Most people are familiar with World War II Holocaust where millions of Jews died terrible deaths, but may not be aware that there have been a number of other genocides in modern history. One man, whose family immigrated to America, learned it all too well in recent years. His name is Daniel Yessian. He is trying, through his music, to ‘SPEAK FOR A LOST GENERATION.”
A shy young boy, born here in America, found a love for music through the encouragement of an older musician. As he grew, music would take him to places that he never dreamed of to find again his heritage…in Armenia.
Daniel had a natural ear for music, often imitating what he heard a teacher play. As time went on, he found a love for jazz and formed his own small band. Then something happened that would eventually change his life. He was asked to write music for commercials, which he found exciting and gave some pocket change that seemed like a God sent. He married, had children, and continued playing.
His family members were baptized into the Armenian Christian Church and it was through their priest that he was asked to compose some music that would be played for the Commemoration of the tragedy endured by the Armenian people in 1915.
A Short History:
The Armenian genocide was the systematic killing and deportation of Armenians by the Turks of the Ottoman Empire. In 1915, during World War I, leaders of the Turkish government set in motion a plan to expel and massacre Armenians. By the early 1920s, when the massacres and deportations finally ended, between 600,000 and 1.5 million Armenians were dead, with many more forcibly removed from the country. Today, most historians call this event a genocide: a premeditated and systematic campaign to exterminate an entire people.
The Armenian people have made their home in the Caucasus region of Eurasia for some 3,000 years. For some of that time, the kingdom of Armenia was an independent entity: At the beginning of the 4th century A.D., for instance, it became the first nation in the world to make Christianity, its official religion.
But for the most part, control of the region shifted from one empire to another. During the 15th century, Armenia was absorbed into the mighty Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman rulers, like most of their subjects, were Muslim. They permitted religious minorities like the Armenians to maintain some autonomy, but they also subjected Armenians, who they viewed as “infidels,” to unequal and unjust treatment. Christians had to pay higher taxes than Muslims, for example, and they had very few political and legal rights.
In spite of these obstacles, the Armenian community thrived under Ottoman rule. They tended to be better educated and wealthier than their Turkish neighbors, who in turn grew to resent their success.
This resentment was compounded by suspicions that the Christian Armenians would be more loyal to Christian governments (that of the Russians, for example, who shared an unstable border with Turkey) than they were to the Ottoman caliphate. (note: Russia also had as a primary religion…Christianity through the Russian Orthodox Church and not Muslim.)
These suspicions grew more acute as the Ottoman Empire crumbled. At the end of the 19th century, the despotic Turkish Sultan Abdul Hamid II – obsessed with loyalty above all, and infuriated by the nascent Armenian campaign to win basic civil rights – declared that he would solve the “Armenian question” once and for all.
“I will soon settle those Armenians,” he told a reporter in 1890. “I will give them a box on the ear which will make them…relinquish their revolutionary ambitions.” (History.com)
Footnote: Today, Turkey refuses to admit that anything happened to the Armenian people even though there are skeletons to prove it and some 100 year old survivors, who remember this terrible history as children. Turkey calls it “relocation.” The truth being that they moved the Armenians out before they murdered them because they didn’t want the bodies to be in their territory. Only a few escaped to tell the story.
Daniel Yessian believed he would honor his ancestors and those who died in the Armenian genocide if he could compose a musical trilogy with photography of the history of the Armenians. He had never traveled to Armenia, but found it a wonderful experience of getting to know the land and people who suffered so much…but survived to this day. This Trilogy was based on FREEDOM…FEAR…and FAITH.
If you would like to watch a remarkable film with the complete story of Mr. Yessian’s journey to bring his composition to the Armenian National Philharmonic Orchestra. It is available on Amazon Prime…An Armenian Trilogy. It is worth your time to look it up and watch.
AN IMPORTANT THOUGHT
In this film, Mr. Yessian wonders if there will be more genocides to come. This is a very important thought for all of us to contemplate. How much do we know or remember about the genocides in more recent history? How much are our young people learning today about past history that must not be repeated? Even today, in various places in the world, there is great persecution going on that may not make the national news.
