The life of Rembrandt could be a portrait of anyone…anywhere. The difference being that he was a genius as a painter. Rembrandt had to go against the political scene with his art. He had to stay true to his own interpretations of how to paint, which made him different from many of the artists of his time. Difficulties forged into his life as a young man, who at one point painted while having to take care of a one year old child. His indiscretions and artistic interpretations of the powerful brought him much controversy. Bankruptcy and financial problems also loomed large. Would he not be astounded at the auction prices for any of his works? As we know, his students also copied his works which eventually ended up on the auction block as Rembrandt originals, selling for millions. Today’s technology has opened up the ability to determine which paintings were truly those of the artist.
Nevertheless, take one look at his portraits and you see a person who understood, sometimes with humor, the inward thinking of a person…their real personalities. At times, he would paint a self portrait practically hidden in a painting. His ability to cast light and shadow made his works spectacular to put it mildly.
One of the best videos that I have found on Rembrandt and his life in Amsterdam along with the critiques of his most noted paintings is by the BBC British Collections. On this day, while keeping your distance and staying put from the Pandemic, perhaps you would enjoy, as did I, this special presentation. N.Boyer
Video: The Power of Art Turn Up Sound
It will be a different Friday before Easter this year. Perhaps we should prepare our hearts for it more than ever! We, as Christians, always have referred to this special day as GOOD FRIDAY. A reason for saying it is “good” is because it is the beginning of the journey of our Savior to the cross, Who gave Himself for the people of the world. The Friday had to come before the glorious Easter Day of RESURRECTION. So, how do we prepare these few days before Friday…especially if there are some who don’t understand this special day of Christian worship?
For my readers throughout the world who may not be Christian, this may help you understand the Power of the Cross in Christianity. Please read with an open mind. Ask God to speak to you and give you His truth of salvation. May you find, through the power of the Holy Spirit, your trust in the Savior Who came to be punishment for all your sins and mine.
THE PROPHECY OF CHRIST’S CRUCIFIXION was given to the Jews within their own Hebrew scriptures. Not only does the New Testament give this account, but parts of the Old Testament give the crucifixion as a prophecy of the events to happen. One of these is in Psalms 21, “My God, my God why have You forsaken me…O my God, I cry out by day and you answer not. I cry out by night and there is no relief for me. All my bones are racked. My heart has become like wax melting away within my chest. My throat is dried up like baked clay, My tongue cleaves to my jaw. They have pierced my hands and my feet…” Psalm 68 “…in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.”
THE HISTORY of the STATIONS OF THE CROSS:
In many churches and cathedrals around the world, there are pictures of the Stations of the Cross. Having originated in Jerusalem, the pictures are to duplicate Jesus’ trip on the Via Dolorosa before his crucifixion. Jerusalem fell to the forces of Saladin, the first sultan of Egypt and Syria in 1187. Forty years later Saint Francis of Assisi, a Franciscan, came back to Jerusalem and proclaimed certain holy places as places of Christian devotion. During the 15th and 16th centuries, they built outdoor shrines which later were introduced as stations. Faithful Christians read the gospels as they visit these stations to remember the suffering of the Savior…usually on Fridays. There are traditionally 14 pictorial stations mounted on church walls. The resurrection station is sometimes included as the last station because without the resurrection of Christ, there is no gospel.
Pictures of selected Stations of the Cross from around the world:
For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that Whosoever believes on Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16
In the past, on Good Friday, concerts are given around the world. Often these are requiems of a somber nature. This year, because of the Coronavirus, the depictions throughout Europe and other part of the world will not be reenacted. The great concert halls will be empty. Yet, we must not allow this to change our focus on the great sacrifice of our Savior, Jesus Christ. We will turn to our TV’s and recordings and bow our heads as we remember the terrible day on the cross. In just a few days after Friday will come the great morning of RESURRECTION. Prepare your hearts now with the beautiful music I’d like to share with you today…Laudate Dominum by Mozart, sung by Aksel Rykkvin
(After the music…come back to see the pages of the Stations of the Cross.)
- TURN UP SOUND and enlarge picture for best viewing.
- 2nd link showing the description of the Stations of the Cross
Click this link below and follow each station by clicking on “next”:
There are times when we hear the glorious talent of a youthful voice that we know it could have only been given by God. As the young person grows, the voice changes and he or she may go on to other pursuits. Yet, while they are able, they bring to us as close to the voice of angels that a human voice can give.
Today I share with you the voice of Aksel Rykkvin from Norway.
This video was recorded in 2016. A short bio of his young life:
Aksel began singing in the Oslo Cathedral Boys’ Choir and continued as a member throughout his soprano career. At age ten he joined the Children’s Chorus of the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet. As a member of the Oslo Cathedral Boys’ Choir, he received vocal training beginning at the age of five from the voice teacher Helene Haarr. Since age ten he has studied voice with Marianne Willumsen Lewis, his current principal teacher. Rykkvin has achieved a good reputation internationally…
- He was nominated for newcomer of the year at the 2016 Spellemannprisen for Arias By Bach, Händel & Mozart.
