Showing posts with label von Trapp. Show all posts
Showing posts with label von Trapp. Show all posts

Friday, July 4, 2014

Favorite Things Friday || When You Read You Begin With A B C:VonTrappSeries Part 4 (Final)

Happy Independence Day!
Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD... Psalm 33:12a

Today, it's raining. A very welcome blessing after a hot and humid week. My cold is getting better too! 

In the 3 previous posts of the von Trapp Series I've posted about the German language, my own appreciation (obsession ;)) with all things Sound of Music, and the genesis of the 1965 film from book to German movie to Broadway play, to American movie. I hope you've found something interesting in each post. 

Today, I want to talk about the books written by Maria Augusta Trapp. Here is a link to a list of her books on

The first book of her's that I ever read was Maria, which is an autobiography of her life starting with her birth on a train headed to Vienna up until living in Stowe, VT in 1972. Throughout the book when certain subjects and stories are mentioned you will see "You can read more about this in The Story of the Trapp Family Singers." (Or whichever book of hers the story is told in more detail.)  

I think Maria, though not the first book Maria von Trapp wrote, is an excellent one to start with because it covers her life from the very start. Her style of writing is so easy to read and she has the most wonderful sense of humor! I think a lot of her funny stories are told in The Story of the Trapp Family Singers. This is the book that contains many of the events which are portrayed in The Sound of Music, though the book does differ from the movie quite a bit but it is SO enjoyable to read what this family was really like!  This was the first book she wrote but is great to read second.

The best book to read third in my opinion is A Family on Wheels: Further Adventures of the Trapp Family Singers. It is so much fun to read not just about Austria and America, but about the worldwide concert tours of the Trapp Family Singers. I love reading about Maria's persistence to get permission to sing for a leper colony. 

Fourth and fifth can be bought as two books in one. Yesterday, Today, and Forever and When the King was Carpenter.  Yesterday, Today, and Forever begins with the von Trapps as refugees from Austria and the children (many of them were actually quite grown by the time the von Trapp's immigrated to the US) asking questions about Bethlehem and Jesus. Maria begins to compare fleeing Austria with 9 children to how it must've felt for Joseph and Mary  to go from Bethlehem and live in Egypt when Herod declared that all male babies in Bethlehem were to be killed.

When the King was Carpenter is also a very interesting books in which Maria shares what she has learned in research on Jewish customs and daily life and  really paints pictures with her words describing how Jesus would have lived from infancy to age 30. It is very interesting and so wonderfully written and full of details! I've been trying to get my family to read it but have been unsuccessful so far. I think they assume I love it so much because it's written by Maria von Trapp, but it is such an interesting and informative book!

I really hope this post has piqued someone's interest into finding out about the real von Trapp family, and not just the group of children put together by casting directors. 

Here is a little example of Maria's sense of humor that I mentioned earlier. This is an excerpt from The Story of the Trapp Family Singers.

 -Pages 94 and 95, Maria describes a very funny ordeal with her nurse, Sister Agrosia, in a Vienna Hospital while recovering from a kidney stone operation. She wanted pets to keep her company while she laid on her back for a few weeks, and had to get rid of three chicks, which her husband replaced with a little turtle.-

          "Sister Agrosia was a saintly nun with only one fault: In her childlike innocence she believed every word I said, however silly my stories might be.  She had stirred up in me the urge to find out to what depths her trustfulness would go, which made my stories sillier each day, and still I hadn't reached the limit of her credulity.
          When it became evident that Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar had to be taken to greener pastures, Georg went to a pet shop and came back radiant.
          "Look what I got you!" and he put a little turtle on my bed. At this very moment Sister Agrosia came into the room.
          "Oh," she said, "what is that?" looking curiously at something she had never seen before in her life.
           Truthfully I answered: "That is a turtle, Sister."
          "A turtle, what is a turtle?" she wanted to know.
           That was bad, all my evil instincts were at work.
          "A turtle is an animal which feeds on the toes of newborn babies," I said looking straight into her eyes.
           This she can't believe, I thought to myself. But I was mistaken.
          "Oh, oh!" Sister said, and looked with horror at the little brown lump on my blanket. "But we'll have to be very careful and keep the door shut."
           I had been given the only vacant room in the whole house, which happened to be right next to the maternity ward, babies being born constantly all around me.
           Cruelly I answered: "That won't help any, Sister, because a turtle can make itself flat like a sheet of paper, crawl under the door and blow itself up outside again."
           Sadly I must confess I was not a bit ashamed of myself at that moment, nor was I the next morning when I heard from eyewitnesses that Sister Agrosia had been seen sitting on a chair outside my door with a stick in her hand while the little turtle slept peacefully on my chest.
           During the next days I did my best to break the spell. I assured Sister Agrosia that I had been mistaken. This was not the wild type of turtle, but a tame one, living on turtle feed."