REFRESHING OUR MEMORY OF HISTORY AND GENOCIDES
These pictures represent only a very few of the atrocities during the 19th and 20th centuries. It is, however, important to remember what people have endured and pray that there will be no more. Where one group of people stand against another, it is entirely possible that it will happen again. Mr. Yessian also says, “We are nothing without each other.”
Video: A trailer, ARMENIAN TRILOGY, concerning the music composed in commemoration of the Armenian people who perished.
by Daniel Yessian.
In previous posts, I have shared with you the music of John Rutter. He had a special commission to write a song for an occasion in which the world would be looking for every moment to be perfect. What a responsibility!
I can only imagine the nights that he must have struggled over the exact song…a perfect song for this ceremony. The Queen would be there and everyone who could have managed to receive an invitation. This was the day! As with all his other music, he puts God’s words and love as the main focus of his composing. In this special event, he wanted God to be honored and for the world to receive a message of God’s tender care. Using Psalm 118, he expanded on a familiar gospel chorus…adding special words.
Finally, he finished his composition for the organ and voices of the choir boys and older singers. This special day would be at Westminster Abby, one of the most beautiful Cathedrals in the world.
I’m certain that at some point before the ceremony, Rutter had to present this song to His Royal Highness (HRH) Prince William of Wales and Miss Catherine Middleton for approval. What if they decided it was NOT what they desired for their big day.., after all his work and prayers? Thankfully, this beautiful song was right on target and with a thumbs up…the rehearsals began!
You will notice that this song is not one of flowery love between a couple. It is about God’s love and the responsibility of the couple before God. The words are words of encouragement that God will be with them. He will be their defender and protector. Yet, they must also “praise Him.” They must be strong and put their trust in Him. We pray that this is what they are doing in life, for it was a ceremony before God… not to be taken lightly amidst the grandeur.
Here are the words, in part, to this special song, This is the Day by John Rutter. He used the Holy Scripture in many parts. (source: Musixmatch)
This is the day
The day which the Lord hath made
We will rejoice and be glad in it.This is the day
The day which the Lord hath made
We will rejoice and be glad in it.
This is the day.
O praise the Lord of heav’n: praise him in the height.
Praise him, all ye angels of His: praise Him, all His host.
Praise Him, sun and moon: praise Him, all ye stars and light.
Let them praise the Name of the Lord.
For he shall give his angels charge
Over thee: to keep thee in all thy ways.
To keep thee in all thy ways…
The Lord himself is thy keeper
The Lord is thy defense upon thy right hand;
So that the sun shall not burn thee by day
Neither the moon by night.
The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil:
Yea, it is even he that shall keep thy soul.
The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in:
From this time forth
From this time forth for evermore.
He shall defend thee
He shall defend thee under his wings...
Be strong, and he shall comfort thine heart,
Shall comfort thine heart…
Put thou thy trust in the Lord
Thy trust in the Lord.
What about your day? Each day God gives you is a special day and you too should rejoice and be glad in it. Thank Him today for your special day. It may be simple and plain…nothing royal…but it is YOUR DAY!
This day belongs to the Lord! Let’s celebrate and be glad today. Psalm 118:24
For your enjoyment, here is the beautiful music by John Rutter, THIS IS THE DAY. Turn on your sound.
What does music do to our souls? John Rutter, the composer whose music I shared in my previous blog, has a theory about music and especially the music sung by small or great choirs. Because we enjoy music that has beautiful harmony, Mr. Rutter thinks it is a lesson for all mankind…to be in harmony with one another.
What a desperate prayer this is for the world as we know it today. To even consider harmonious living in a time of destruction and cruelty is almost “asking for the moon.” Yet, this is what God wants from us and only through Him and the love He demonstrated for us through His Son will we have this glorious blessing of peace and harmony. We look for the day that our churches and community choirs will once again gather in fullness to sing His wonderful praises.
BRIEF HISTORY OF JOHN RUTTER: Born on 24 September 1945 in London, John Rutter is the son of an industrial chemist and his wife. He grew up living over the Globe pub on London’s Marylebone Road… As a chorister there, he took part in the first recording of Britten’s War Requiem… He then read music at Clare College, Cambridge, where he was a member of the choir. While still an undergraduate he had his first compositions published, including the “Shepherd’s Pipe Carol” which he had written aged 18.
