Tag Archives: Austria

Christopher Plummer, Actor from ‘The Sound of Music,’ Dies at 91

The film version of The Sound of Music was released in 1965. When it was showing in Hong Kong, my childhood best friend who currently lives in London, saw it seven times.

When my daughter was in the second grade, she participated in the children’s theater and played the goat in The Sound of Music. I still have the costume made for her performance.

Fast forward to 2013 when Lynton and I took a trip to Austria, we went to Salzburg and Vienna. My daughter did her summer study in Salzburg and visited the movie site. Although it was not part of our itinerary to visit the movie site, the tour bus passed by the Von Trapp family home and I took a photo from distance.

When Christopher Plummer died yesterday, it brought back a lot of memories.

The story of Christopher Plummer

Christopher Plummer as Capt. Georg von Trapp in “The Sound of Music.” It was his best-known film, but for years he disparaged the role as an “empty carcass.”
Christopher Plummer as Captain von Trapp

The prolific and versatile Canadian-born actor, Christopher Plummer, who rose to celebrity as the romantic lead in perhaps the most popular movie musical of all time, won an Oscar, two Tonys and two Emmys. His performance as Captain von Trapp in one of the most popular movies propelled a steady half-century parade of television and film roles.

He died on Friday, February 5 at his home in Weston, Conn. He was 91. His wife, Elaine Taylor, said the cause was a blow to the head as a result of a fall.

The Sound of Music

The Sound of Music is a 1965 American musical drama film produced and directed by Robert Wise and starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer, an adaptation of the 1959 stage musical of the same name, composed by Richard Rodgers with lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II.  

The musical and the movie was generally based on the first section of Maria’s book The Story of the Trapp Family Singers published in 1949. There was interest from various quarters in buying the film rights. In 1955, the von Trapp family was strapped for money and Maria sold the rights to German movie producer Wolfgang Reinhardt for a flat $9,000.

She and her family would see no royalties from the two subsequent German films based on the von Trapp family’s adventures, or from the Broadway production of The Sound of Music, which ran for over three years, or from the film version, which has grossed around $300 million.

The Sound of Music – Edelweiss (Reprise)

 The Story of the von Trapp Family

Georg von Trapp, born in 1880, became a national hero as a captain in the Austrian navy during World War I. Georg von Trapp, born in 1880, became a national hero as a captain in the Austrian navy during World War I. They had seven children together. After World War I, Austria lost all of its seaports, and Georg retired from the navy. His wife died in 1922 of scarlet fever. Her death devastated the family and unable to bear living in a place where they had been so happy, Georg sold his property in Pola (now Pula, Croatia) and bought an estate in Salzburg.

Maria Augusta Kutschera was born in Vienna, Austria. She attended the State Teachers’ College of Progressive Education in Vienna. Soon after Maria graduated from college, and because of her religious awakening, she entered the Benedictine Abbey of Nonnberg in Salzburg as a novice. When Georg von Trapp approached the Reverend Mother of the Abbey seeking a teacher for his sick daughter, Maria was chosen. Maria tutored young Maria and developed a caring and loving relationship with all the children. She enjoyed singing with them and getting them involved in outdoor activities. During this time, Georg fell in love with Maria and asked her to stay with him and become a second mother to his children. Of his proposal, Maria said, “God must have made him word it that way because if he had only asked me to marry him. I might not have said yes.” Maria Kutschera and Georg von Trapp married in 1927. They had three children together.

The family lost most of its wealth through the worldwide depression when their bank failed in the early 1930s. Maria tightened belts all around by dismissing most of the servants and taking in boarders. It was around this time that they began considering making the family hobby of singing into a profession. As depicted in The Sound of Music, the family won first place in the Salzburg Music Festival in 1936 and became successful, singing Renaissance and Baroque music, madrigals, and folk songs all across Europe.

