051.EarthHasManyANobleCity

Please turn to number 51 and join with the clarinets in “Earth Has Many a Noble City”.

First Line: Earth Has Many a Noble City
Name: STUTTGART.
Meter: 8 7, 8 7.
Tempo: With dignity
Music: Christian Friedrich Witt, 1660-1716
Text: Aurelius Clemens Prudentius, 348-413
Tr. Edward Caswall, 1814-78

With this hymn, we cross from the “Christmas” section of the Lutheran Service Book and Hymnal into the Epiphany section.

This hymn is fairly perfect. A sort of template for “Hymn-Ness” with its brevity and concise precision.

Clarinet Arrangement: 051-earthhasmanyanoblecity

The usual, each clarinet part doubled and mixed across the sound field. Audacity “Medium Room” Reverb effect applied.

Red Service Book and Hymnal
Red Service Book and Hymnal

The Cavalier, 10.11.2016

Apparently, The Cavalier is another restaurant that feels that the listing of any non-alcoholic options on their dinner menu is a waste of space.

So, I won’t waste much space on them.

(To be fair, they do list “Fresh Juices and Refreshers” on their Lunch, Brunch, and Breakfast menus. Not sure why they fall out of consideration for the dinner menu.)

Restaurant/Cocktails=Bar/Food?

An interesting phenomena of recent years has been the bar with really tasty food.

When we first moved to San Francisco, circa the early 90s, the restaurant and cocktail worlds were pretty separate.

You could get awesome food in many restaurants, but rarely in those same restaurants could you get good cocktails. Actually, often you couldn’t get ANY cocktails at all. Wine was King in upscale dining. And while you could get good cocktails in bars, rarely could you get food much more advanced than fries and an adequate burger.

I hate to single out one person and one restaurant, but I think when the Slanted Door added cocktails and allowed Thad Vogler to bring his vision of upscale cocktails in upscale dining locations to that restaurant, and every other restaurant he worked in after, it was the shot heard ’round the world, at least in the Bay Area.

Suddenly, you could get a good drink that wasn’t wine in a fancy restaurant.

More recently that idea has been turned on its head by bars like Alembic, Trick Dog, Old Bus, and Tosca Cafe, some of which have been making the Chronicle annual Best Restaurants list. Suddenly, you can get not just an OK burger in a BAR, but REALLY good food.

However, having REALLY good food in a bar means that people who wouldn’t ordinarily be going out to bars to drink/drank/drunk with their friends, like, say, ME, have a reason to visit those selfsame bars.

And while I know Trick Dog has always made a point of having non-alcoholic options, (thanks to fellow traveler Josh Harris,) Tosca Cafe shows that this isn’t always the case at this arguably new form of bar/restaurant.

IF you are going to the trouble to have food which might attract a larger audience than your average bar, THEN perhaps you should also provide some beverage menu options for those of us who might not otherwise be attracted to hang out in your bar.

Make-Out Room, 10.3.2016

img_20161003_201245_1

When you order, “Ice water and change for a twenty” and you get “Ice water and a Jameson Whiskey on the rocks with soda and a lime wedge”.

I didn’t even know that was a thing. Who would order their Jameson Whiskey with a lime wedge garnish?

Maybe I look a lot like another person whose regular order is “Jameson on the rocks with soda and a lime wedge”?

That’s about all I can think of.

What’s Up With the Hymns?

Apparently, this whole “Lutheran Hymn” thing puzzles quite a few people, so I thought I might write a little post about it.

First off, I grew up in a small town in South Western Wisconsin which was mostly populated by Norwegian and Lutherans. I grew up singing these hymns every Sunday. When I was old enough, I joined the children’s choir and continued in church choirs through most of high school.

Recently, I’ve been reading a lot of memoirs and interviews with musicians, and a lot of them talk about their very early inspirations.

Many of those musicians were lucky enough to have grown up going to African American Gospel churches or to belong to some ethnic group with an interesting folk music tradition.

However, as mentioned, I grew up going to a Lutheran church in Wisconsin. That is my tradition, and in a lot of ways, my “folk” music. That, and “Old Tyme Gospel Music”. But perhaps more about that later.