In 1981, Rutter founded his own choir, the Cambridge Singers, which he conducts, and with which he has made many recordings of sacred choral repertoire (including his own works)… He frequently conducts many choirs and orchestras around the world.
In 1980, he was made an honorary Fellow of Westminster Choir College, Princeton, and in 1988 a Fellow of the Guild of Church Musicians. In 1996, the Archbishop of Canterbury conferred a Lambeth Doctorate of Music upon him in recognition of his contribution to church music.
Rutter’s compositions are chiefly choral, and include Christmas carols, anthems and extended works such as the Gloria, the Requiem and the Magnificat. In 2002, his setting of Psalm 150, commissioned for the Queen’s Golden Jubilee, was performed at the Jubilee thanksgiving service in St Paul’s Cathedral, London. Similarly, he was commissioned to write a new anthem, This is the day, for the Wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton in 2011, performed at Westminster Abbey during the service. (Taken, in part, from a conversation with Bruce Duffie)
At the end of this blog, you will see the words, OLDER POSTS. In case you missed it, click on this to hear another of his beautiful musical pieces with words. It will be worth you while.
Listen to what he has to say about choral music and then below his message is one of his most excellent works of art. Tune your heart to be blessed.
Turn up your sound.
Turn up sound. THE LORD BLESS YOU AND KEEP YOU
Conducted by John Rutter Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, The Mark Thallander Foundation Choir Festival
We are at a critical time in our country. This is a pure understatement! Nevertheless, most of the Americans that I know believe that we are ALL extremely blessed to be citizens of this country. Ask any person who has lived under tyranny or in a communist state, how many rights and privileges they could call their own.
We are a DIVERSE people. Some of our ancestors came here because they wanted to come. They left everything to be part of a free country… a part of the “New World.”
Other of our American citizen’s ancestors were brought here in chains. This was tragic and it has been a long struggle for them over generations. Our Native Americans also suffered great loss. The generations of today have much to be grateful for as they pursue an even better life. The greatest country…with the greatest privileges must be protected, not destroyed.
We are a FAMILY of Americans and we never should forget this. Just like in many families, there will be those who disappoint us with their lack of caring, rebellion, selfish actions toward the family. Our American children are going to emulate what they learn from us…of all races and all creeds…hopefully for the better… unless they choose otherwise.
Here in America, there are more rights for all Americans than anywhere around the world. Why do we see the eagerness to cross our borders? Because we stand for LIBERTY and opportunity given here for a better life is the answer. It is for all of us to build on these rights and NEVER allow them to slip away.
Yes, we are as diverse as our country itself is diverse. As we spread from sea to sea, the beauty and bounty of this land must not be underappreciated by any of us.
Charlie Daniels shows it best in his video. “My Beautiful America.” May he rest in peace…as he passed away on July 7, 2020.
GOD BLESS AMERICA and heal her wounds.
Turn on your sound:
It is amazing that people who have been greatly blessed with a special gift can continue to use that gift even after they physically find it almost impossible. The determination, courage, and faith that it takes to continue…to press on regardless of the circumstances is inspiring indeed.
One of my favorite pieces of music by Beethoven is the part of the The Piano Sonata No. 14 in C♯ minor “Quasi una fantas,” which we know as the Moonlight Sonata.
It was completed in 1801 and dedicated in 1802 to his pupil, the Countess Giulietta Guicciardi The piece is one of Beethoven’s most popular compositions for the piano, and it was a popular favorite even in his own day. Beethoven wrote the Moonlight Sonata in his early thirties, after he had finished with some commissioned work; there is no evidence that he was commissioned to write this sonata…The name “Moonlight Sonata” comes from remarks made by the German music critic and poet Ludwig Rellstab. In 1832, five years after Beethoven’s death, Rellstab likened the effect of the first movement to that of moonlight shining upon Lake Lucerne. Within ten years, the name “Moonlight Sonata” (“Mondscheinsonate” in German) was being used in German and English publications. Later in the nineteenth century, the sonata was universally known by that name. (Wikipedia)
By the love letter Beethoven wrote to Giulietta, it was obvious that he was in love with her. However, it appears that her father objected to a marriage for the two. Beethoven was not rich enough nor had a position he considered suitable for his daughter. This great piano virtuoso would not have his love, for she eventually married another man.
