Bruce Dalzell: Waltz For Kelee (YouTube)

Bruce Dalzell: Waltz For Kelee(YouTube)

A truly great instrumental piece.

Song for sale at 0.99 on Amazon

Album My “Athens Past” for sale at $8.91 pm on Amazon.

https://www.amazon.com/My-Athens-Past-Bruce-Dalzell/dp/B004IXI62O

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David Bruce: The Funniest People in Music — War, Work

War

• On December 30, 1862, during the Civil War, the Confederate and the Union forces camped near each other by Stone’s River, which is located close to Murfreesboro, Tennessee. That night, the military bands of the two armies competed against each other, with the Confederate band playing patriotic songs of the South and the Union band playing patriotic songs of the North. Eventually, however, the Union band started playing “Home Sweet Home,” and quickly the Confederate band joined in, so that both bands were playing the same song together.

• When the Germans and Italians occupied Athens, Greece, during World War II, one of their rules required the Athenians to remain silent — even in their own homes. The Greeks enjoyed breaking this rule. Maria Callas, and then a teenager, used to sing the lead role of Tosca with windows and doors wide open, and across the rooftops the voice of an unknown man responded, singing the role of Mario.

Work

• After Schuyler Chapin became general manager of the New York Metropolitan Opera, he acquired the problems that all opera managers acquire. On the very first Saturday morning of his very first season as general manager, he was faced with three problems. First, Mirella Freni let him know that she would not honor her contract because of “your Internal Revenue Service.” Second, Tito Gobbi cancelled as Iago because of illness. Third, conductor Erich Leinsdorf demanded another Die Walkure Wotan. Faced with all these problems within the space of 20 minutes, Mr. Chapin closed his door, walked over to his window, and asked himself, “You wantedthis job?”

• One of soprano Rita Hunter’s early voice teachers was Eva Turner. Unfortunately, when the two parted company, Ms. Turner told Ms. Hunter, “My dear, you will never make a singer — you will have to scrub floors for a living.” This turned out not to be true, although Ms. Hunter did continue to scrub her own floors. In fact, when a contract to sing for the Metropolitan Opera arrived in the mail, Ms. Hunter was scrubbing a floor. And after the Queen made her a Commander of the British Empire because of her singing, Ms. Hunter told a reporter that being made a CBE had made little difference in her life because “they still let me scrub the floors.”

• Puppeteer Shari Lewis of “Lamp Chop” fame declined to hire assistants unless they had been trained in music. Therefore, during interviews, she asked first, “Did you ever study a musical instrument?” Why? Through experience, she had learned that people with a solid music education know that they can accomplish whatever goal they have set even when they begin without knowing anything. Her assistants have included an opera singer, a jazz singer, and a guitarist.

• Gregor Piatigorsky, a virtuoso cellist, once asked conductor Pierre Monteux for permission to conduct “The Star-Bangled Banner,” which Maestro Monteux granted. After “The Star-Spangled Banner” had been played, Maestro Monteux asked Mr. Piatigorsky how the conducting had gone. “It was easy,” Mr. Piatigorsky said. Maestro Monteux replied, “Don’t tell anybody.”

• When the Archduke Rudolph was appointed Archbishop of Olmütz, Ludwig van Beethoven wanted to write some music for the celebration. He started to write his Mass in D, but he became so involved in the music, and the music grew so great in conception, that the celebration had been over for two years by the time Beethoven completed the work.

• Blind Lemon Jefferson, a blues singer and guitarist, was born blind. As a young man, he moved to Dallas, Texas, where he found it difficult to get work. However, because he was a big, strong man who weighed 250 pounds, he was able to get a job as a wrestler. Crowds of people were willing to pay to see him because a blind wrestler was unusual.

• Sometimes, people don’t realize how difficult making music can be. After hearing that Bill Worland was a professional musician, a woman told him, “Sitting playing the piano for three or hours, I don’t call that hard work — it’s easy.” Mr. Worland replied, “Yes, it’s easy. It only takes a lifetime to learn how to do it, and do it well.”

• On June 20, 1994, Aretha Franklin gave a memorable performance at the White House Rose Garden for then-President Bill Clinton and other guests. In fact, while singing “Brand New Me,” she performed so hard that while crossing the stage she lost a shoe.

• When George Gershwin was told that the woman he loved had married another man, he said, “I’d feel terrible about this if I weren’t so busy.”

***

Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved

***

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David Bruce: The Funniest People in Music — Travel, War

Travel

• During the early 20th century, dancer Anna Pavlova toured in Texas. There, her music director, Theodore Stier, found some of the dirtiest theaters it was his misfortune to conduct in. In one Texas dressing room, he discovered an empty ink bottle. One year later, he returned to the same theater and the same dressing room, and he discovered the same empty ink bottle. For the next two years, he returned to the same dressing room — each year, he found the same empty ink bottle.