When the Nazis annexed Austria in 1938, the von Trapps realized they were on thin ice with a regime they abhorred. Georg not only refused to fly the Nazi flag on their house, but he also declined a naval command and a request to sing at Hitler’s birthday party. They also realized the Nazis’ anti-religious propaganda and policies, the pervasive fear that those around them could act as spies for the Nazis, and the brainwashing of children against their parents. They weighed staying in Austria and taking advantage of the enticements the Nazis were offering against leaving behind everything they knew. They decided they could not compromise their principles and left.

The family did not secretly escape over the Alps to freedom in Switzerland, carrying their suitcases and musical instruments. They left by train in June, pretending nothing, and traveled with their musical conductor to Italy, not Switzerland, later to London. By September, they were on a ship to New York to begin a concert tour in Pennsylvania. In the early 1940s the family settled in Stowe, Vermont, where they bought a farm. They ran a music camp on the property when they were not on tour. 

Georg died in 1947 and was buried in the family cemetery on the property.

Sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_Plummer

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/05/movies/christopher-plummer-dead

https://www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/2005/winter/von-trapps-html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trapp_Family

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georg_von_Trapp

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Sound_of_Music_(film)

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Silent Night – The Composition, The Story of WWI, and The Choir

Silent Night is one of my favorite Christmas Carols. I would like to review some of the stories behind this 202 years old popular Christmas music.

The Composition

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The Silent Night Chapel is located in Oberndorf dei Salzburg, Austria, where the song was first performed

“Silent Night” (German: Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht) is a popular Christmas Carol. The lyrics were written by Joseph Mohr in Salzburg, Austria. The melody was composed by Franz Xaver Gruber, schoolmaster and organist in the nearby village of Arnsdorf.

Before Christmas Eve, Mohr brought the words to Gruber and asked him to compose a melody and guitar accompaniment. The first performance of the carol was on December 24, 1818, in the Christmas Eve mass.

Over the years, because the original manuscript had been lost, Mohr’s name was forgotten and although Gruber was known to be the composer, many people assumed the melody was composed by a famous composer, and it was variously attributed to Haydn, Mozart, or Beethoven. However, a manuscript was discovered in 1995 in Mohr’s handwriting and dated by researchers as c. 1820. It states that Mohr wrote the words in 1816 when he was assigned to a pilgrim church in Mariapfarr, Austria, and shows that the music was composed by Gruber in 1818. This is the earliest manuscript that exists and the only one in Mohr’s handwriting. (Source)

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The Story of the World War I Christmas Truce of 1914 by Naina Bajekal

German and British troops celebrating Christmas together during a temporary cessation of WWI hostilities known as the Christmas Truce.
German and British troops celebrating Christmas together during a temporary cessation of WWI hostilities known as the Christmas Truce. Mansell—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

In 1914, just a few months into a war, Pope Benedict XV, who took office that September, had originally called for a Christmas truce, an idea that was officially rejected. Yet it seems the sheer misery of daily life in the cold, wet, dull trenches was enough to motivate troops to initiate the truce on their own…

It’s hard to pin down exactly what happened. A huge range of differing oral accounts, diary entries and letters home from those who took part make it virtually impossible to speak of a “typical” Christmas truce as it took place across the Western front… Nevertheless, some two-thirds of troops — about 100,000 people — are believed to have participated in the legendary truce…

Most accounts suggest the truce began with carol singing from the trenches on Christmas Eve, “a beautiful moonlit night, frost on the ground, white almost everywhere”, as Pvt. Albert Moren of the Second Queens Regiment recalled. Graham Williams of the Fifth London Rifle Brigade described it in even greater detail:

“First the Germans would sing one of their carols and then we would sing one of ours, until when we started up ‘O Come, All Ye Faithful’ the Germans immediately joined in singing the same hymn to the Latin words Adeste Fideles. And I thought, well, this is really a most extraordinary thing ­– two nations both singing the same carol in the middle of a war.”

The next morning, in some places, German soldiers emerged from their trenches, calling out “Merry Christmas” in English. Allied soldiers came out warily to greet them. In others, Germans held up signs reading “You no shoot, we no shoot.” Over the course of the day, troops exchanged gifts of cigarettes, food, buttons, and hats. The Christmas truce also allowed both sides to finally bury their dead comrades, whose bodies had lain for weeks on “no man’s land,” the ground between opposing trenches.

