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
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
Occasionally, I look back in the archives of my writings and find something that touches me all over again. “Rising above Adversity” was written in 2011. Today it has the same message for it is hardly possible to turn on the TV or listen to the news without hearing situations of adverse circumstances. Some join the crowds and do nothing to make someone’s life better. Others take the adversity and bring out the best that life has to offer, regardless of the cause. They don’t burn down hard-earned businesses, but look for ways to improve life. It is often a tough choice between what is right and what is wrong. Perhaps we need to take a second look at some instances of this.
Emanuel Kelly and his brother had deformities at birth from gas poisoning in Iraq. They were abandoned by their birth parents in a box and were was found by a Christian Nun who took them to an orphanage. A woman who was an aid worker from Australia reached out to save their lives. Mrs. Kelly decided to adopt the boys and give them a home. Both boys had major deformities and were missing arms. Growing up, Emanuel just wanted to sing and as he did so, he was encouraged to enter musical competition.
How do people rise above great adversity? Sometimes it is a mystery. There is something in the human soul that says, “I may be different…or life may not be fair….but I have something special. I want to be the person that I was meant to be.”
Intervention is also important. There were many factors that lay before these two boys. The nun who found them could have tried to find someone in the village of Iraq to take them, rather than caring for them in an overcrowded orphanage, especially with such disabilities.
Mrs. Kelly saw two boys that needed her decisive action. She took them to Australia for medical care, but most of all she showered them with love and acceptance. It took intervention for the young men to rise above their own adversity. Emanuel did not know how old he was because there had been no paper work left in the box. He also found the he was more than a deformed person. He found that he had great ability and worth. This leads me to say that perhaps what the society or a person thinks of his own worth is probably the most crucial factor in overcoming adversity.
Noted for his singing ability and song writing, Emanuel did not win the X-Factor Australia competition, but he continues to use his talents today.
Adversity is everywhere in varying degrees. We may be faced with it today or tomorrow…or have been in the past. Nevertheless, rising above whatever comes or has been is the only way to make meaning of life.
INTERVIEW WITH EMANUEL
Ahmed Kelly, Emanuel’s brother, at London Para-Olympics Finals…. swimming the breaststroke
Not often do we hear the talent that is so extraordinary as that of a 10-year-old, Jackie Evancho. She started to sing at age 7 when she began singing songs from The Phantom of the Opera. Although she did not win the competition on American’s Got Talent, she will certainly go on to receive great acclaim in the future. Enjoy the duet Jackie sings with Sarah Brightman.