Topliff releases new ‘Hopes and Wishes’A simple line from a living will form inspired Minnesotan musician Neal Topliff’s eighth solo piano CD title, “My Hopes and Wishes.”
By: Stacy Bengs, The Republican Eagle
A simple line from a living will form inspired Minnesotan musician Neal Topliff’s eighth solo piano CD title, “My Hopes and Wishes.”
Faced with challenges both physical and emotional, Topliff found strength to create a collection of pieces surrounding challenging times.
A majority of the songs were composed within the last six months after Topliff was battling his own life. Last October he found himself in the hospital with severe abdominal pains, later diagnosed as diverticulitis. The disease caused a pin-hole rupture in his intestine.
“While in the hospital, I had my wife, Beth, bring me my notes on the songs that I had been writing,” Topliff said, “I decided this was a good time to work on the titles.”
At one point, the chaplain at the hospital brought in a living will form for him to look at and across the top was written, “My Hopes and Wishes.”
“I still didn’t have a title for the CD itself,” Topliff said, “but it was that ray-of-light moment I needed.”
Three songs honor family friends who were dealing with the loss of their loved ones. “I dedicated the CD to them,” Topliff said.
A small dedication tops the album’s insert with special thanks to loved ones, family members and friends.
The CD exterior showcases a new medium with locally recognized photographer Sandra Borgen’s image of a sparrow silhouetted against an iced branch.
“Her picture on this new CD was exactly what Beth and I wanted for the cover, Topliff said.
Having written six complete CDs since his move to Red Wing in 2001, Topliff has visually embedded local ties into his final work through album artwork.
“Writing my music locally has allowed me to meet other artists,” he said, “who have been very inspirational and contributed to my projects.”
Red Wing artist Art Kenyon’s painting have been used for three albums including, “Up North,” “The Water’s Edge” and “Northwoods Retreat.”
Topliff best describes his latest release with a message built from the CD titles themselves.
“We all have ‘Hopes and Wishes’ for ourselves and our loved ones. We look both forward and into the past to ‘Better Days’ when we are going through a dark time in our lives. When we fall short of a goal or seem to be stuck, we pray for ‘Another Chance.’ As we get older, we realize that things don’t always happen when we want them to, but ‘In God’s Time,’ all things come to pass eventually,” he said.
“We also learn that in order to move forward in life it is necessary to ‘Leave The Past Behind.’ As to why people die before they should, only ‘Heaven Knows.’ If you’re feeling depressed about life, it’s important that you ‘Count Your Blessings’ and look for the good in every situation,” he added.
He acknowledges that at some point in life, everyone comes to “A Fork In The Road.” He hopes people take the correct path.
“I pray that when I am in transition between this world and the next, that God will ‘Lead Me Home.’ Try to remember that ‘You Never Know What Life Will Bring’ but it goes a whole lot better if you ‘Have A Little Faith,’” he concluded.
“Hopes and Wishes” is available at Best of Times Bookstore, Kiki’s Simple Abundance, Red Wing Arts Association, Red Wing Confectionary, Marita’s, Loons and Ladyslippers and Red Wing Stoneware.