• Opera singer Leo Slezak did not like to share train compartments with strangers. He carried a sign saying “RESERVIERT” when he traveled by train and displayed it on the door after staking his claim on a compartment. Whenever the train was especially crowded, he used another sign: “HOSPITAL COMPARTMENT.” With the use of the signs (and a few bribes to the train employees), he was able to travel in privacy.

• Las Vegas hasn’t always been famous. Bill Bailey, the brother of Pearl Bailey, once had a job in Las Vegas, but he failed to show up for opening night. While driving there, he had come to two signs in the road. One sign pointed to Las Vegas, Nevada; the other sign pointed to Las Vegas, New Mexico. Unfortunately, Mr. Bailey took the wrong road.

• After a worldwide tour in which she spent 150 days at sea and visited Australia, the United States, and the Orient, Emma Calvé experienced eye trouble and went to see a doctor. He told her, “What do you expect? Of course your eyes are tired! You have seen more in the last few months than I have seen in all my seventy years!”

• While sailing in the ship Parakoola, opera soprano Marjorie Lawrence practiced singing Elektra. Unfortunately, the sailors were not used to hearing opera. When Ms. Lawrence practiced Elektra for the first time, the sailors came running to her cabin to see what was wrong with her.

• Pop singer Jewel — Jewel Kilcher — was raised in Alaska on her family’s 800-acre homestead. Wherever she travels, she carries a container filled with earth from her family’s homestead.

War

• During World War I, Thomas Beecham wanted to conduct some operas by the German composer Richard Wagner; however, an English patriot who ran a newspaper felt that playing German music when England was at war with Germany was unpatriotic and so he demanded that Mr. Beecham either not conduct Wagnerian opera or face the wrath of the press. Fortunately, Mr. Beecham knew that the patriot had some very fine German paintings, and he offered not to conduct Wagner provided the patriot burn his German paintings in public. When Mr. Beecham made his proposal to the patriot, the patriot was silent for a time, and then smiled and said, “It is rather silly, isn’t it?” Mr. Beecham was thereafter left to conduct Wagner in peace.

• During World War II, while she was still very young, Maria Callas sang in front of an audience that included a German soldier from the army then occupying Greece. The German soldier was entranced by Maria’s singing, and exclaimed to a woman sitting next to him, “What an artist! What a singer! That girl will be famous!” The woman then revealed that she was Evangelia Callas, Maria’s mother, and the German soldier kissed her. She cried out, “Don’t do that! You are the enemy!” The German soldier laughed, and then gave her another kiss, saying, “I can be enemy to no woman with a daughter like yours, Madam. I shall never forget you or her.”

***

Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved

***

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A little rusty

Good one, tref.

t r e f o l o g y

When I was a kid I wanted to

learn how to play the piano,

but my parents couldn’t afford to buy me an entire piano,

but they did get me the piano stool.

So, I mostly practiced my posture.

ii.

And I got pretty good.

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David Bruce: The Funniest People in Music — Tempi, Travel

Tempi

• Conductor Wilhelm Furtwängler took the tempo of Wagner’s Ring cycle quicker than the London Philharmonic Orchestra was used to, and this almost led to a triangle player not performing. In Rheingold, triangle player Charlie Turner had a long wait before he played, so he used to disappear into a nearby bar while keeping a close eye on the time so he could get back to the orchestra and play. One night, the members of the orchestra were getting quite worried because Mr. Turner had still not made an appearance with only a few bars to go. Suddenly, they heard running footsteps. Just in time, the door to the orchestra pit opened and a hand reached out and struck the triangle, and then disappeared again. The next day, Mr. Turner had his stopwatch out, timing the faster-tempo music to make sure that he would arrive at the pit with time to spare.

• Alexandra Danilova was getting ready to dance in Cimarosiana one night when a good-looking, well-dressed man said to her, “Good evening. What tempo will you be dancing tonight?” She replied, “I’m sorry. I don’t talk to strangers, and I don’t believe we’ve been introduced.” While dancing on stage, she saw the man again — he was conducting the orchestra. Thomas Beecham, who was supposed to conduct, was ill, and so this man — Malcolm Sargent — had filled in for him. Ms. Danilova says that Mr. Sargent set a “perfect” tempo for her.

• While Jimmy Stein and other members of the band were playing Latin American music in a restaurant, a waiter grabbed the maracas and started shaking them — out of tempo. Mr. Stein stopped playing and asked the waiter, “What do you think you’re doing?” The waiter said that he always played the marimbas during Latin American music, but Mr. Stein told him, “Not with my instruments, you don’t.” As the waiter was leaving, Mr. Stein called after him, “I don’t come into your kitchen and play with your bloody knives and forks, do I?”