I find the basic harmonies and melodies of these old hymns, especially the more open ones, to be quite moving and powerful.

When I was looking around for some music to learn and play on the clarinet, I thought to myself, “Hey self! It might be funny to track down a Lutheran Hymnal, and learn those old hymns on the clarinet.” Get re-in touch with the memories and feelings of my youth, good and bad.

As a bonus, the hymns are neither particularly challenging nor long, which is, in fact, a big bonus for someone with a full time job who is also trying to (re) learn Jazz and to play the clarinet and sax.

I can transcribe, transpose, and record all 4 parts of the hymn in a few hours, and it is good for me to learn the recording, mixing, and arranging software. Most important, I am re-learning to play harmony parts with other instruments, even though I am playing all the instruments myself.

So, that’s what’s up with the hymns.

I hope you enjoy them a little bit, and that they might remind you of something of your past or present, good or bad.

050.JesusNameOfWondrousLove

Please turn to number 50 and join with the clarinets in “Jesus’ Name of Wondrous Love”.

First Line: Jesus’ Name of Wondrous Love
Name: UNIVERSITY COLLEGE
Meter: 7 7, 7 7.
Tempo: Slowly, with dignity
Music: Henry John Gauntlett, 1805-76
Text: William Walsham How, 1823-97

The first, and only hymn, from the Lutheran Service Book and Hymnal, celebrating “Circumcision and Name of Jesus”.

I am not sure if it is specifically to celebrate Jesus’ circumcision or any circumcision.

Clarinet Arrangement: 50-jesusnameofwondrouslove

Jesus, Name of wondrous love!
Human Name of God above;
Pleading only this we flee,
Helpless, O our God, to thee. Amen.

Kind of a bleak, masochistic, hymn, but at least it is mercifully, and appropriately, SHORT.

Doubled clarinets on all parts, with the usual “Large Room” audacity Effect.

Red Service Book and Hymnal
Red Service Book and Hymnal

049.ThyLittleOnes

Please turn to number 49 and join with the clarinets in singing, “Thy Little Ones”.

First Line: Thy Little Ones
Name: Paedia.
Meter: L.M.
Tempo: Simply
Music: J. A. P. Shulz, 1747-1800
Text: Hans Adolph Brorson, 1694-1764
Tr. Harriet Reynolds Krauth Spaeth, 1845-1925

A short and “Simple” hymn for Christmas.

Refreshingly, instead of telling children to behave and mind their parents at Christmas, the lyrics of this one say that we best approach enlightenment as little children would, with innocence and wonder.

“Thy little ones, dear Lord, are we,
And come thy lowly bed to see;
Enlighten every soul and mind,
That we the way to thee may find.”

A sentiment I do not find wholly alien.

Clarinet arrangement: 049-thylittleones

All clarinets this time. Three times through, second time quietly, building towards a triumphant third. Technically, this is the last Christmas hymn in the book. After a single hymn for, of all things, “Circumcision and Name of Jesus”, we are on to Ephiphany and then Lent.

Red Service Book and Hymnal
Red Service Book and Hymnal

Tosca Cafe, 09.23.2016

tosca

Apparently, Tosca Cafe agrees with Bruce Dern’s alcoholic Dad character in the movie “Nebraska” that, “Beer Ain’t Drinkin'”. The lowest ABV beverage on their drink menu is a 7oz pony bottle of Miller High Life clocking in at 4.2%. Now, admittedly, when I was drinking, I had a tendency to call Miller High Life, “Vaguely Beer Flavored Vitamin Water”. Ahem. We live and learn.

How about some statistics?

