Dawn Pisturino's Blog

My Writing Journey

My Sweet Lord – George Harrison

(George Harrison. Photo from Grammy.com.)

George Harrison, guitarist and songwriter for The Beatles, died of cancer in Beverly Hills, California on November 29, 2001. He was only 58 years old.

(George Harrison sings “My Sweet Lord.”)
Tribute to George Harrison: Billy Preston sings “My Sweet Lord” with Eric Clapton, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, George’s son Dhani, and other Rock-n-Roll notables.
~Rest in Peace~

Dawn Pisturino

November 20, 2021

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“He Shall Feed His Flock” – Handel’s Messiah

I like to start out the holiday season by listening to Handel’s Messiah. Not only is the music powerful and majestic, with a wide variety of vocal ranges, but the lyrics and the music capture the essence of Jesus’ life and teachings. One of my favorite pieces is “He Shall Feed His Flock,” which is straight out of Matthew 11:28-29 and Isaiah 40:11 in the Bible. This Oratorio is a fine example of Baroque music that has endured for 280 years.

Performed by Swiss soprano Regula Muhlemann. From Handel’s Messiah.

Lyrics

He shall feed his flock like
A shepherd
And He shall gather
The lambs with his arm
With his arm

He shall feed his flock like
A shepherd
And He shall gather
The lambs with his arm
With his arm

And carry them in his bosom
And gently lead those
That are with young
And gently lead those
And gently lead those
That are with young

Come unto Him
All ye that labour
Come unto Him, ye
That are heavy laden
And He will give you rest

Come unto Him
All ye that labour
Come unto Him, ye
That are heavy laden
And He will give you rest

Take his yoke upon you
And learn of Him
For He is meek
And lowly of heart
And ye shall find rest
And ye shall find rest
Unto your souls

Take his yoke upon you
And learn of Him
For He is meek
And lowly of heart
And ye shall find rest
And ye shall find rest
Unto your souls

Source: Musixmatch

Scriptural text compiled by Charles Jennens.

Music by G.F. Handel, 1741.

Dawn Pisturino

November 6, 2021

Copyright 2021 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.


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Ride of the Valkyries

The Ride of the Valkyries is one of Richard Wagner’s most popular pieces. The music has been used as part of the soundtrack in Francis Ford Coppola’s movie, Apocalypse Now, included in Halloween music collections, and hailed as an anthem for strong, courageous women. Everybody loves the iconic image of hefty, solid women dressed in armor, ready to wage battle. The music is rousing, active, and elevating. And the scene, which marks the beginning of Act Three in the opera Die Walkure, appeals to people who appreciate the enduring legacy of Nordic and Teutonic mythology. It is the second opera in the four operas which make up the Der Ring des Nibelungen cycle (The Ring). Many people believe J.R.R. Tolkien derived The Lord of the Rings from Wagner’s Ring, but Tolkien always denied that idea. Still, the similarities cannot be ignored. Wagner’s ring is a symbol of complete and total power that can be wielded against others. Cursed by Alberich, it becomes the cause of all the misery in the world. Sound familiar?

But who and what are the Valkyries?

In Norse mythology, the Valkyries were warrior goddesses associated with the god Odin. Their primary function was to bring back the bodies of slain heroes to Valhalla, where they would feast with Odin. They were called the Einherjar. Some were chosen to fight with Odin at the end of the world, during Ragnarok.

Wagner uses Teutonic mythology in his opera. The Valkyries were the daughters of Wotan who chose which heroes would be slain and then transported their bodies to the halls of Valhalla. Wotan’s daughter, Brunnhilde, embodies the qualities of courage, strength, wisdom, and precognition. It is her sacrifice which finally destroys the cruel, omnipotent power of the ring and saves the world.

The Ride of the Valkyries, from the Metropolitan Opera 2012 production. Enjoy!

Dawn Pisturino

October 4, 2021

Copyright 2021 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

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From Movie Score to Jazz Standard: “Stella by Starlight”

The Uninvited was released by Paramount in 1944 as a classic ghost story based on the novel and play by Dorothy Macardle. If you like ghost stories, this movie is for you! The movie contains all the elements of a good ghost story – the abandoned mansion, windswept and crumbling, built on the edge of a steep cliff overlooking a raging sea; the beautiful young girl haunted by her past; the handsome young musician determined to save her; and a family mystery involving adultery and murder.

Stella by Starlight was written by Victor Young as a serenade for the movie. The original score reflects the plot of the movie: the developing romance between Milland and Russell; the mounting tension between the ghosts and the tenants of the old house; and the dark, moody character of the rugged Cornish coast. The serenade became a hit, drawing movie goers everywhere. Two years later, Ned Washington added lyrics and turned it into a jazz standard that is still popular today. It has been performed by such greats as Frank Sinatra, Miles Davis, John Williams, and Liberace. No fake book would be without it.

Liberace performing a stylized version:

Jazz version by Miles Davis:

Enjoy the relaxing mood of Stella by Starlight!

Dawn Pisturino

September 20, 2021

Copyright 2021 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

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Rachmaninoff – Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor, Opus 18

Exquisitely performed by Anna Fedorova, virtuoso concert pianist.

Sublime! Absolutely divine! The angelic nature of this piece brings me to tears.