Beethoven’s love letter to the Countess:
My Angel, My All, My Very Self,
Just a few words to-day, and only in pencil . . . Can our love endure otherwise than through sacrifices, through restraint in longing. Canst thou help not being wholly mine, can I, not being wholly thine. Oh! gaze at nature in all its beauty, and calmly accept the inevitable – love demands everything, and rightly so. Thus is it for me with thee, for thee with me, only thou so easily forgettest, that I must live for myself and for thee – were we wholly united thou wouldst feel this painful fact as little as I should . . .
Now for a quick change from without to within: we shall probably soon see each other, besides, to-day I cannot tell thee what has been passing through my mind during the past few days concerning my life – were our hearts closely united, I should not do things of this kind. My heart is full of the many things I have to say to thee – ah! – there are moments in which I feel that speech is powerless – cheer up – remain my true, my only treasure, my all !!! as I to thee. The gods must send the rest, what for us must be and ought to be.
The young Beethoven and a painting of Beethoven after his illnesses and the loss of his hearing. What could be more devastating than for a composer to not hear what he was playing…Yet, he continued to use the gift God gave him.
“Beethoven died in his apartment in Vienna, on 26 March 1827 at the age of 56, following a prolonged illness. Beethoven’s funeral was held three days later, and the procession was witnessed by a large crowd. He was originally buried in the cemetery at Wahring, although his remains were moved in 1888 to the Vienna Central Cemetery.”
In this short, dramatic movie clip, given in part here, Beethoven could hear nothing of what his genius and gift from God had allowed him to compose. The strings of the orchestra moved, but for Beethoven, where was no sound. The audience heard it, however…and finally, he was given the applause that he could at least see. He finally saw with his eyes their appreciation for his beautiful music.
Turn up sound and click link and then click the back arrow to return for a piano performance of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata.
PIANO PERFORMANCE OF THE MOONLIGHT SONATA: Arranged by Georgii Cherkin Classic FM Orchestra Conductor: Grigor Palikarov Soloist: Georgii Cherkin – piano
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.
We have just remembered the brave men and women of WWII and witnessed the great flyover in Normandy. It seems only fitting that we should also remember those who spent much of the war in concentration camps as well as the brave people who tried to save the Jews and the Jewish children.
We will start with the fact that some of the Jews survived because they were accomplished musicians…and the Nazis liked music. They liked being entertained. Perhaps for some of the German soldiers, who were caught up in this terrible time of German history, it was the only thing that helped them keep their sanity…especially when they knew what was going on in the death camps.
Music and musicians had a distinct place in the death camp of Auschwitz and other concentration camps. Not as much is written about the musicians who often had to play as people were executed.
The following is an account of some of the musicians in the concentration camps where millions of people were killed and more than ninety percent of whom were Jewish. When I took students through Auschwitz, we saw crosses scratched into the walls of the torture areas. Christians and those who opposed politically were also part of the camps. Catholic nuns and other non-Jewish families hid the Jewish children as long as they could, giving them different identities and birthdates.
“In addition to the orchestra, there was a variety of other SS-sponsored music at Auschwitz. Some SS officers employed individual ‘musical slaves’, who were required to play or sing whenever commanded to. One such prisoner was the Italian tenor Emilio Jani, whose memoirs are titled ‘My Voice Saved Me’. Another was Coco Schumann, who recalled years later that
“the music could save you: if not your life, then at least the day. The images that I saw every day were impossible to live with, and yet we held on. We played music to them, for our basic survival. We made music in hell.”
(Taken from Music and the Holocaust)
Let me introduce you to a woman named Zhanna Arshanskaya Dawson, who played the piano to survive.
Anna’s story: “The day after Christmas, the Jews were ordered to prepare for transportation.”
Dawson says her father knew they were all going to die when he saw the trucks go north. There was nothing to the north. It was a road to Dobritsky Yar, a road to the unthinkable. Dobritsky Yar had two giant pits like the ones at Babi Yar near the city of Kiev, where the Nazis killed 34,000 Jews in two days, most machine-gunned in the back.
Dimitri Arshansky, Anna’s father, pulled out his gold pocket watch and flashed it in front of a young Ukrainian guard. He told the guard his family wasn’t Jewish; to please let his little girl go. Dawson says her father realized that he could not save both his girls — two of them running would be too much commotion. He knew Zhanna, or Anna, the adventurous, free-spirited one named after Joan of Arc, had a chance to survive. As the guard took the bribe and looked away, she fell out of line and ran like the wind.