  • As anyone knows, you will sell more of any drink if you put it on the menu.
  • Leaving any drink as an off-menu choice to be explained by the bartenders and servers costs them time. Time they could be using to serve other guests or make drinks. Time is money.
  • In the dining room, it also adds a second problem of misunderstandings between customers and servers and also between servers and bartenders. More often than not, bartenders can make more than a few off menu non-alcoholic drinks, but few servers have been trained to understand the full spectrum of drinks the bartenders may know and be able to execute with the ingredients they have on hand. More than once I’ve told by a server that the extent of a restaurant’s non-alcoholic drinks is water, coffee, tea, and a few soft drinks, only to discover a completely different story when sitting at the bar and talking to a bartender.
  • Plus, asking about an off menu bar item means the server has to take a trip to the bar, get the attention of the bartender, ask what he can make, then bring that information back to the customer. More time wasted, and more money wasted.
  • When calculating pour costs for a bar menu, i.e. how much the ingredients in a drink cost, the management usually doesn’t even take into consideration the cost of non-alcoholic mixers, (unless they are exceptionally expensive.) Lemon Juice, Lime Juice, and Orange Juice, for example, must be squeezed every day, and are usually thrown out after a day or two. These ingredients are just part of the cost of doing business. Looking at it like this, selling non-alcoholic drinks is, essentially, making a profit on what is a “rounding error” for most bars and restaurants. Thus, non-alcoholic drinks may, in fact, help a bar to gain profit on what otherwise may go down the sink at the end of the night.
  • While we’re talking about costs, let’s not forget that most of the “pour cost” for drinks is usually in the spirits and alcoholic mixers, so from the restaurant’s perspective, putting a well executed non-alcoholic drink on the menu, even at a lower prices the regular cocktails, is probably going to have a higher profit margin for the restaurant than a regular cocktail. Something I am more than willing to allow for, if it encourages more restaurants and bars to serve good non-alcoholic drinks!
  • According to a Gallup Poll from 2004, on average, 37% of Americans totally abstain from liquor. A bit less for the younger folks, but significantly more once adults are over 50.

Americans and Alcohol

“According to the aggregated data, 63% of Americans report that they drink alcoholic beverages such as liquor, wine, or beer, while 37% totally abstain. Men are more likely than women to drink (69% vs. 58%), and adults under 50 are substantially more likely than adults over 50 to drink (70% of adults aged 18 to 49 drink alcoholic beverages, as do only 54% of those over 50).”

So, for adults, we’re talking about approximately 1 out of 3, to nearly 1 out of 2, Americans who don’t drink, depending on the average age of the patron in your restaurant.

If you don’t have an item on your food menu you can sell to one out of every three people that comes into your restaurant, would you consider it a success?

Likewise, then, is your restaurant’s bar menu a success, if the only option you offer to non-drinkers is water?

048.WhatChildIsThis

Please turn to number 48 and join with the winds on “What Child Is This”.

First Line: What Child is This
Name: GREENSLEEVES
Meter: 8 7, 8 7. With Refrain.
Tempo: In moderate time
Music: English, before 1642
Text: William Chatterton Dix, 1837-98

First, the tune is an English folk tune called “Greensleeves” of unknown origin.

Wikipedia, as usual, Greensleeves.

Several versions of the song were registered, the earliest in the late 16th Century:

A broadside ballad by this name was registered at the London Stationer’s Company in September 1580,[2] by Richard Jones, as “A Newe Northen Dittye of ye Ladye Greene Sleves”.[3]

The tune was apparently quite popular at the time, as Shakespeare mentions it in a couple places in “The Merry Wives of Windsor” (written, c.1597; first published in 1602).

The text of the hymn “What Child is This?” comes from a Poem by William Chatterton Dix:

At the time he was writing the lyrics to “What Child Is This?” in 1865, William Chatterton Dix was working as the manager of an insurance company.[5] He was afflicted by an unexpected and severe illness that resulted in him being bedridden and suffering from severe depression. Hisnear-death experience brought about a spiritual renewal in him while he was recovering. During this time, he read the Bible comprehensively and was inspired to author hymns like “Alleluia! Sing to Jesus!” and “As with Gladness Men of Old“.[1][4] The precise time in 1865 when he wrote the poem “The Manger Throne” is disputed. While the St. Petersburg Times details how Dix penned the work after reading the Gospel for Epiphanythat year (Matthew 2:1–12) recounting the journey of the Biblical Magi;[6] Singer’s Library of Song: Medium Voice contends that it was actually authored during the Christmas of 1865.[4]

They Hymn version was first published in an English Hymnal in 1871.