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I chose this arrangement of Silent Night performed by the Winchester Cathedral Choir on December 27, 2010

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Lens-Artists Challenge #90 – Distance

Tina looked at the “Social Distancing” and invited us to focus on DISTANCE this week as a challenge to serve as a reminder of its importance.

I grew up in a big city and now live in one. When we traveled, it amazed me to realize some people live in a great distance from each other. It made me think that these people do not have the convenience to access many things, things at our fingertips we take for granted. These people also don’t have the luxury or technology city people have. I asked myself why people choose to live in these locations and live in this lifestyle. “Are they happy?” Then the next question is, “What makes people happy?” I think people either have no choice or choose to be content wherever they are and however they live.

 

The first set of photos is the distance in the land.

“Distance not only gives nostalgia, but perspective, and maybe objectivity.”Robert Morgan

c21 Longleat 3

Longleat in Somerset, UK, is an English Stately home. The house is set in 1,000 acres of parkland with 4,000 acres of let farmland and 4,000 acres of woodland.

 “Ocean separates lands, not souls.” – Munia Khan

Four Miles Beach Port Douglas, AU

Four Mile Beach is considered the premier beach of Port Douglas, Australia, beginning at the northern rocky headland and continuing for four more miles without any buildings or construction interrupting the pristine views.

 “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.” – Helen Keller

Denali National Park, AL

Denali in Alaska is the highest mountain peak in North America, with a summit elevation of 20,310 feet (6,190 m) above sea level. With a topographic prominence (measures the height of a mountain or hill’s summit relative to the lowest contour line) of 20,156 feet (6,144 m) and topographic isolation ( the minimum great-circle distance to a point of equal elevation) of 4,629 miles (7,450 km).

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The next set of photos is our family practice of social distancing.

Because of the Covid-19, I canceled my flight to be with my daughter, Mercy, for the birth of her second daughter. I planned to be there to watch Autumn while she was in the hospital. They live close to Washington sate which is on the top three states with most Coronavirus cases and death. I live in California which is one of the three states among the top three. It was for the safety that I canceled the flight. If it were not for a dangerous situation, they could have friends volunteer to watch Autumn. Under these circumstances, on Sunday, March 22, my son-in-law was able to take my daughter to the hospital but not staying with her during her labor. They did video chats during her labor. After baby Nora was born, their friends watched Autumn in the afternoon so Will went to the hospital and held Nora in his arms. They continued to do video chats in the next two days. The hospital discharged my daughter on Tuesday. Baby Nora had the first check-up appointment on Thursday.

Mercy and I did video chats and sent video messages to each other. She set up a Tinybeans.com account for her older daughter Autumn. She also posted many photos of the family and Nora on that account. That is the account I don’t miss checking every day. I can’t get enough to look at the photos and videos again and again.

“Distance means so little when someone means so much.” – Tom McNeal

1. Mercy & daughters 3

Happy mother and daughters. I think Autumn read to Nora!!

“I exist in two places, here and where you are.” – Margaret Atwood

2. Autumn practices

Autumn practiced care for the baby in the car seat.

“Love knows not distance; it hath no continent; its eyes are for the stars.” – Gilbert Parker

4. Autumn & Nora

Autumn had Nora on her laps. She was very gentle with Nora.

Let’s do our part and keep social distancing. Stay safe!

 

Lens-Artists Challenge #90 – Distance

 

 

 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #81: Find Something Red

For this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge, Patti invited us to a photo scavenger hunt to find things that are red.

This scavenger hunt was harder than I thought. I found out that most of my photos don’t have too many red things. I’m glad to find some to share with you.

In early 2019 we went to my nephew’s wedding in Hong Kong. This is my granddaughter at the wedding cake cutting area outside of the banquet room.

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I captured this photo with the Royal Guard standing at the Tower of London.

2.Roral Guard at Tower of London

Mozarts Geburtshaus was the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in Salzburg, Austria. Mozart was born here on 27 January 1756. The Mozart family resided on the third floor from 1747 to 1773.