Rachmaninoff’s “Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor, Opus 18” is so beautiful and beyond the ordinary, it is hard to believe that he wrote this piece in the lowest point of his life. As lovely as this piece sounds, he suffered terribly from depression after his “First Symphony” was rejected by the public in 1897. Distraught, he could not compose another piece of music for three years.

In order to regain his self-esteem, Rachmaninoff began to work with Russian neurologist Dr. Nicolai Dahl. Through hypnosis and positive suggestion therapy, Rachmaninoff recovered, wrote his exquisite concerto, and dedicated it to Dr. Dahl in gratitude. We should all be eternally grateful to Dr. Dahl and the great gift of music that he inspired!

The concerto premiered in Moscow on November 9, 1901 to rave reviews. The composer won a Glinka Award in 1904. Rachmaninoff’s career as a pianist and composer was assured for the rest of his life.

Like composer Franz Liszt, Sergei Rachmaninoff had big hands which allowed him to compose and perform complicated pieces. Only experienced and accomplished pianists can easily perform “Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor, Opus 18.”

Rachmaninoff, who was born in 1873, was heavily influenced in his music by the Russian Orthodox Church. The simulation of bells can often be heard in his work, including the beginning notes of “Piano Concerto No. 2.,” which almost sounds like a death knell.

After the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, Rachmaninoff was forced to flee to the United States as a political refugee. His music was considered “too bourgeois” for Bolshevik tastes. He is considered the last composer/pianist from the Russian Romanticism Movement.

He died in Beverly Hills, California in 1943 after a successful career in America, where his musical talent was highly valued.

Dawn Pisturino

September 16, 2021

Copyright 2021 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

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Edvard Grieg – Piano Concerto in A Minor, Opus 16

Performed by Arthur Rubenstein, my favorite virtuoso pianist.

Edvard Grieg (1843-1907) was a Norwegian virtuoso pianist and composer. During his lifetime, German composers were the ideal model for musical composition. But Grieg, inspired by the vast natural beauty of his own country, wanted to compose music that was uniquely Norwegian. From my perspective, he achieved his dream in “Piano Concerto in A Minor, Opus 16.”

The music is uplifting and sweeping. It is easy to see the green mountains and sparkling fjords of Norway in your own mind. Grieg’s passion for nature comes rippling through the notes, causing your mind and heart to drift away into another world. Whatever tensions you might be feeling just float away. Beauty and serenity fill your soul. This composition is a sensual experience that you don’t want to leave.

Rachmaninoff claimed to be entranced by Grieg’s concerto and used it as inspiration for his own “Piano Concerto No. 1.”

May Grieg’s music and Rubenstein’s performance inspire you!

Dawn Pisturino, BSNH,RN

September 14, 2021

Copyright 2021 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

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Liebestraum – Franz Liszt

Franz Liszt (1811-1886) was born in Raiding, Hungary. As a virtuoso concert pianist, he toured all over Europe. From 1835 to 1839, he lived with his lover and patroness, Comtesse d’Agoult. They had three children. In 1847, he met and fell in love with Princess Carolyne zu Sayne-Wittgenstein and lived with her until his death. Liszt was a contemporary of such illustrious composers as Richard Wagner and Edvard Grieg. His compositions are distinguished by a romantic, dreamy quality that evokes great feelings of passion and idealized Love. Liebestraum No. 3 (Dream of Love) is one of his most memorable favorites. I have personally loved this piece since I was a teenager.

Dawn Pisturino

September 1, 2021

Copyright 2021 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

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unSUNg “Perceptual Mishmash” video benefit concert

My daughter, Ariel Pisturino, is the Artistic Director, as well as a performer, in the new unSUNg video benefit concert series. Click on the link to listen to this amazing group of musical artists, performing new and forgotten musical masterpieces.

(The link has expired.)

All donations benefit Water Warriors United, a group of dedicated Navajos who transport water supplies to the disabled and elderly on the Navajo reservation in Arizona and New Mexico. Visit their website at:

http://www.collectivemedicine.net

Enjoy!

Dawn Pisturino

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Yankee Doodle Dandy

Yankee Doodle Dandy

For Independence Day, I watched the 1942 musical “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” starring James Cagney, Joan Leslie, and Walter Huston. Cagney plays George M. Cohan, the famous vaudeville composer, writer, and entertainer. He was known as “The Man who Owned Broadway” and wrote many popular songs that are still known today. During World War II, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt presented Cohan with a Congressional Gold Medal for his contributions to America.

Songs by George M. Cohan:

Yankee Doodle Boy

(watch on YouTube: https://youtu.be/EKeYS1P9j1c )

You’re a Grand Old Flag

(watch on YouTube: https://youtu.be/lxyt1Vt5ejY )

Happy Fourth of July! Happy Birthday, America!

 

Dawn Pisturino

7/4/2017

Copyright 2017 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

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Be an Independent Thinker!

the-thinker

The Thinker by Rodin

In a world bombarded by information, where are the independent thinkers?

Where do the fresh, untarnished minds hang out?

Where does ORIGINALITY rear its beautiful head?

In a world deafened by conformity instead of individuality, the imaginative Creators of art, music, literature, and science are silenced under the dull roar of sameness, mediocrity, and

group think.

I will not be hampered by intimidation!

I will not be silenced by coercion!

I will not bow down to threats!

I will rise above the mundane crowd and be, above all,

AN INDEPENDENT THINKER!

Dawn Pisturino

February 7, 2017

Copyright 2017 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

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