“I don’t care what you do,” her father told her. “Just live.”
A few days later Dawson found her sister. With the help of friends, the two girls made it to an orphanage and were able to obtain fake, non-Jewish identities. For the rest of the war, they were no longer their father’s daughters. She had to repeat the following as her new identity: “My name is Anna Morozova. I am from Kharkov. My sister Marina and I are orphans. Our father was an officer on the Red Army and was killed in action. Our mother died in the bombing of Kharkov.” Dawson said it so many times during the rest of the war that it echoed endlessly in her head.”
A piano tuner at the orphanage heard her play one day and offered her and Frina jobs with a musical troupe that entertained the Germans. It was a frightening prospect, but Anna kept thinking of her father’s last words — just live…JUST LIVE!
They played for Nazi generals and in front of German audiences in the city of Kremenchug: Bach, Beethoven, Rachmaninoff, Liszt, Brahms, Chopin.
Years later people asked her how she could have done what she did. Was it not like the musicians who played as Jews walked into gas chambers in the concentration camps?
And her music, she says, was the only spot of beauty in that bleak atmosphere. Music provided a psychological cocoon. Without it, her spirits might have broken… “We were a precious commodity for the Germans,” she said. “We were more valuable alive than dead.”
When the Germans began retreating, they took the musical troupe with them, back to Berlin. There, the Jewish Arshanskaya girls walked past Gestapo headquarters and even Adolf Hitler’s bunker after the Allied bombing began…When the war finally ended in 1945, they were taken to a displaced persons camp…” ( Mona Basu CNN )
Turn up the sound. Video made by her son after Zhanna made it to America. You will hear her playing the piano in the background.
Who would have dreamed a matronly, middle-aged Scottish woman could have the nerve to leave all behind, forgetting her appearance and walk onto a stage to sing for a better life? Susan Boyle did. The sneers and raised eyebrows were quickly put to rest when she opened her mouth to sing. God had given her a great talent and she was going to let all know that what was under the facade was not what one could see…but if they listened, they could hear it.
Isn’t this so true of the way we look at people? We look on the outside, but God looks at the heart. He also bestows on people many gifts that can be used for His glory. Some people find that gift and use it wisely. Others never venture into the unknown possibilities…and the gift goes unused.
One day I drove to see a man that I had been told was a great stained glass maker. Wanting him to make something for me, I ventured out onto a long road that seemed to lead to nowhere. Soon I saw a little hut and a man who looked like “old father time” walked out. My first instinct was to just drive away. Had I done that, I would have missed some of the most beautiful glass work I had ever seen outside of a cathedral. When having a conversation with him, I learned that he prayed for his customers and God always brought him enough people to pay his bills and live comfortably. He loved his little place in the woods where he could produce for others beautiful glass art of which he had a great talent.
So it was with Susan. She never felt at ease with people, but she did with music. Her background had given her little self-confidence, but her music did. That was how she was able to rise above it all and face the audience with her talent on that first night on stage with the world watching. After the pressures of winning the talent show became too much, she had to back away for a while. Crowds of people, media comments and the burden of it all drove her into seclusion to find a renewed health. Once again she overcame and her albums of beautiful songs hit top sales.
Susan says, “ I’m a champion for those who don’t have the confidence to do things and don’t have a voice; the ones people tend to ignore…”
Find your gift…for all of us have something that God has given us. Seek it, pray for it…and use it.
It is my pleasure to present Susan Boyle in a tribute to her remarkable life. Enjoy!
Video Turn up sound
The voices of the Three Tenors presented for Christmas by Boyer Writes
In Vienna, a concert in Vienna of traditional and sacred Christmas music featuring Pavarotti, Carreras, Domingo.
Turn up sound and push red slide to the beginning of video if it starts in the middle.
Boyer Writes presents Christmas music for your inspiration.