- In January 2017 he was named “The Musician of the Year” during the national part of the Youth Music Championship 2016-2017.
- In addition to performing in operas, he sang with the Oslo Philharmonic orchestra and has also performed for the Prime Minister and Norwegian royal family.
For your enjoyment, Boyer Writes presents Aksel Rykkvin.
The JOY OF LISTENING to calm the soul
In memory of those lost in Hurricane Florence and those in Distress
Beautiful nature photographs by N.W. B. (See right side /”Visit Site”)
The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short, but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark. (Michaelangelo)
We as parents often think we know what is best for our children. In one case in history, the parent had it all wrong. Michelangelo’s father did not want him to become an artist. To be an artist was considered below his social class. ( Born March 6, 1475 in Caprese, Republic of Florence, Italy and died February 18, 1564 in Rome.)
“Michelangelo was considered the greatest living artist in his lifetime, and ever since then, he has been held to be one of the greatest artists of all time. A number of his works in painting, sculpture and architecture rank among the most famous in existence.
The frescoes on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican are probably the best known. Michelangelo became an art apprentice relatively late, at 13, perhaps after overcoming his father’s objections. He was apprenticed to the city’s most prominent painter, Domenico Ghirlandaio, for a three-year term, but he left after one year, having nothing more to learn…In 1504 he agreed to paint a huge fresco for the Sala del Gran Consiglio of the Florence city hall to form a pair with another just begun by Leonardo da Vinci. Both murals recorded military victories by the city (Michelangelo’s was the Battle of Cascina), but each also gave testimony to the special skills of the city’s much-vaunted artists…Pope Julius II call to Michelangelo to come to Rome spelled an end to both of these Florentine projects. The pope sought a tomb for which Michelangelo was to carve 40 large statues… Pope Julius had an ambitious imagination, parallel to Michelangelo’s, but because of other projects, such as the new building of St. Peter’s and his military campaigns, he evidently became disturbed soon by the cost. Michelangelo believed that Bramanti, the equally prestigious architect at St. Peter’s, had influenced the pope to cut off his funds. He left Rome, but the pope brought pressure on the city authorities of Florence to send him back. He was put to work on a colossal bronze statue of the pope in his newly conquered city of Bologna (which the citizens pulled down soon after when they drove the papal army out) and then on the less expensive project of painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel (1508–12).” (Credit Encyclopedia Brittanica by Creighton Gilbert)
The Sistine Chapel: From 1508-1512, Michelangelo painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel with a series of frescoes that portrayed several biblical stories. Perhaps the most famous image from the ceiling is The Creation of Adam, which depicts God giving life to the first human, Adam. (Wikipedia)
After viewing the chapel, click your back arrow to see the VIDEO below. (turn up sound)
Is sound able to be visualized? Technology has made it possible.
Some have said that even our voices and the speech that goes out of our lips and into the air…moves further and further out from us… until it goes into infinity. We can stretch our minds and wonder…Does it go into a black hole or up to the throne of God?
It is certainly a scary thought if every word or sound I utter should continue to travel and someday be gathered from outer space and brought back to let me hear my every word.
Please, God, help me to be more careful in anything I say…should you want to restore it…and ask me when I meet You Face to Face, “Are these your words?”
Want to visualize this music produced in our technical world?
Hungarian Rhapsody by Liszt
( Technical acknowledgment: andy fillebrown, Oct 2012, This video was made using Blender (http://blender.org). The MIDI file used to make the Blender model is by Bernd Krueger (http://www.piano-midi.de/midi_files.htm).
Classical Music is a joy to listen to when it is performed by some of the world’s most gifted musicians. Boyer Writes is happy to share this great performance for your listening pleasures.