Friday, June 20, 2014

Favorite Things Friday || Something Good: Von Trapp Series Part 3

So far In this series I've written about my, hmm, appreciation I guess, of the German language and about my own personal history involving The Sound of Music. This week I think I'll go back about thirty or forty years for last weeks post and talk about the 1965 film of The Sound of Music and how it came to exist.

A lot of people who have seen The Sound of Music film know that it was based off of the 1959 Broadway musical of the same name. There are differences between the two, many of which I mentioned in my four part review of NBC’s recent telecast of The Sound of Music Live starring Carrie Underwood.

The major difference is song order. Mainly, My Favorite Things and Lonely Goatherd. In the play Reverend Mother sings My Favorite Things with Maria before she leaves for the von Trapps and Maria sings Lonely Goatherd to the children during the Thunderstorm. There are also a couple of songs from the Broadway show that were not included in the film and a couple of songs included in the film that were not in the play. The songs from the film are I Have Confidence and Something Good. 

Oscar Hammerstein died in 1960, about 4 years before film production began. When they scored (placed the songs in) the film there were a couple of spots where it was felt new songs were needed so Richard Rodgers wrote both the music and lyrics for I Have Confidence and Something Good. 

In 1956, nine years before the film and three before the play, a German studio released Die Trapp Familie followed by Die Trapp Familie in Amerika (1958) which is the original work based on Maria von Trapp's book The Story of the Trapp Family Singers. The German films cover events in the von Trapps lives from Maria leaving the abbey, similar to the 1965 film, and then all the way up through the family leaving Austria, being detained on Ellis Island, and up to purchasing a house in Vermont.  I have only seen the very condensed American version of the film, dubbed in English and entitled The Trapp Family. This was actually the film Mary Martin had seen when she approached Rodgers and Hammerstein with the idea of making a musical play about the lives of the von Trapp Family Singers.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Favorite Things Friday || Do - Re - Mi...or, um, Me?: Von Trapp Series Part 2

have been having trouble deciding how exactly  to approach this second part. So, we'll see how this turns out.

Let me take you back in time, not to January 26, 1905 when a baby named Maria Kutschera was born, not to Salzburg, Austria in "The Last Golden Days of the 30s” where director Robert Wise transports people every time they watch his film. Let me take you to the early 90s in my grandmother's living room. I sat on her blue carpet and stared at the television as scenes of the Austrian Alps panned across the screen and birds chirped. My three year old self was mesmerized for the full two and a half hours! 

By age four I was so in love with the movie that my family decided to go camping in Stowe, Vermont and visit the Trapp Family Lodge gift shop while we were there. That was when I found out the von Trapps were a real family. I didn't know much about this real family. I assumed it was the family from the movie. Of course I didn't know what Austria was either, so I assumed they filmed the movie in Vermont. While looking out my car window at the mountains, trees, and streams I announced from my booster seat, "I can see where they made the start of the movie!" I still remember my parents laughing! 

My supposedly childhood obsession went so far that I argued with my mother to let me wear a gray (and pink) jumper dress to get family pictures taken because I thought it looked like the sailor outfits that the children wear in the movie!

Well, after four I turned five, and was "practically a lady." Still watching the movie whenever I visited my grandmother. During the wedding scene I would rush to the guest bedroom and grab a vase of plastic daisies for my bouquet and placed the doily they sat on onto the top of my head. 

Age six I tried to read Maria by Maria von Trapp. It was too difficult for me to understand then, but I think I finally read it through around age 12. I received as gifts over the years a Maria von Trapp Barbie, the cassette tape soundtrack, and years later the CD. In the course of about 10 years I got the two video cassette version of the movie twice, after losing one of the tape from each set I was given the  digitally remastered film on one cassette tape. Later on the picture started to jump on the concert scene because the tape was getting so worn out. In 2005 I bought the 40th Anniversary DVD. Not to mention the the vinyl record soundtrack and numerous books and biographies I have all relating to the film!

