Jewfish, the Washington NFL team will, of course, need a new fight song. 

Hmm.  How about:

Hail To The Jewfish:


Go Jews!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Jay Sekulow Being Crystal Clear?

Jay Sekulow, the chief counsel for the American Center for Law & Justice, is someone who I like and over the years have had tremendous respect. That is why the following interview Jay had with Chris Wallace, on his Fox News Sunday show, was so cringe worthy for me and I'm sure anyone who does respect Mr. Sekulow. 
Jay "let me be clear" Sekulow
Jay Sekulow being interviewed Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday on June 18, 2017:  note:  it gets real cringe worthy  from about 2:30 - 3:50)



Wasn't it Lord Acton who said, 'Trump corrupts and defending Trump corrupts absolutely'...or something like that.  :-)


Saturday, June 17, 2017

You Can Get It All From Classical Music

Some people like country music because of the different narratives of life it tells.  Some people like rock music for the sound and sometimes excitement it brings.  Some like pop music for a more light hearted mood. Some like blues music for the spiritual and depiction of harsh realities of some life experiences.  Some like the Louisiana Cajun or Zydeco music for the upbeat fun nature that will put a smile on your face. Some people, like me, really love Motown music for its beautiful melodies and vocal harmonies. 

One of the reasons I love classical music, because you can get many of these same different moods somewhere in the classical genre. That mood won't be spoken with words but rather with the music delivered by the symphonic orchestra. What is more, you can not only get a variety of moods - happiness, sadness, serious, light hearted, pensive, etc. but you can get those different moods with also many times a beautiful melodic sound.  


Here are just a few of the numerous examples of the different moods you can get from classical music.

1.  The first example for those who want serious, thoughtful music, with at the same time a beautiful bold sound, we turn to the early 20th century British composer, Ralph Vaughan Williams and his "Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis.

Ralph Vaughan Williams: Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis

2.  Now for a fun light hearted piece we turn to the quintessential classical music composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and his overture to the Marriage of Figaro.

W. A. Mozart:  Marriage of Figaro Overture


3.  Now if you like exciting, dramatic pieces we turn to the Romantic era German composer known mostly for his exciting dramatic operas, Richard Wagner.  One of the most exciting moments of Wagner's third opera , Die Walkure [Valkyrie], comes at the beginning of the third act, known as "The Ride of the Valkyries".

Richard Wagner: "Ride of the Valkyries" from Die Walkure Act 3:

4.  For a more romantic, relaxing, somewhat somber mood, we turn the the Adagio movement of the great Beethoven's "Emperor" piano concerto.  This is also beautiful music.  This video has Maestro Paavo Jarvi conducting and Helene Grimaud as soloist. 

L.V. Beethoven: Piano Concerto #5 in E-Flat Major, "The Emperor", movement #2, Adagio:

5.  For just some beautiful melodies there is no better composer to turn to than Felix Mendelssohn.  One of my favorites, which I have played many times on the Tales classical music weekends is Mendelssohn's beautiful Hebrides Overture [Fingal's Cave].

Felix Mendelssohn: Hebrides Overture:


6.  The final example is a piece of music that is called a program piece, written specifically to tell a story through music, not words. One of the best examples is Maurice Ravel's orchestration of the Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky's "Picture at an Exhibition" which depicts walking through an art museum and depicting the different exhibits in that museum.  The walking through the museum is delivered by the main mesmerizing "promenade" theme [that you will hear open this program piece and throughout].  This is one of my favorite pieces of music.  

Maurice Ravel orchestration of Modest Mussorgsky's "Pictures At An Exhibition":