Some words about our musicians:
Joshua Bell: Bell was born in Bloomington, Indiana in the U.S.A. He began taking violin lessons at age four, using a scaled-to-size violin. He was much like any young person growing up with interests in sports and video games. He studied the violin under several teachers. At age 12, he became quite serious about his instrument, appearing with the Philadelphia Orchestra at age 14. From Indiana University, he received an Artist Diploma in Violin Performance. He was given the honor of “Indiana Living Legend”. Bell played at Carnegie Hall at age 17 and since has performed with the world’s major orchestras. Bell plays his 300-year-old Stradivarius violin made in 1713 in a number of movie scores, winning him a Grammy. (taken from Wikipedia)
Misha Maisky: Born in 1948 in Riga, Latvia, Mischa Maisky received his first music lessons there at the Children’s Music School and Conservatory. In 1962 he entered the Leningrad Conservatory. In 1965 his debut with the Leningrad Philharmonic earned him the nickname “Rostropovich of the Future”. One year later he was a prizewinner at the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow and began his studies with Rostropovich at the Moscow Conservatory while pursuing a concert career throughout the former Soviet Union. After being imprisoned in a labor camp near Gorky for 18 months in 1970, he emigrated from the USSR. 1973 Settles in Israel; wins the 1973 Cassadó Competition in Florence; debut at New York’s Carnegie Hall with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra under William Steinberg; after the concert, an anonymous admirer gives him a 18th-century Montagnana cello on which he still performs today. 1995 Returns to Moscow for the first time in 23 years to give a concert and to record works by Prokofiev and Miaskovsky with Mikhail Pletnev and the Russian National Orchestra; CD release: Vivaldi and Boccherini concertos with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. Since then, he has performed throughout the world with many musical releases. (taken from Biography)
Evgeny Kissin: Kissin was born in Moscow to a Russian Jewish family. Recognized as a child prodigy at age six, he began piano studies at the Gnessin State Musical College in Moscow. At the school, he became a student of Anna Kantor, who remained Kissin’s only piano teacher. Between ages 10 and 12, he was performing with Russian Symphony Orchestras. He went to Japan and the first Western European concert was in Berlin and he began touring throughout Europe. In September 1990, Kissin made his North American debut playing Chopin’s two piano concertos with the New York Philharmonic and also in Carnegie Hall. He has had an extensive career since then with many awards. (Wikipedia)
Enjoy this performance of Great Classical Music!
|Joshua Bell, Misha Maisky, Evgeny Kissin||Play Tchaikovsky’s Piano Trio in A Minor, Opus 50|
Take your walking shoes…for it is a long….long way around the Louvre. Just as Rome was not built in a day…neither was the amazing Louvre in Paris, France. Below is a short history and a video that explains the building of the Louvre under the many kings of France. It is worth your time, especially if you may not be able to get to France in the near future. The miles of walking will be saved and you will be richer by knowing the artists and paintings that grace the Louvre’s walls. The building itself is a work of art as well as the many sculptures from around the world.
When my husband and I were fortunate to visit the Louvre, my favorite paintings were by Rubin. This may have been because I worked my way through college at another fine art museum in South Carolina that has some Rubins as part of their fantastic collection. Perhaps a visit to this museum will be closer to your home if you live in the United States. This museum’s collection is also worth your visit.
From Boyer Writes, enjoy the following!
SHORT HISTORY: “The Louvre or the Louvre Museum (French: Musée du Louvre,) is the world’s largest art museum and monument in Paris, France. A central landmark of the city, it is located on the Right Bank of the Seine… Approximately 38,000 objects from prehistory to the 21st century are exhibited over an area of 782,910 sq.ft. The Louvre in 2016 was the world’s most visited art museum with 7.2 million visitors. The museum is housed in the Louvre Palace, originally built as a fortress in the late 12th century under Philip II. Remnants of the fortress are visible in the basement of the museum. Due to the urban expansion of the city, the fortress eventually lost its defensive function and, in 1546, was converted by Francis I into the main residence of the French Kings. The building was extended many times to form the present Louvre Palace. In 1682, LouisXIV chose the Palace of Versailles for his household, leaving the Louvre primarily as a place to display the royal collection, including, from 1692, a collection of ancient Greek and Roman sculpture. In 1692, the building was occupied by the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres and the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture, which in 1699 held the first of a series of salons. The Académie remained at the Louvre for 100 years.
During the French Revolution, the National Assembly decreed that the Louvre should be used as a museum to display the nation’s masterpieces. The museum opened on 10 August 1793 with an exhibition of 537 paintings, the majority of the works being royal and confiscated church property. Because of structural problems with the building, the museum was closed in 1796 until 1801. The collection was increased under Napoleon and the museum renamed Musée Napoléon, but after Napoleon’s abdication, many works seized by his armies were returned to their original owners. The collection was further increased during the reigns of Louis XVIII and Charles X. During the Second French Empire, the museum gained 20,000 pieces. Holdings have grown steadily through donations and bequests since the Third Republic. The collection is divided among eight curatorial departments: Egyptian Antiquities; Near Eastern Antiquities; Greek, Etruscan and Roman Antiquities; Islamic Art; Sculpture; Decorative Arts; Paintings; Prints and Drawings.”
( taken from Wikipedia)
VIDEO on the Louvre (Turn up sound)
To chisel in stone a creation takes more than the idea…but also the sweat and toil that goes with it. To carve any statue or a part of a building took hands and a hammer…with usually a price to pay. Recently I watched where statues that were carefully created are being removed and stored in some place to possibly be forgotten. Our children will not be able to see the beauty of a carved work of art, regardless of who may be represented in the statue.
In the Middle East, ISIS destroyed works of art carved into hillsides and in temples and museums. Gone from the earth because of dissent, mistrust, and complete disrespect for beauty or labor in stone…never to be seen again.