Eventually I finally turned "Sixteen Going on Seventeen." It seemed like I had waited forever for that to happen. It was so memorable when it finally did. I was in the chorus of the play play Hello Dolly at my high school and hadn't been feeling well all day. I rested on a couch in the green room while the overture started and debated whether or not I should go on stage. At the last minute I rushed out and found my mark in the dark just as the curtain was opening! I had a headache and the lights only made it worse. Plus, I was sweating way more than what the stage lights usually made me sweat. I made it to the intermission and went home. I had a fever and the next morning I woke up with pink eye! Such a gross but memorable sixteenth birthday! 

Sometime in 2008 I had a pretty exciting day pertaining my Sound of Music fandom. I actually got to meet Julie Andrews! I went to Boston because she was going to be doing a book signing of her autobiography. I purchased the book, found the room where the book signing would be held and then was told I needed to have a ticket and they had already given away all three hundred. I was so disappointed and my mother was annoyed that they failed to mention that detail on the website. 

We struck up a conversation with another girl in the same situation as me and somehow we found out that two books could be signed per ticket. Normally I'm pretty shy and quiet but I started weaving back and forth between bookshelves calling out, "Is anyone getting just one book signed?" I found two women who were friends, each had a ticket and just one book! I asked if I could run and get the girl I'd been talking to and share a ticket with her. They were more than happy to share a ticket with us!!! 

I waited in line as it slowly moved closer and closer to the table where Julie Andrews was signing each book. Finally I was there. I had no idea what to say. Suddenly I heard myself telling Julie Andrews that I saw the Sound of Music for the first time at age three. She said, "Three?!" I also mentioned that I wanted to major in Musical Theatre in college. Then, I asked if I could give her a hug. (I had sort of made this deal with myself a few years before that whenever I was able to meet any classic film, or music stars that I would ask for a hug.) Julie Andrews replied with, "Well, I have all these people..." So I quickly asked, "could I shake your hand then." She smiled and put her hand out. Then she leaned back in her chair and looked at the man standing beside her and asked, "Doesn't she look like Annie Hathaway?" I covered my hand with my mouth in surprise and said, "A lot of people have told me that!" She smiled and that was it, we were moved on through the line. It was such a fun moment!

Well, I guess that's it for my personal Sound of Music related stories. Sorry it took a couple of days to get this post up. I had expected to post it yesterday but was a little preoccupied with a stray kitten that decided to visit on Saturday. We took her in for the night and brought her to the shelter today. She is such a beautiful cat!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Favorite Things Friday || Deutsch: Von Trapp Series Part 1

Welcome to a new series to be oh so appropriately posted on Fridays for this month! (I know, my last series was about The Sound of Music play. This is fairly different. It really is one of my favorite things!

 Last week, in the comments I was dubbed a Sound of Music nerd. I take that as a compliment. I saw the movie for the first time when I was about three years old. I have seen the Sound of Music probably hundreds, if not thousands, of times since then, and watched it twice last month. I even got to meet Julie Andrews once! My interest delves much further than the film. I have quite a few of the books written by Maria von Trapp. I also have a book by Agathe von Trapp (The eldest daughter of the 7). Well, anyway, you get the idea. 

While I'm not exactly starting at the very beginning with this post, I'll be starting with a relatively general subject. The German language. No, I don't speak it fluently, though I would love to! What I have learned is mainly from von Trapp related things. From "fräulein" and "auf wiedersehen" in  the Sound of Music to portions of the poem Der Lindenbaum which is sung in Die Trapp Familie, the 1956 German movie that the Broadway play was based on. Of course, I learned Silent Night in German too!

Other German words I know I have learned from a 1912 book I have called "Writing and Speaking German by Paul R. Pope. I'm sure some elements of the language have changed in the past 100 years, but I don't plan on visiting any German seeking countries and trying what I've taught myself anytime soon. I just love the sound of the language. In fact, I wanted to take German in high school but all they offered was French, Spanish, and Latin. I took three years of French then one year of Latin. I sort of wish I had taken four years of Latin. Anyway...

These old books are little treasures on my shelf. The two others, Storm's in St. Jürgen (Storm is the authors last name) and Fulda's Unter Vier Augen, Benedix's  Der Prozess published in 1901 and 1902, respectively. Storm's is, I think, a famous poem and the other book is a couple of plays. The books were used for a German course. There is a German to English glossary in the back of each. Even though I can only understand a few words on each page, there are many words I can make out the pronunciation of, even if I'm not sure what they actually mean. The printing is so pretty. I hope to learn a little more German someday, but for now it's nice to have these old books to look at in my spare time.

What languages do you speak? 
Have you ever been inspired to learn something new because of a favorite book or movie?