O Come, O Come Emmanuel
Christmas is a time of celebration and belief…belief in the true Christmas when the Savior of the World was born…belief in the joys that surround Christmas. Many of these joys come in different forms. It may be the decorating of the Christmas tree with all the old ornaments that have been carefully put away for another year. It could be baking of a special pie or the wrapping of a present for a special person. The choirs that sing our once a year music and the garlands and wreaths that are hung… bring a light and hope to our lives and in our churches. Some of those lights are bathed in sunlight and swaying moss from the trees, as here in my home state of Florida or in the beautiful snow-covered churches further up north.
Some say that Christmas is for children. We know it is a special time for them, but the true meaning of Christmas is for everyone.
“For to us a child is born, to us a Son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6
To have the faith of a child…to be able to hear the ringing inside a small bell when grown-ups have ceased to hear it because of disbelief…is the theme of one of the most loved and cherished of Christmas films, The Polar Express. available online
Recently, my husband and I sat down and watched the entire film. It had been many years since we had seen it, but the “magic” was still there. Tom Hanks plays various parts with different voices, which is analyzed in the video below to the meaning behind the characters presented in this great film.
At this special season, Boyer Writes would suggest that you gather your children or grandchildren around to enjoy the full-length film. You are never too old to bring the joy of belief into your life. In today’s world, we all need to seek to believe in the sacred meaning of Christmas and also in the joys and magic of Merry Christmas that we may have left behind in our childhood!
Today is a good day! I am looking forward to a new book to hold in my hands and share with others. Over a year ago, my husband, a retired Navy Chaplain, and I started interviewing our American veterans in the Blue Ridge mountains for a new book called, Men and Women of Valor in the Blue Ridge. This week I sent it to the publishers. We are excited to share this news with our readers. Stay tuned for a special availability announcement of the book hopefully in the next couple weeks on Amazon.
We think the people whose stories were shared with us will be a real inspiration…and their stories needed to be told. Some are in their 90’s and are in nursing homes. We are losing our American World War II veterans and those of our allies at an alarming rate. Hopefully, there will be many books that share their stories. During the terrible battles to keep freedom alive, hope often seemed dim as the bombs dropped and men and women died. There were many prayers for miracles. Our book covers other men and women who served in Korea and Vietnam. It gives honor to those serving their country in the fight against terrorism in more recent battles.
Below is a video of some beautiful children singing in honor of all World War II veterans as they walk on the very ground where furious battles were fought.
One Voice Children’s Choir, under the direction of Masa Fukuda, performs “When You Believe.” Filmed on-location at Omaha Beach and Brittany American Cemetery and Memorial in Normandy, France. Performed in English, Hebrew and French. This song is dedicated to all the soldiers who fought in World War II, including those who fought at Normandy’s Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword Beaches in the D-Day Invasion; and to the millions of Jewish victims who lost their lives during the Nazi Holocaust. (video credit)
We add our appreciation and honor for American and Allied veterans in all wars since WWII.
VIDEO (Turn on sound)
The secret to longevity may be a simple thing like MOVEMENT. Of course, we are removing other factors of genetics or sudden accidents that could supersede activity. Having watched my Uncle John move about with almost no help, I am becoming even more convinced. At almost 96, he still works in his garden and has played golf just this past year with his daughter. I believe movement may be the key. We sit too much…especially at the computers at home or work…or before the TV.
My son is swimming in a Triathlon in Germany as I write. He is certainly not in his 20’s or 30’s…but keeps fit and “on the move!”
He sent me the video below that I hope you will enjoy. It will be even better if you speak French, but this lady emphasizes that at over 100 years old, she just keeps “moving.” Maybe 100 is the new 80.
Therefore, for your weekend, enjoyment, here she is. Sometime today take a walk. It could add years to your life.
May you be blessed this week as you go about the things you are doing. Take a few minutes to play this in the background…for peace and comfort.
God is in the wind, the rain and the stars. He is beside you now…unseen, but present. Make time to feel His presence through music.
Video: St. Paul’s music for your relaxation
THE VOICE….A GIFT FROM GOD
Boyer Writes presents to you the voice, in concert, of a young man that you will know has been given a great gift. Below is a bio of this young musical talent.
Aksel Rykkvin was Born April 11, 2003 in Norway
The Norwegian boy soprano (treble), Aksel Rykkvin, has received singing lessons since he was 8 years old …He is a classically trained treble from the Children’s Chorus of the Norwegian National Opera & Ballet and Oslo Cathedral Boys’ Choir. He is in high demand as a soloist in operas, concerts and music festivals all across Norway. In March 2016 he received international acclaim for his role as ‘the boy’ in Rolf Wallin’s new opera Elysium. …In January 2016, Aksel Rykkvin recorded his debut album in London, with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, directed by Nigel Short.
