Friday, April 3, 2020

Tales Tweet of The Week [April 2020]

It is that time again, fans of the Tales website, to see which lucky tweeter will receive the famous "Tales Tweet of the Week" Award.  I know you have been waiting with bated breath.

"But Tales", I can hear some of you yelling through your computer/I phone screens, "there hasn't been a Tweet of the Week in many weeks/months ...years?"  That is true, my friends, but that makes this tweet of the week even sweeter and more valuable than if we would have had a boring...I mean, an exciting tweet every single week, after week, after week, after ... :-)

This tweet is a brilliant quip in my opinion, as it concerns one of my favorite themes opposing anti-vacciners who will not only endanger their own child but society at large, and combines it in a witty way, with the issue of the day.   

Note: When I talk about anti-vacciners I am not, of course, speaking about those parents whose children have legitimate needs not to vaccine, like if their child is allergic to the vaccine.  I really get upset with those people who not only would not vaccine their own children but advocate for others to not do so.

The tweeter is a first time winner of this highly esteemed award, Carlos A. Rodriguez, from Puerto Rico.  With a tweet like this, this may not be his last.  Of course, as often as Tales gives out a tweet of the week, it may be a while [day/week/month/year/decade] before he or anyone else wins another one.  What I love about this tweet is Carlos shows brilliance doesn't take many words to convey.  It is short but direct to the point.

Without further ado, let's see if you think this quip is as brilliant as I do, deserved of
The Tales Tweet of the Week:

Congratulations Carlos Rodriguez, this week's, Tales tweet of the week award winner.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Whatever Happened to...?

Baby Jane [I know, I know, that is the easy one]

Cartoons and newsreels before the feature movie at a theater

"An apple a day keeps the doctor away"

Phone booths

Outdoor movies

Breaking coconuts with a hammer to eat the coconut and drink the milk

My Space

Cell phones


Kodak cameras

Doctors making house calls 

Baseball cards in bubble gum package


Collecting coins

It's Howdy Doody time

Roller Derby 

Jai alai [in Las Vegas]

Vinyl records

8-track tapes



Traffic cops

Those TV cliffhanger serials where you wonder how will the man whose car is about to go over a cliff not die, only to find out the next day he ingeniously opens the door and jumps out before it goes over the cliff :-) 
A relative telling you as a kid that it is a sin not to eat all your food because they are children starving in the world

Occupy Wall Street

The Tea party

Flash Gordon

Blockbuster Movies

"Tastes great, less filling"

"Hey kid, catch" ["mean Joe" Greene's jersey]

Stealing home at a MLB game - or even an attempt to steal home

Cuckoo clocks

"You the man"  "No, you the man"

Real hot meals on airplanes



The nurse in elementary school "painting" your throat when it's sore

The milk man

Character counts

Dry ice being delivered to your house

Friday night fights of the week - by Gillette [boxing]

Black Jack gum

Kids playing "hopscotch' "jump rope" or doing "yo-yo's"

Teaberry gum

All day suckers [lollipops] 

Baseball double headers [real ones-two for the price of one, not these day night deals]

Chocolate phosphates

Kids watching cartoons on TV on Saturday morning

Downtown drugstore diners where in the back of the store you could get the best hamburgers ever

Sightings of UFO's 

and last but not least, whatever happened to April Fools jokes
? - Oh, wait, unfortunately they are still going on.  :-)   Happy April Fools Day.


Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Happy Birthday J.S. Bach #335

The quintessential Baroque composer, Johann Sebastian Bach, was born 335 years ago in Germany on either March 21, 1685 or March 31, 1685 - this time dispute relates to the change of calendars [Julian to Gregorian] during that time period.  Most today celebrate Bach's birthday on March 31.   

When you say Baroque music, the name Bach must first come up. He is one of, if not the most, influential person in classical music with his musical inventions, techniques and great compositions.  Without Johann Sebastian Bach, it is doubtful, in my opinion, that classical music would have developed as fully as it did.  Most of the great composers in the Classical and Romantic Era's to follow [and even with children learning how to play classical music today] got their foundation from Bach's musical inventions. Bach was a virtuoso organist whose upbringing in religion and deep faith led him to compose much sacred music for organ and for choral works.  Bach had a fairly long life [for that period of time] of 65 years and he used this blessing by God to be a prolific composer of some of that greatest music ever written. He was a composer of cantatas and oratorios and many organ pieces and other keyboard pieces [mainly for harpsichord] and he was also an orchestral composer of concertos for violin and keyboard [that some have been transformed for the modern piano] and of orchestral suites and dances, and also of many great chamber music compositions.

From Wikipedia: Bach's famous instructive 'Well Tempered Clavier' for keyboard [at the time - harpsichord] "consists of Books 1 and 2 with each book containing a prelude and fugue in each of the 24 major and minor keys in chromatic order from C major to B minor."

Bach's 'Goldberg Variations' for keyboard is "an aria with 30 variations" with an "unconventional structure: the variations build on the bass line of the aria, rather than its melody."