If ISIS could take over cities in Europe or the Vatican, would they also destroy the priceless statues and antiquities that were made in the name of the Christian faith, as they have done in the Middle East to museum works of art that are thousands of years old? See video link of destruction
The amazing works of art and marble statues could have been lost forever during World War II if it had not been for those who hid them or those who discovered them when it was ordered that they should be destroyed if Hitler should lose the war. The most famous true story of this is when the American army sent art experts to find where the Nazi regime had hidden them. This is better known by the film called Monuments Men.
Perhaps the greatest sculptor in stonework in history was Michaelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni, 1475-1564. He aimed high for perfection in all that he made out of stone and in the paintings that he painted. He had the greatest influence on art in the Renaissance period and beyond. Not only did he produce some of the greatest stone works of art, but his masterpieces upon the walls of the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican are beyond beautiful and inspiring.
The word Renaissance means “Rebirth”. His story in the video below is not only his search for meaning in life, but about his ability as a sculptor to make stone into an almost breathing piece of life. His life as a sculptor and artist, after hundreds of years, should be an inspiration to all of us to protect the monuments in stone that speak of history, faith, and of artistic beauty… that if lost…can not be replaced. Consider…if for no other reason, the hands that chiseled and the sweat that poured to make something wonderful for the world to enjoy is worth protecting and preserving. Perhaps we need a new “rebirth” period in our modern age.
AMEN and AMEN
Mozart Statue in Vienna… It was erected in 1898 and moved to its current location in 1953, reflecting Vienna’s love of the music of Mozart.
Some of the world’s most beautiful music has been composed to bring us into a worshipful place. Ave Verum Corpus by Mozart is one of those compositions.
Mozart died less than six months after writing this music. He composed the motet while in the middle of writing his opera, Die Zauberflote, and while visiting his wife, Constanze, who was pregnant with their sixth child. The motet, which is a short piece of sacred choral music, typically polyphonic and unaccompanied, foreshadows “aspects of the Requiem, that is a mass for remembrance of those who died. The best-known part of the requiem mass starts with these words:
“Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine” or “Give them eternal rest, O Lord”
At this time of Lent, music played before Easter is usually mournful or sad because Christians are contemplating remembering the death of Jesus, our Lord and Savior. Often a black cloth is draped across the crosses…to be removed on the glorious day of resurrection…Easter Sunday.
Turn on your sound and enlarge the picture for the best of King’s College choir at Cambridge and the Ave Verum Corpus by Mozart.
Blessings and peace to you from Boyer Writes
It takes effort and work to fine-tune talents that we may have. Some seem more pronounced than others, but all in all…our talents great or small are God given. Consider the brain that tells the body what to do. Consider the fingers that play the piano that the brain tells the muscles to move as one reads the notes. All of this is miraculous.
When I was very young, I went to to boarding school. My love there was playing the piano with Mrs. Tolison as my teacher. I have mentioned this in a blog before, but looking back on the event I believe that there was talent there. Nevertheless that talent was placed on hold because of a move to an apartment with many steps that prevented a large piano from being moved there. It also had something to do with the fact that my dear mother was a single parent and could not afford anything else at the time. Circumstances change things in our lives. The talents we have may lay dormant for years…and then be renewed if we are willing to put the effort into its renewal.
Sir Winston Churchill had a talent in painting. Being that he was busy being the Prime Minister of Great Britain may have had something to do with his delayed use of his artistic talents. He had the responsibility to plot the future course of the military campaign to defeat Nazi Germany. But Winston Churchill could not resist the allure of the magical medieval city of Marrakesh, which was a five-hour drive to the south.
We are never too old or too young to develop the talent God has given to us. What is your talent? Use it…for it would be a crime to waste it. Yes, it takes work and perseverance.
Video of a 4 year old developing her amazing God-given talents.
(Notice that she is reading the music as she turns the pages. Unfortunately we don’t see her dear face because of advertisements at the end…oh well, the rest is great and beyond belief!)
From the first time I rode up the steep mountain from North Carolina to Fancy Gap, Virginia, I knew it was a special place. It took, however, living here as a “flat lander” to get to know the mountain people. One may ask, “What is a flat lander?” Those are the people who come from places far south…like Florida.
This “flat lander” had grown up in the Brushy Mountains of North Carolina and later in the Winston-Salem area. I was blessed with a big family…about 15 first cousins and many aunts and uncles…in that area, but my parents moved away from the cold of the mountains to the warmth of Florida. It took me over 50 years to return to my roots…even if for a few months of the year.