Aksel Rykkvin has held very well attended solo concerts in Oslo and Nidaros Cathedrals, as well as solo church and house concerts. At several official functions, he has sung for the Prime Minister of Norway, the Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Norway, and also for the Secretary General of NATO. In November 2015 he sang with the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra for a full Oslo Concert Hall. For summer 2016, he was booked for multiple performances at the chamber music festivals in Risør and Oslo. In June 2015 he was invited by Assistant Director of Music Ben Parry to sing a solo program in King’s College Chapel, Cambridge. (Taken from Bach Cantatas Website)
Laudate Dominum, from Vesperae solennes de confessore (K. 339) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Sung by Aksel Rykkvin (treble)
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|
This Christmas Day is a happy day for many and a sad one for the lonely or destitute. Many are blessed with families to share in gift opening and a wonderful meal. Sometimes those who are far from us come home to share the moment. That is not always true of every home, but last Christmas Eve the churches were filled with those who did make it home for Christmas. Our military men and women stationed and working far away probably dislike “I’ll be Home for Christmas” because they know that it has to be only in their thoughts.
Take a moment; relax from all the activities of the day and reflect on how you made someone feel better at a sometimes troubling time of year. Feel good about that and give it to God because you were doing it as His hands…and His voice of love.
This is one little girl who shares her God-given talents with others, especially at Christmas. Elizabeth says, “The thing I most enjoy about music is getting to go to different places and dressing up. I also like seeing the smiling faces of people in the audience enjoying my music. It seems like the people that listened to me play enjoy classical music. Because of this experience, I may want to play for retirement centers again.”
Elizabeth Aoki is from Cresskill, New Jersey and has studied at the Juilliard Pre-College division with Masao Kawasaki. She attended the Aspen Summer Music Festival, where she auditioned for From the Top. She has been a member of the Juilliard Pre-College String Ensemble and Youth Chorus.
Here is Elizabeth performing in 2012, simply for your listening pleasure on this Christmas Day.
Recently I was leafing through one of my collected “coffee table” books and ran across the article about an unusual gift given to a famous Italian actress named Gina Lollobrigida.
Luigina “Gina” Lollobrigida was born in 1927 and died in her 80s. Those who may remember her in movies in the 1950s and 1960s, know that she was every man’s dream of the perfect woman, along with many other actresses of that time. She was named as one of the ten most beautiful women in the world. Men, especially in the military, may have pasted her picture on the wall for courage…but there was one man in a most unusual place that found her inspirational and sent her a special gift.
Because we are in the season of gift-giving, I thought it might be good to consider just how important a gift might be to a person, regardless of one’s station in life. After all, it is the thought and using our imagination and talents that counts. Perhaps this can guide our choices of giving this Christmas.
Gina’s unusual gift came from a prisoner in a jail in the United States. During the long days of incarceration, he made her a mandolin of appreciation… entirely made of over a thousand matchsticks. They were varnished and shaped to a full-sized instrument that could actually be played. His package was mailed to Rome with a letter that explained that she was the “Queen” to the prisoners and admired by all of them. Gina sent a thank you note and prominently displayed the mandolin in her beautiful home. (Taken from The Art of Giving by Stuart Jacobson, published in 1987)
Turn up sound: Mandolin Concert (Czardas – Mandolin :Yahui Chen & Guitar : YunChang Dong)
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!)
This is the Thursday before the Crucifixion of Jesus. On Holy Thursday (also called Maundy Thursday), Christians commemorate the Last Supper—a Passover meal that Jesus shared with his disciples the night before his death, which we shared in our last blog. During the meal, Jesus broke bread and offered his followers wine, saying “This is my body, given up for you.”The arrest and flagellation of Jesus occurred before his trial. Condemned, he was led off to suffer crucifixion on the cross, a Roman means of torture and death.
Painting by Rubens
Credits: Video St. Paul’s Cathedral Choir “God So Loved The World” by John Stainer. Cathedral photographs St.Paul online.
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.