Here’s the clarinet and Soprano Sax Arrangement: 048-whatchildisthis

I’ve been enjoying playing Sax as the melody on these, so I continued the trend with What Child is this. Doubled all the clarinet parts and used the usual Audacity “Large Room” Reverb effect.

I was thinking I might try some improvisation the second time through, but listening to Coltrane’s version just made me feel self conscious of my own inadequacies.

Red Service Book and Hymnal
Red Service Book and Hymnal

Dear Reluctant Teetotaler

“Dear Reluctant Teetotaler,

I have to go to a party this weekend and I am not sure what to do?

Yours in teetotaling solidarity,

A fellow traveler”

First, as discerning drinkers, we need to be aware that whatever beverages are available at any party, they may not be our ideal, alcoholic or non-alcoholic. So the my first recommendation is to do exactly as you would do if you were drinking alcohol: Bring Your Own Beverage

Bring enough tasty beverage for yourself, some to share, and, (if you think they’d enjoy it,) leave whatever is leftover with your hosts. (If you don’t think they’d enjoy it, feel free to recover the leftovers and take them home with you.)

However, your larger question may be, “Help! I have to go to a work party! I hate small talk. I can’t stand my coworkers! I can’t imagine going without drinking myself into a coma. Everyone else will be drinking! What should I do?”

Well, yes. The easiest answer, if you truly think attending this party will trigger some sort of alcoholic episode, is to make an excuse, (cat’s sick, family emergency, no sitter for kids, transport problems, &c.) and not go. Attend a meeting, if you have to. I hear meetings can help.

However, if you must, or really want to attend said party, perhaps some hints are in order.

First off, aside from the alleged therapeutic and psychoactive benefits of booze, mostly, in social situations, it is just something to do while you’re not talking. Occupy your hands, take a sip with your lips. Maybe you can avoid making a funny face, or exclaiming out loud in dismay, while your neighbor posits a horrible theory regarding the nature of human existence.

Alcoholic Beverage is, essentially, a PROP.

So, the first thing you need to do, is to get yourself a decoy prop, because there is nothing sadder than the clunk of a plastic water bottle or empty hands when someone is making a toast.

So, rocks glass with soda water, bitters, and a twist. Who could tell you weren’t drinking an old fashioned. Perfect. Tall glass of tonic or soda with a lime or lemon wedge. Why it might be a Gin and Tonic or a Tom Collins. Personally, I like a mix of Knudsen’s Just Cranberry, Cloudy Apple Juice, and a little water or soda in a wine glass. If you get the mix right, it looks, and pretty much tastes, like a glass of wine. Well, better than most non-alcoholic wine, anyway. It took almost 3 dinner parties until my in-laws noticed the color was a bit off from their Zinfandel and ask if I wasn’t drinking.

Alternatively, you can carry around a bottle of beer, a glass of wine, or a cocktail and just NOT drink it. The old skill of many a bartender. To appear to be drinking, while you are, in fact, not. At one of my jobs, we used to give a hard time to one of the managers (*cough*Trevor*cough*) for leaving full bottles of beer all over the restaurant every night while pretending to drink with his friends. Now, however, I admire the skill with which he carried non-drinking of alcoholic beverages off. Only the few of us who knew him pretty well even noticed. However, this is a bit of a slippery slope, especially if you forget you’re carrying a loaded drink.

Most importantly, let’s get back to the idea that drinking is really just “something to do”. Strip it of its ritual meaning and associations, just let them go, and suddenly drinking loses much of its power over you.

If you’re going to a party and aren’t going to drink, the best thing to do is to find something else to do!

Help out in the kitchen, I’m sure they’ll appreciate some sober help. Volunteer ahead for different duties, since you know you won’t be drinking. Can you bring a punch? Heck, if you know how, make drinks for other people. The bartender is supposed to be sober, or at least less drunk than the other people. Or make a game of finding an interesting person to talk to. As a sober person, you have a certain advantage!

But most of all, try to find some way to have fun or at least be occupied.

Parties are supposed to be fun and no one wants you staring at them, sad and mopey because you don’t have a drink.

Get over yourself.

(OK, this note is really just to myself…)