N.W.BOYER…Christian Author

Musical Talent

DIVERSITY and AMERICA

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. Our children are going to emulate what they learn from us…of all races and all creeds.

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 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 today, July 7, 2020.

GOD BLESS AMERICA and heal her wounds.

Turn on your sound:


DESPITE CIRCUMSTANCES…USING GOD’S GIFT

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)

Countess Giulietta Guicciar Moonlight Sonata dedication

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.

Thy faithful,
Ludwig

Young Beethovenolder Ludwig van Beethoven

 

 

 

 

 

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.

https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/7qWbcosJdtU?controls=0&start=360

PIANO PERFORMANCE OF THE MOONLIGHT SONATA:  Arranged by Georgii Cherkin Classic FM Orchestra Conductor: Grigor Palikarov Soloist: Georgii Cherkin – piano

 

 


STAYING AT HOME…YOU’RE NOT ALONE

People around the whole world are feeling the pressure of the “stay at home” regulations.  States in the U.S. and many countries are trying to open slowly, but safely…  while waiting for the danger of the coronavirus to pass and a new vaccine is discovered.

After resting a while during the weekend from writing, I decided to think about some people I know and their plight with being confined.  Then I’d like to turn our attention to something a little more light-hearted.

staying home 2020

Photo by Juan Gomez

My blogging friend in England is keeping a running journal of his days in quarantine.  He is situated out in the country and not in the big city of London.  Nevertheless, whether staying in a packed apartment building in New York City or out in the countryside, the feeling is the same.    What do I do with myself today?

Planning for “staying put” is not easy on anyone.  My English friend is pressing ahead, however, and working out plans for his future business which has been a great tour guide in the past.  He may be expanding, possibly into Scotland.  He thinks that entrepreneurs do their best during critical times…they come up with ideas!  Right on…go for it, Stephen!!

Our son is working from home these days with conference calls from Japan, Australia, Germany or other places that are his business concerns, besides the United States.  His airline just cancelled his booked trip to Australia.  Frustrated plans, I’m certain, but a better day will come! Some things are totally out of our hands.

His good friend, who is from Switzerland, has planned a wedding in Venice, (not Venice, Florida)  which he is still hopeful will happen in August…but who knows?   He’ll cross that bridge when he gets there.

Not flying..parked airplanes Nick Oxford/Reuters

More difficult for others are those who are in retirement homes and nursing facilities and can’t have their loved ones visit.  We have talked to two people recently who are told that they can’t go out of their rooms. Can you imagine the mental anguish for those confined to one room and four walls? Not enough can be said about their situation. It is not only difficult for the elderly, but for their families who love and miss being with them.    Keep making those regular calls to these friends and family because they REALLY need you.    This too will eventually end for those so confined, but the waiting and loneliness must be almost intolerable.

Another friend of ours is trying to make it especially helpful for the children.  They are making water slides and fun games for the children to play outside.  Even our dogs feel the cooped up problem when they whine and push their wet nose against our arms. they seem to be begging to go out.  “Hey, when is my walk…outside??!! 

  The nicest young boy in our neighborhood is being home schooled, but occasionally he is seen zooming up and down the street on his little scooter.  Hey, a guy can only learn so much!    To his Mom, who is trying to work from home and be a teacher as well, I can only smile and say, “Mom, you are investing in the future of the world…for he may be the scientist or doctor to kill off a future virus!  Hang in there!”  

So having empathized as much as I can with all of you stranded, isolated, stay-at-homers,  I’d like to end with a little humor.  We all need a chuckle!

Here are some talented singers who know exactly how you have been feeling because they feel it too.   They composed their song while staying apart to dramatize life in the last weeks…going on months.  We expect that they will sing again TOGETHER before long.   Thanks, Guys,  for your creative spirit!!

     HISTORY IS THE WITNESS…THIS TOO WILL PASS. 

VIDEO FOR THE WAY YOU AROUND THE WORLD MAY FEEL OUT THERE. Remember, you are not alone.     Turn up your sound


Glorious Talent

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.

Rykkvin-Aksel younger2

Young Aksel Rykkvin.

Aksel Rykkvin. older 

Aksel Rykkvin…later years

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. 