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This is the art exhibit at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, a science and technology museum in Portland, Oregon. The artist collected insects and small birds around the world and used them to create amazing art displays.

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This piece of artwork is by the same artist. Every tiny dot in this artwork is a real insect.

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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #81: Find Something Red

 

 

Lens-Artists Challenge #80 – Leading Lines

This week Tina introduced us the important rules in photography – the leading lines and illustrates with her fabulous photos and quotes.

Leading lines are my favorite compositions of photos. I included in this post some of my favorites as well as some quotes on leading lines.

 

“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” – T.S. Elliot

1.Maui

Maui Bamboo forest, Haleakala National Park, Maui, Hawaii

It was our fourth trip to Maui last year. We drove through the Road of Hana during the previous trips but not the last trip. I decided to go hiking and see the waterfalls. The Seven Sacred Pools is a beautiful series of pools at the base of waterfalls in the Oheo Gulch. This is on the ocean front part of Haleakala National Park on Maui, Hawaii.

There is a 2-mile trail (Pipiwai Trail) along the gulch that takes us past Makahiku Falls. Along the Pipiwai Trail is a majestic Maui bamboo forest. As far as our eyes can see, dense groupings of bamboo stalks are everywhere. The trail ends at the base of the 400-foot Waimoku Falls.

 

“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.” – Maria Robinson

2.Maui

The road leading to Haleakala National Park, Maui, Hawaii

We took this road to the Seven Sacred Pool, the same road leads us to the Road to Hana, but we didn’t go through the Road to Hana on this trip.

 

“Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” – Theodore Roosevelt

3.Yellowstone

Uncle Tom’s Trail, Yellowstone

My family and I hiked down then up the Uncle Tom’s Trail in Yellowstone.

 

“Make sure you visualize what you really want, not what someone else wants for you.” — Jerry Gillies

4.Alaska

Alaska Railroad between Anchorage and Denali Park

Hubby and I took the train back to Anchorage from Denali Park. The train stopped here for the north bound train to switch crews.

 

“You have to see failure as the beginning or middle but never entertain it as the end.” – Jessica Herrin

5.Bergisel ski jump stadium, Olympic site, Innsbruck, Austria

Bergisel Ski Jump stadium, Innsbruck, Austria

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Bergisel Ski Jump stadium, Innsbruck, Austria

The Bergisel Ski Jump stadium has a capacity of 26,000. It is a ski jumping hill located in Bergisel in Innsbruck, Austria. It was the Olympics site in 1964 and 1976. I climbed the steps to the top of the ski jump.

 

“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” Walt Disney

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Hiking trail leading to the Monkey Park, Kyoto, Japan

We visited Iwatayama Monkey Park in Arashiyama in Kyoto, Japan in January 2019. The Park is on top of this mountain. The hiking trail was quite steep to me and I had to slow down a few times to catch my breath while Hubby waited for me.

 

“You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.” Christopher Columbus

8.Huntington Beach

Huntington Beach, California

Huntington Beach is 23 miles from our home. It is less than an hour drive with traffic to get there. It’s our frequent place for outing or just going for walks.

 

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” — Arthur Ashe

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Kasuga-Taisha Shrine, Kyoto, Japan

While we were in Kyeto, Japan, after visiting the Nara Deer Park, we visited Kasuga-Taisha Shrine which is the most important Shinto shrine in Nara. More than just the shrine buildings, Kasuga-Taisha is a mysterious world of forest, pathways, lanterns and wandering deer.

 

“Travel makes one modest, you see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.” – Gustave Flaubert

 

10.tunnel to Eagle's Rock, Germany

Tunnel leading to Eagle’s Nest, Kehlsteinhaus, Germany

Bavarian Alps.Germany

Bavarian Alps, Germany

 

We visited the Eagle’s Nest at Kehlsteinhaus when we were in Germany. It is situated on a ridge atop the Kehlstein which is an 1,834 m (6,017 ft) sub-peak rising above the town of Berchtesgaden. The tour bus took us to a parking lot, we then walked through a 124 m (407 ft) tunnel leading to an ornate elevator that ascends 124 m (407 ft) to the building. We could see the spectacular view of Bavarian Alps, the most majestic mountain range with rivers and lakes at the foot of the enormous limestone.