I found more than I had expected….a whole way of life that I now call the “Mountain Way”. It first became clear to me when my husband and I were looking for a second, get-away place in the Virginia area. The realtor who showed us around drove us in a 4-wheeler up a steep mountain that leveled out onto a pasture land with a beautiful view of the Blue Ridge. (In case the Blue Ridge is new to any of my readers, it is a stretch of mountains running over 400 miles through several southern states. The building of this wonderful place is another story, but briefly it was to give the people work during the depression. The wonderful rock bridges; scenic overlooks and miles of blooming rhododendron is worth the trip. Dogwoods blossom in the spring and there seems to be waves of trees and flowering bushes that make their entrance to the place known as the Blue Ridge Parkway.)
Back to my first introduction to the mountain way. The realtor stopped the car and a farmer who was bailing his hay made his way up slowly in our direction. No one introduced us, but the farmer and the realtor began an extensive discussion about his land. This conversation seemed to be quite long about almost nothing to those of us flat landers who like to get things done quickly. We sat quietly and listened. Finally something was mentioned about my early years down the mountain…in N.C. and all of my relatives there. There was a complete change of mood…and accepting smiles. We found out that the realtor knew what he was doing because in the mountains it is customary to “visit a while” before getting down to business.
Family relations mean everything to the mountain people. I was to find out that many of the old farms date back before the Civil War. One young man told us that his family was given hundreds of acres by the King of England, before the Revolutionary War. This land remains in his family until this day. One can see scattered around the hills little family cemeteries.
Mountain people, we are told, are glad that the outsiders come to the mountains…enjoy the area…and spend their money to help an ailing economy, but they have “about all the friends they need.” Almost everyone is related to someone…or if they are not, they have grown up with them and know all the family members.
These warm and friendly people are strong in their beliefs…as this is also known as the Bible Belt. Faith is important. When a politician made a remark about people “clinging to their guns and Bibles”. A truer statement could have not been made…even if it was said with some sarcasm. Even recently, we noticed that when the controversy about the Confederate flag made the people of the mountain think that their southern history was being attacked, the few Confederate flags suddenly became many flags being flown from porches or alongside the American flag. “Don’t tell us what should be politically correct here in the south….and don’t even think about taking away our guns!” one might hear a mountain man or woman say. While living here, we have not seen racial bias…which is not to say there isn’t any. One thing is certain. These are a strong people… a proud people…with mountain ways which anyone who plans to live here will be smart to learn and appreciate.
The mountain people have dug their roots deep into the soil. They are unpretentious and comfortable in who they are. It may be the older men who sit around at the local store passing the time or the hefty man in bib overalls talking on his cell phone about getting the cooler ready for a side of beef. Everyone shares their vegetables of corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, spinach and some things I didn’t know grew in the ground. Almost each time my husband returned from choir practice, he had a bag full of the latest items grown in someone’s garden.
Mountain stories and the history of the area tell of tough times when people tackled the cold of winter while raising huge families down in some of the mountain passes and hollows (low place in the mountain known as a “holler”). There are places with names like Buffalo Mountain, Fancy Gap, Groundhog Mountain and more than one can remember of gaps and passes. (*see history books below) The deer roam freely and stop their eating to stare at those of us passing by.
We had only just moved into our Virginia house when a man came down the road asking if we had seen his cow? It appeared that the cow had gotten through the fence…as did a very large, black bull that also came down our road. People in the mountains help each other…even the flat landers. Our neighbors arrived from Florida one snowy day and could not get up their steep driveway. Hearing the spinning tire noise, it was not long before another mountain neighbor came with his tractor to pull them the rest of the way up the drive.
Ever hear of the two finger way? Almost all mountain people use it. This means, regardless of who it may be…the passing driver will raise his two fingers off the stearing wheel to give a little wave as the other driver passes. My first impression of that was, “Do we know them?” The answer of course is “no”…but it is the friendly mountain way.
Music is a wonderful part of the mountains. Tonight we rode the parkway to the Music Center to hear a concert of country music along with the “blue grass” strumming of banjo, guitar, bass, and more. One of the best of the best is a gentleman named Wayne Henderson. Mr. Henderson has a tiny workshop where he makes guitars. These are so sought after that a person may wait years to get one…and at a very hefty price. He is a man of the mountains who has been honored for his contribution and preservation of mountain music…even playing in Carnegie Hall.
Below is a video that I’d like to share with you because this blog may become a book if I continue. The fact is I may write more about my experiences here in the mountains where the August temperature moves easily from 65-75 degrees, with a cool mountain breeze. Today this “flat lander” is glad to be in the mountains…enjoying the mountain ways and the wonderful people here.
Wayne Henderson video:
History books about the Blue Ridge areas found on Amazon.
The Man Who Moved a Mountain by Richard Davids
For your weekend listening pleasure….the sounds of the violin and the beauty of nature.
Today the sun is out at my home in Florida and the world looks better all around. It seems to me a time to lean back and enjoy the weekend with some beautiful music by composer Claude Debussy.