(from Wikipedia)

For your enjoyment, Boyer Writes presents Aksel Rykkvin.


WW II Musicians…and the Holocaust…”Just Live!”

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.

inmate orchestra Mauthausen concen camp Austria Hansbonarewitz to execution photo from Mauthausen Memorial Archive

An inmate orchestra at Mauthausen concentration camp, in Austria, “accompanied” the recaptured inmate Hans Bonarewitz on his way to execution. (SS photo from the Mauthausen Memorial Photo Archive)

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.

nazi-concentration-camp-music-orchestra-high

“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)

david-russell UNC plays violin belonged to Auschwitz Men's Corchestra Rose of WFAE

UNC Charlotte music professor David Russell plays the violin that belonged to a member of the Auschwitz Men’s Orchestra. Julie Rose/WFAE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  Zhanna Dawson pianist Holocaust survivor

 

 

 

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.”

Holocaust survivor Zhana and Frina sisters

Zhana (Anna) and her sister Frina

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?

“I was playing for the memory of my parents,” she says. “I was playing to survive.”

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.” Anna Dawson pianist2

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Underneath the Facade

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.

susan boyle in america's got talent

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.

susan-boyle

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-boyle-2jpg

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


Countdown until Christmas Eve…Day 2

stars at night

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.

 

 

 

 

 


Countdown to Christmas…Day 5

Boyer Writes presents Christmas music for your inspiration.

O Come, O Come Emmanuel

 


Belief…and the magic of Christmas

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.

Trinity Episcopal in Mt Airy NC

Trinity Episcopal Church in Mt. Airy, N.C. Winter snow of 2018

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!


N.W. BOYER looks forward to a NEW BOOK

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.Men and Women of Valor Book Front revised

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.

Men and Women of Valor Back FINALrevised

 VIDEO  (Turn on sound)

 

 

 


Keep Moving!

2012-07-14-Spudman-Triathlon-SwimmerThe 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!”swiming triathlon

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.

taking a walk

VIDEO

https://www.bbc.com/news/av/embed/p06cg1s0/44660051

 


Relaxing Music of the Christian faith

adam-and-god

 

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…. God’s GIFT

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.

Rykkvin-Aksel-soloist of Norway

Aksel Rykkvin

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)

 

 


THE JOY OF CLASSICAL MUSIC

joshua-bell-mischa-maisky-evgeny-kissin-

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

 

 


Christmas Day…Simply for our Listening Pleasure

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-plays-at-a-nursing-home

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.

elizabeth-aoki

Here is Elizabeth performing in 2012, simply for your listening pleasure on this Christmas Day.

 

 

 


An Unusual Gift of Appreciation

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.

gina-lollobrigidasmLuigina “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)

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The mandolin made of matchsticks given to Gina

Turn up sound:   Mandolin Concert  (Czardas – Mandolin :Yahui Chen & Guitar : YunChang Dong)

 


God Given Talents…and work

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.

winston-churchill-painter2Sir 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.

Churchill had begun his love affair with the desert citadel on a winter painting holiday eight years earlier and fallen in love with the striking contrast between its terracotta walls, arid desert location and azure sky.In particular he wanted Roosevelt to see the spectacular Marrakesh sunsets, for which the  “Paris of the Sahara” is renowned and which illuminate the distant Atlas mountains as the muezzin make their call to prayer.
But more prosaically Churchill also had an urgent need to paint.The day after Roosevelt left following the unscheduled two-day visit Churchill opted to set matters of war and affairs of state to one side for another night of painterly indulgence and remained in Marrakesh with the express purpose of capturing his beloved North African sunset in oils.That painting was the only wartime canvas he completed but it re-energized him and he returned to the Cabinet War Rooms revitalized. Painting was Churchill’s release valve and it wasn’t just therapy. He was an accomplished artist who produced more than 500 canvases in his life despite taking up painting only in middle age and even exhibited at the Royal Academy…  (Jane Warren)winston-churchill-paintingwinston-churchill-painting-in-studiowinston-churchill-painting-6winston-churchiill-painting-5

 

 

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This painting was stored in an attic…almost forgotten…and at auction brought a high price.

 

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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!)


Count Down to Glorious Easter_ Day 4

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.