 

 

Lens-Artists Challenge #80 – Leading Lines

 

 

 

 

 

Lens Artists Photo Challenge #79: A Window With A View

This week, Amy invites us to explore “A Window With A View” and asks us to share some photos we’ve captured through windows.

“Throw open your window and let the scenery of clouds and sky enter your room!” – Yosa Buson

Summer Palace, Beijing

Summer Palace, Beijing, China

Several years ago, nine people from our extended family traveled to China and Hong Kong. While in China, we visited Beijing, Xi’an and Guilin. This photo was the view from looking out the window of the Summer Palace.

 

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Great Wall, China

The tour guide took us to one entrance where some of us went to a steep side of the Great Wall and some went on the other side for a leisure walk. The Wall seems to go on forever from the view of the Wall window. As of Jul 31, 2019, the length of the Great Wall is 13,170 miles (21,196 kilometers).

 

“I feel that it is healthier to look out at the world through a window than through a mirror. Otherwise, all you see is yourself and whatever is behind you.” – Bill Withers

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I saw this beautiful design of a mirror at Laguna Beach, California where we visit often. After positioning myself several times, I found an angle to take this photo without seeing my reflection in the mirror.

 

“The window of opportunity opens and closes as fast as a camera’s shutter.” – Warren Criswell

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Alhambra, Granada, Spain

Hubby and I went to Spain three years ago for our anniversary. We visited Madrid, Toledo, Seville, Granada, Valencia and Barcelona in that order of our itinerary. I love the architecture in Spain.

Alhambra is the palace and fortress of the Moorish monarchs of Granada. The name Alhambra, signifying in Arabic “the red,” is probably derived from the reddish color of the tapia (rammed earth) of which the outer walls were built.

 

“My favorite journey is looking out the window.” – Edward Gorey

Innsbruck, Austria

Our hotel room in Innsbruck, Austria

Hubby enjoyed the view from our hotel room in Innsbruck, Austria.

When we travel, hubby likes to have a hotel room with a nice view. I argue that we don’t stay in the room long enough to enjoy the view. Eventually, I understand that we are not “on the go” all the time during the trip. A window with a nice view makes our stay pleasant.

 

Lens Artists Photo Challenge #79: A Window With A View

 

 

 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #10: Fences

The theme for Lens-Artists Photo Challenge this week is Fences. There are fences near and far, close to home and around the globe. Some fences are made with rod iron, wood, stones, cement, plants, flowers, lava rocks or a combination of the above. The functions of the fences are to be for prohibition, protection, security, divider, or beauty. In this post, I have included some examples of the forms and functions of the fences.

1.1 Cherry Blossom Japan

Cherry blossoms between the stone and wooden fences in Japan.

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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #9: Action

Action in the air, on the ridge of the high mountains, and in the depth of the ocean – a conservative description of my husband.

My husband is adventurous. He is a helicopter pilot. He keeps his pilot license active but doesn’t fly anymore because the air traffic in southern California is too busy. When he flew, he had a close call experience with a police helicopter. Helicopters are not within the control of Air Traffic Control and pilots must use their judgments.

My hubby rode dirt bikes, but he quit before he got married because I worried to death about his safety. He broke his wrist and ankle three weeks before our wedding. Walking down the aisle with a crutch was the decision, that’s part of life.

He is a diver. Diving was something he continued to do until the Key West trip in 2011. He dived in Aruba, Australia, Maui in Hawaii several times, North Carolina, southern California, and Key West in Florida.

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Synchronization and Balance in Music

In an orchestra, the musicians who play different instruments have their seating or standing positions in a certain order for the balance of the sound,  A Full Orchestra and a Symphony Orchestra have different seating orders.

When we were in Austria, we attended a Mozart / Strauss Concert. The music was played by a Symphony Orchestra. We enjoyed my favorite Waltz, The Blue Danube by Johann Strauss, Jr. and Mozart’s popular symphony.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Order

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