” Debussy was born into a poor family in France in 1862, but his obvious gift at the piano sent him to the Paris Conservatory at age 11. At age 22, he won the Prix de Rome, which financed two years of further musical study in the Italian capital. After the turn of the century, Debussy established himself as the leading figure of French music. His death (age 55) occurred in the midst of the aerial and artillery bombardment of Paris during the German Spring Offensive of World War I. The funeral procession made its way through deserted streets to Pere Lachaise Cemetery as the German guns bombarded the city. The military situation in France was critical, and did not permit the honour of a public funeral with ceremonious graveside orations. Debussy’s body was reinterred the following year in the small Passy Cemetery sequestered behind the Trocadero, fulfilling his wish to rest ‘among the trees and the birds’; his wife and daughter are buried with him.”
One of his most loved compositions is Clair de Lune (Clair de Lune is French for moonlight) performed on the video below.
This history of the violin:
The violin first emerged in northern Italy in the early 16th century especially from the Brescia area. Many archive documents testify that from 1485-95 Brescia was the cradle of a magnificent school of string players and makers, all called with the title of “maestro” of all the different sort of strings instruments of the Renaissance: viola da gamba (viols), violone, lyra, lyrone, violetta and viola da brazzo.
Most likely the first makers of violins borrowed from three different types of current instruments: the rebec , in use since the 10th century (itself derived from the Arab rebab ), the Vio da Baccio (or Renaissance Fiddle), and the lira da braccio .
The earliest explicit description of the instrument, including its tuning, was in the Epitome musical by Jambe de Fer, published in Lyon in 1556. By this time the violin had already begun to spread throughout Europe.
Instruments of approximately 300 years of age, especially those made by Stradivari and Guarneri del Gesù, are the most sought after instruments (for both collectors and performers). In addition to the skill and reputation of the maker, an instrument’s age can also influence both price and quality.
ENJOY NOW THIS VIDEO OF BEAUTIFUL VIOLIN MUSIC: (enlarge for better view of scenery)
Dearly Beloved is a film about the life of Ludwig van Beethoven who was born in 1770 in Germany. Part of his life was lived as a deaf composer who was the predominant musical figure in the transitional period between the Classical and Romantic eras.
Still loved today, I find the following video most interesting as the Japanese have also “fallen in love” with the music of Beethoven. Maybe this is an understatement as we hear over 10,000 Japanese musicians perform.
Enjoy this presentation:
To spend time listening to some of the world’s greatest music may be your delight if you are a serious music lover. Nothing can be more uplifting than Handel’s Messiah… which is glorious anytime. As we have been thinking of the risen Christ, perhaps it is even more appropriate.
George Frideric Handel
The year 2013 was the 250th anniversary of Handel’s death. This Baroque composer is best-known for his work, The Messiah”. Handel lived for 49 years in London and died at the age of 74. This, of course, was not very old in today’s thinking. ”
The BBC has broadcast all of his operas, more than 40 in total, and every one of the composer’s keyboard suites and cantatas was performed during the annual London Handel Festival, which included concerts at St. George’s Hanover Square church, where Handel worshiped, and at the Handel House Museum , longtime residence of the man who Ludwig van Beethoven himself, citing Messiah, said was the “greatest composer that ever lived.” … (from Smithsonian Magazine by Jonathan Kandell)
For your enjoyment and worship of God, Boyer Writes gives to you The Messiah….performed by the musicians and Choir of Kings College at Cambridge University in England. (Turn on sound and wait for the introduction)
Forty days and Forty nights is the time for Christian believers to observe Lent.
Lent is a time of reflection, prayer, and repentance. We at Boyer Writes will take this time to bring to you a special thought or two during Lent. It is our hope and prayer that it will speak to someone who is reading and seeking more of Jesus Christ in their lives.
We begin with the book of Job, found in the Old Testament of the Holy Scriptures. We ask the question why a man who loved God with all his heart would be allowed to be tested in every area of his life? Satan said to God that Job would certainly deny Him and even curse Him if the things he held dear were taken away. What were those things?
- His wealth and possessions
- His family
- His health
This many years later, those things do not sound any different from what the modern day person may cherish. Job’s many possessions were stolen by bandits; a storm killed his children and much more!
By this illustration, it seems that God does allow testing. Do we understand it? Not really…at least not fully. Why would God allow something terrible to happen to a believer in order to prove Satan wrong? We may not get an answer to that question until we meet God face to face.
We often hear people say that God wanted to take someone when there was an accident or sickness. I never believed that a loving God deliberately brings evil. He does allow man to have free will and we suffer the consequences to our actions or the actions of others. Health issues often overtake us because of pollution, the environment, or disease. The natural result of all these things is inevitable. Difficulties are a part of life that can not be easily explained.
Job did what most people would not do or say : Job arose , tore his robe, shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. He said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there; the Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrongdoing.
We won’t get ahead of ourselves, but if you want to peek to the end of the book, you will find out how God made everything right for Job. God would reward him greater than he had ever been rewarded.