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Painting by Rubens

Credits:  Video St. Paul’s Cathedral Choir “God So Loved The World” by John Stainer.  Cathedral photographs St.Paul online.


Sing it from the balconies!

We are always being told how far down the academic list our American students are in comparison to other nations.  This may be true in some areas of education. As for the Arts, one must not forget that many school districts cut music and art from the curriculum while they funded sports.

When I traveled to Japan, as an educator to study the Japanese educational system, one wing of a high school that I was visiting  was filled with baby-grand pianos on which students were practicing. Even after the the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster and the music studios were left in ruins, the Japanese music students continued to practice and perform in other areas of Japan. (Tohoku earthquake in 2011  triggered a Tsunami  causing an accident at the nuclear energy plant)  Their love of music could not be destroyed.

I also may add that I saw high school students mopping their school’s hallways. Asking if they were being punished, I was told they take turns doing it because they are proud of their school.  I think it may be time to “Make our Students Proud Again”.

In choral music, like the video you are about to see, the 500 high school choral students performing from the balconies of the Louisville Hyatt Regency Hotel, they are the best.  The National Anthem for the United States, The Star Spangled Banner, showcased the students at the Kentucky Music Education Convention and their outstanding abilities.

During this political season, we hear Mr. Trump describe his hundreds of grand hotels around the world. I have an idea.   Perhaps he could donate (tax write-off) some of his millions to support these students in traveling around the world as Music Student Ambassadors  for the U.S.   It would be a great cultural experience and a boost to using their talents in some of the places they would never see in a life-time.  See if you agree with me.

Video (Turn on sound and enlarge screen)


Is the Memory going…going…there may be some HELP!

When I was in boarding school at age 10, the one thing I loved more than anything was playing the piano.  When the House Mother was looking for me, the students would say, “She’s probably practicing piano.” When I had to leave that school, my mother, a single parent, tried to get a piano up the apartment steps…but no luck.  That was the end of my piano world…or so I thought.  More than 50 years later,  I still dream about what “could have been” when I hear a great pianist.

In comes my husband on one Valentine’s Day and said he was buying me a piano as a Valentine’s gift.  Yes, I’m getting a little “syrupy” here, but it was the opening once again to a long-lost love..piano and music.  I knew middle C and some basics…so I ordered easy classical to begin.  Moonlight Sonata  has become my favorite and the one I play when wanting to do a good finger workout.    Amazingly,  my brain began to remember the lessons…my hands began to come together etc.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I am far from doing a concert or becoming another Rachmaninoff….simply a little playing for my pleasure.

As we move on in life, it is the beauty of what we love that matters. Having always been creative, I have found that being an author and illustrator of my children’s books…( Books by N.W Boyer ) …running out into the backyard to photograph the local birds or sewing something that I have created is just the thing to make my mind think about the good things.

This leads me to why I am writing this blog. A friend sent me the video that explains a great deal about the research done on the brain and how it relates to playing an instrument. If your memory seems to fail at times or you just don’t feel at the peak of your game…try playing an instrument…any instrument. I don’t know how any of this would affect someone with a disease of the mind, like Alzheimer’s, for there was no research mentioned along this line.  Nevertheless, the facts that were studied may bring some help in an area that you may not have considered.  It is worth a try.

  One would wonder how this little boy’s brain would look if evaluated while he is playing:

Also for your enjoyment:


Music for your weekend pleasure! Claude Debussy

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.

Claude Debussy

Claude Debussy

 

 


Vivaldi and the Seasons

 

The first snows are beginning to fall in the northern areas of the U.S.A.   We remember each season with its beauty and praise of God’s handiwork.      Boyer Writes invites you to join us this weekend with the beauty of nature and  the music of Vivaldi.

(Turn on sound and enlarge picture for best viewing)

 

 


Passion for what we love…can bring unexpected results

He was a young orphan who ran away from an abusive situation.  For years he lived on the streets in Korea, but one day he heard a man sing and it spoke to his heart.  Perhaps he too could learn to sing.  His singing grew into a passion and the possibility that he might be able to pull himself out of the sadness of his life by the talent God had given him.

Hear the story of this young Korean man.   Listen to his beautiful voice…and pray that his life may be changed by his courage to sing.   For your Sunday listening…..