Travel

• After a long night of traveling, soprano Adelina Patti stopped at 5 a.m. for a few hours rest in Warsaw. Unfortunately, at 6 a.m. what sounded like a racket to the tired soprano broke out next door as someone began to play a piano. Outraged, Ms. Patti sent a servant to ask the noise-maker to stop playing the piano — at least until 8 a.m. The noise-maker stopped, and Ms. Patti’s husband, the Marquise de Caux, sent his card to him in thanks. A moment later, the noise-maker himself appeared at Ms. Patti’s door to ask politely about her. The famous soprano and her husband were shocked to learn that the noise-maker was the eminent pianist Hans von Bülow.

• After soprano Marjorie Lawrence appeared as Brünnhilde in St. Louis, she left the theater in full costume and makeup because her train was scheduled to leave quickly. Unfortunately, even though she left the theater and went to the train station right away, the train pulled out just as she reached the station. Therefore, she was driven to the next train stop, where — still wearing her Brünnhilde makeup and costume — she boarded the wrong car. Walking through several cars until she reached her car, she startled the passengers, and one person called out, “It must be a holdup!”

***

Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved

***

The Funniest People in Music: Buy the Paperback

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Dvid Bruce: The Funniest People in Music — Prejudice, Problem-Solving

Prejudice

• Eartha Kitt once made a reservation at a London hotel, but when she walked into the hotel, and the clerk saw that she was black, he refused her a room. Ms. Kitt knew the reason she was refused a room, so she told the clerk that she wasn’t black — she was Spanish. The clerk wasn’t convinced. Sneering, he said, “So say something in Spanish.” Ms. Kitt replied, “Adios, motherf—,” and walked out.

• Early in her career, when Lena Horne was singing with Charlie Barnet’s band, she ran into a problem getting housing because of Jim Crow. When everyone checked into a hotel, Mr. Barnet told the clerks that Ms. Horne was a Cuban singer, while the members of the band helped with the deception by speaking nonsense that sounded like Spanish.

• In 1950, André Previn played jazz in Baltimore with a couple of African-American musicians. Afterward, he went into a diner, where a couple of white men asked him, “Why the hell don’t you play with your own kind?” Mr. Previn replied, “Well, to tell you the truth, I wanted to, but I couldn’t find two other Jews that swing.”

• The noted heterosexual (and inter-species dater) Kermit the Frog and lesbian singer k.d. lang once guested on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. At one point, Kermit appeared about to venture into sexist territory. Fortunately, Ms. lang warned him not to go there. Kermit gulped — and did not go there.

• Because of the Jim Crow laws that prevented gospel singer Mahalia Jackson from eating in white-only restaurants or sleeping in white-only hotels, she bought a Cadillac for when she toured in the South. Her car had to be large enough for her to carry food in it — and to sleep in it.

• Before the beginning of World War II, contralto Marian Anderson’s reputation spread rapidly, and she was invited to sing in Germany, which was then ruled by Adolf Hitler. However, when the Germans discovered that Ms. Anderson was an African American, they withdrew the offer.

• In 1931, jazz musician Louis Armstrong returned to his native New Orleans, where he appeared on a local radio show. Mr. Armstrong was forced to introduce himself on the show because the white announcer refused to announce a black musician.

• During the Jim Crow days, Pierre Monteux tried to register at a hotel, but he was told that it was a hotel for colored people only. Mr. Monteux protested, “But I am colored — pink.”

Problem-Solving

• While Emma Albani was performing Desdemona to Signor Tamagno’s Otello, Signor Tamagno insisted that the stage contain three steps down which he would roll when he died after strangling Desdemona on a bed on a platform at the top of the stairs. Unfortunately, although the stage did have the three steps, it had no platform on which the bed could stand. Therefore, four men knelt on their hands and knees and supported the bed on which Ms. Albani, as Desdemona, was strangled.

• Some members of Duke Ellington’s band drank too much, coming to performances drunk and posing a problem for Mr. Ellington, who had to either stop their alcohol abuse or get rid of them. Mr. Ellington used to deal with the problem by setting an impossible tempo, and then having the drunken musician attempt to give a solo. After the drunken soloist had made a fool of himself, he would either decide to stay sober or he would quit. No more problem.

***

Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved

***

The Funniest People in Music: Buy the Paperback

The Funniest People in Music: Kindle

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Chair down

t r e f o l o g y

Why do people always

ask me to sit down before

telling me bad news?

What if the bad news is that

my favorite chair

has been stolen?

ii.

Sitting down

would just

make me feel worse


0-2Our founder relaxes in isolation with a good book, a pipe and a sunny attitude

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Trefology: reasonable hourly rates

t r e f o l o g y

After carefully weighing

all of my options,

I used the first of my three wishes,

granted to me by the genie,

for ONE MILLION FISHES.

The genie nodded his head and said,

“I here-by grant you one million wishes!”

I shook my head in frustration.

I explained to him that I had said, f-i-s-h-e-s!

One million fishes.

The genie just stopped & gave me a real funny look.

And then, it suddenly hit me —

this guy was not listening to me at all.

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