At this time of Lent, there will be readers who are going through some extremely hard times and perhaps doubts about faith. One may say that he/she could never have this kind of relationship with God. This is understandable, but sometimes in the middle of the trials, we must wait and seek…resting and believing that He will find a way to make us understand. The answer that we look for is probably not in the dramatic or what we even expect…but in a small still voice……a gentle whisper. (1st Kings 19)To best view the video below, turn on the sound and enlarge.
As we go from year to year, we often look back and ask ourselves, “What if something had not happened…or we had made different decisions…would our life be different? Would it be better? Would I not have gone through certain sufferings..either physical, mental or emotional?”
It is normal to wonder about these things. It is not normal to be obsessed by them. We face certain moments when we have to look rationally at life and receive it for what it truly is. That is often hard to do, but it is essential. What has happened in our lives is what has made us who we are. We learn from these experiences…and in many cases find courage from them.
I take encouragement from William Wordsworth’s poem that speaks to our human mortality and ultimate immortality. There is a certain age when we finally see that we are mortal…and life will have an end. We always hope it is not soon, but we do not know. I think when my Mother passed away two years ago, at age 93, I , for the first time in my life…counted the years that I may have left. I know that those years will pass quickly…as the ones in past have done. It was a wake-up call that I did not really receive…but knew I had to do so.
What was that “wake-up call”? It was the knowledge that I could continue to look backwards…at especially difficult times …like decisions family members have made that hurt; sickness, death and more other things that could be named. There may not be an answer for any of these.
I could also worry about things that have not happened…and may never happen. If we are truthful with ourselves we can not live our present life in a past experience or our present life in a future experience that we may never have. We only have now.
Wordsworth used the birds and lambs as example of enjoying and glorying in the life of Spring. He was going to join them in this experience and learn to feel “gladness”. I want to feel gladness. That may mean stopping to hear that bird. It may mean listening to a child laugh. It might be just closing my eyes and feeling the sun’s warmth on my face.
Wordsworth continues that some things in life…perhaps the innocence of childhood …were wonderful times. Nothing can bring that back. For some, childhood was not a joy…but perhaps a life with a husband that is now gone…was joyful. Whatever those happy experiences were…they are the “splendor in the grass…”. He likens this to the beauty of a “flower”…but we all know that the flower does not last forever. Life in the past was lived and life that is now is what “remains”. We then find “strength” and courage for today from the good of the past.
May you find that to be true in 2014.
A part of William Wordsworth’s famous Ode: “INTIMATIONS OF IMMORTALITY FROM RECOLLECTIONS OF EARLY CHILDHOOD”
Then sing, ye Birds, sing, sing a joyous song! And let the young Lambs bound As to the tabor's sound! We in thought will join your throng, Ye that pipe and ye that play, Ye that through your hearts to-day Feel the gladness of the May! What though the radiance which was once so bright Be now for ever taken from my sight, Though nothing can bring back the hour Of splendor in the grass, of glory in the flower; We will grieve not, rather find Strength in what remains behind..." Complete poem by Wordsworth Pictures by Robert Berdan
Music touches the soul. It is the joy we feel when music floods over us.
Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent”
― Victor Hugo
If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music.”
― Albert Einstein
“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination
and life to everything.”
“Then let us all do what is right, strive with all our might toward the unattainable, develop as fully as we can the gifts God has given us, and never stop learning” Ludwig Van Beethoven
As a child, he lived with an alcoholic father and as he knew he was becoming deaf, he considered suicide. Wrapped in the turmoil of his own emotions and personality, family difficulties, physical maladies, passions and obsessions, his genius as a composer wrote and rewrote itself…and despite it all….gave to mankind some of the most beautiful music in the world.
1st video…. from the movie featuring the performance of his famous “Ode to Joy” when the composer could not hear the music, but saw the reaction of those who listened to the concert.
2nd video ...of Beethoven's life produced by the BBC.
Ludwig Van Beethoven...his LIFE AND STRUGGLES
In India, one may hear the word “darshan” when it comes to a special insight or connection with God. Others interpret it slightly differently. It is not a word that is often used within Christian conversations, if ever. Nevertheless, it is worth taking a look at a certain sense…special meaning…or a unusual gift.
Poet Gary Snyder ( winner of the Pulitzer Prize for poetry; lived in Japan; CA professor with interests in Asian thought.) has given a naturalistic (nothing exists beyond the natural world) meaning to “darshan”:
“It’s a gift; it’s like there’s a moment in which the thing is ready to let you see it. In India, this is called darshan. Darshan means getting a view, and if the clouds blow away, as they did once for me, and you get a view of the Himalayas from the foothills, an Indian person would say, ‘Ah, the Himalayas are giving you their darshan’; they’re letting you have their view. This comfortable, really deep way of getting a sense of something takes time….”
My question then would be where does this gift come from? Does the mountain have the ability to give a gift? Hardly. It is too busy just doing what a mountain does…grows trees..plants; houses the wildlife; endures the weather and perhaps even the rubble of an earthquake. Only God, who is interested in the human being and made him/her in His own image is able to give a gift of insight..extraordinary meaning…and even a realization. In this way, I would not agree with Mr. Snyder’s world view or philosophy, but I would agree that there is something mystical to the realization that a thought, dream or vision has become real to us.
How many times have we looked at a sunrise or sunset; paying little attention. But there is that moment when it is something special and spectacular. I have seen the clouds when they seemed to have a large hole in them…with a sunbeam streaming through. Immediately, I am reminded that we are told that when Christ shall appear (His second coming to earth) that we will see Him..coming in the clouds. Those magnificent clouds looked as if it might be that very moment.
“In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven…” (Daniel 7:13 Old Testament of the Holy Scriptures)
“At that time people will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory.” (Mark 13:26 New Testament of the Holy Scriptures)
I have no problem with looking at how other faiths and people explain things. We are told that the Holy Spirit will give us discernment…and teach us all truths. There are just some gifts and experiences given to certain people…perhaps a special sense or meaning…or a gift, if you will….and all we can say is “HOW AMAZING!” It definitely is a mystery.
The video below is of Ankiane Kramarik, a young girl from Idaho, USA…with a gift. She will tell you in her own words from this interview.
BACH AND LUTHER…. THE PROTESTANT REVOLUTION
In general, this is what the Protestant Revolution was all about:
“First, it can be said that many devout Christians were finding the Roman Catholic Church’s growing emphasis on rituals unhelpful in their quest for personal salvation. Indeed, what we are witnessing is the shift from salvation of whole groups of people, to something more personal and individual. The sacraments had become forms of ritualized behavior that no longer “spoke” to the people of Europe. They had become devoid of meaning.. Second, the papacy had lost much of its spiritual influence over its people because of the increasing tendency toward secularization. In other words, popes and bishops were acting more like kings and princes than they were the spiritual guides of European men and women. The poor resented the wealth of the papacy and the very rich were jealous
of that wealth. At the same time, the popes bought and sold high offices, and
also sold indulgences. ... Some Church officials held several offices at once and lived off their income. The clergy had become lax, corrupt and immoral and the people began to take notice that the sacraments were shrouded in complacency and indifference. Something was dreadfully wrong.”
“At the age of 21, in 1505, Luther tells us that he experienced the “first great event” of his life. In that year he experienced a conversion…. He cried out, “Help, St. Anne, I will become a monk.” He had been touched by the hand of God, but he felt doubt within himself . He simply could not reconcile his faith with his worldly ambitions…To relieve his anxiety he
joined the Order of the Hermits of St. Augustine. There he fasted, prayed , and read the Holy Scriptures. One day, as he sat reading, he pointed to a Bible passage at random. It was from the Epistles of St. Paul: “For the justice of God is revealed from faith to faith in that it is written, for the just shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:17)”
The Ninety Five Theses are nailed to the cathedral door by Luther.
One opposition to the Church by Luther had to do with the selling of indulgences for forgiveness of sins. He called this a false doctrine. “By attacking the issue of the indulgences, Luther was really attacking the entire theology and structure of the Church. By making salvation dependent on the individual’s faith, Luther abolished the need for sacraments as well as clergy to administer them. For Luther, faith alone, without the necessity of good works, would bring salvation. Good works did not guarantee salvation. Faith did not guarantee salvation. God alone grants salvation or damnation.”
Changes in music also followed the Protestant Reformation. Would you believe that some of the most famous music was originally bar room music of the day?
“The most prominent Lutheran composer in history was Johann Sebastian Bach. He lived 200 years after Martin Luther.
During and before Bach’s time, the Lutherans took bawdy drinking songs and put sacred words to them. Bach composed very few hymn tunes of his own, but he wrote masterful harmonization of existing hymn tunes.
The song “O Sacred Head Now Wounded,” otherwise known as “The Passion Chorale,” is a beer-drinking song by Hans Leo Hassler (1564-1612), fit with sacred words by the Lutherans, and harmonized by Bach. Bach also harmonized some hymns written by Martin Luther himself, including “A Might Fortress is Our God.”
Enjoy the video of some of Bach’s beautiful music and the history of these two famous men:
Composing music in a time of turmoil and uncertainty was a difficult task that took courage and loyalty to preserving the sacred music of the Christian faith. It could mean being accused of treason and execution, depending on who was in power at the time.
The video below is a history of two of those composers, Thomas Tallis and William Byrd. They were caught between the Catholic and Protestant world of Henry VIII. Their efforts and what they left for the world is worth our understanding. A tour is interesting of many of the places where the music was composed and performed. Musicians will appreciate the study of the music and its beauty.
Sacred Music Composers William Byrd & Thomas Tallis: “Singing the Lord’s song in a strange land”