J.S. Bach [March 31, 1685 - July 28, 1750]
Make no doubt about it, when one talks about the giants in classical music, J.S. Bach must be mentioned right near the top.  Along with Mozart and Beethoven, Bach fills my list of my top 3 composers.

Bach was the main developer of the polyphony technique that was a main characteristic in the Baroque period of music.  Polyphony means 'many voices' and in the compositions was demonstrated by different thematic lines [voices] of music being played at the same time [and/or sometimes the same melodic line being played but coming in at different points and not being played together-think "row, row, row your boat"].

One of the great examples of this polyphonic technique can be found in Bach's genius composition for organ, 'Toccata and Fugue in D minor'.  Listen from 2:57 on in the following video to hear 2 and then more voices [lines] being played at the same time.

J.S. Bach: Toccata and Fuge in D minor:

From the aforementioned "Well Tempered Clavier" Book 1, here's Tal Zilber at the piano playing  J.S. Bach's 'Prelude and Fugue in C minor':

To honor Johann Sebastian Bach's birthday, please turn up the volume and enjoy some more great music from the quintessential Baroque composer.

J.S. Bach: Brandenberg Concerto #2 in F Major, Movement 3, Allegro Assai:

J.S Bach: Air on the G-string "Suite #3":

J.S. Bach: Violin Concerto #1 in A minor:

J.S Bach: Keyboard [Piano] Concerto #5 in F minor:


Saturday, March 28, 2020

The Sweet Sounding Clarinet

Along with the piano, the clarinet is my favorite instrument of all.  I have been captivated by the clarinet's beautiful deep mellow, soulful sound.  The clarinet is similar to my other favorite instrument, the piano, with its wide tone range [low notes to high notes] and its dynamics [the volume of sound] it can make.  

B-flat Clarinet

From the web site we learn that the clarinet's tone range is wider than that of all other wind instruments.  Also, "The clarinet's dynamic (loudness) ranges from [very, very soft] ppp to [very, very loud] fff (only brass and saxophones can play louder). Other woodwinds usually will have serious difficulties beginning a phrase in ppp, not so the clarinet". 

"Both in sound and playing techniques the clarinet is one of the most flexible instruments at all. It displays many characteristics you find in the human voice. It shows quite different sounds in the different registers - (high, medium, low) more characteristic than any other wind instrument. You can play virtually all forms of articulation with a clarinet - extremely short staccato, a perfect legato (binding of notes), vibrato when it is needed, even a glissando (that is changing the pitch from one tone to another without having to interrupt)."  

A famous example of glissando played by the clarinet is the opening of George Gershwin's popular "Rhapsody In Blue". 

The Clarinet "glissando" [and opening] from Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue:

There are two pieces, when I first heard them, that made me add the clarinet, along with the piano, as my favorite instruments.  Both of those pieces are by the quintessential classical composer, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.  Mozart's "Clarinet Concerto in A-Major" and his "Quintet in A-Major for Clarinet and Strings".  Mozart was a master at bringing out the beautiful sound of the clarinet.  

When you hear this final movement of the Mozart clarinet concerto [from MozartClarinet on You Tube] you can hear from the beautiful playing by virtuoso clarinetist, Martin Frost, both the wide tone range  [low to high notes] of the clarinet and the wide dynamic range [soft/loud] throughout this concerto.  Just two small examples that you hear throughout of the wide tone range are from 1:27-2:02, and 3:15-3:52.

W.A. Mozart: Clarinet Concerto in A-Major, Movement 3, Rondo Allegro:

Now listen to Mozart's wonderful Clarinet Quintet, my second favorite clarinet piece, and I think you will appreciate why when I heard these two pieces, I fell in love with the clarinet. This quintet is scored in A Major with 4 movements: 1. Allegro, 2. Larghetto, 3. Minuet-Trio, and 4. Allegretto with variations

W.A. Mozart:  Clarinet Quintet in A-Major:

Here is an example of how the clarinet can almost take the place of the human voice in a singing nature as this video from one of my favorite soprano arias of all, O Mio Babbino Caro, from Giaccomo Puccini's opera "Gianni Schicchi".  This version was arranged by the great virtuoso clarinetist, Richard Stoltzman.  Please turn up the volume and enjoy this beautiful song.

Giaccomo Puccini:  "O Mio Babbino Caro", aria from the opera "Gianni Schicchi":

Now here is a delightful, pleasant Clarinet Concerto from Carl Stamitz.  Turn up the volume and listen to this playful rondo Movement 3 from his Clarinet Concerto #7.

Carl Stamitz: Clarinet Concerto #7 in B-flat Major, Movement 3, Rondo:

Finally here is piece that brings out the beauty of the clarinet, from the melodic Italian composer, Gioachino Rossini: his introduction, theme and variations for clarinet and orchestra.  Please turn up the volume and enjoy this great virtuosic piece for clarinet performed by Han Kim.

G. Rossini: Introduction, theme and variations for clarinet and orchestra: