Thursday, July 31, 2014

Passion and Classical Music


You may have heard me say this before, but I grew up … many decades ago … in a home where classical music was often heard. My parents had a large collection of recordings which continued to grow. It began with orchestral music, primarily, and eventually included music from ballets (much by Tchaikovsky), piano music … both solo and with orchestra, and my contribution was the opera that I discovered by hearing a Met Opera broadcast when I was thirteen. My dad played trumpet, and he played everything from jazz to big band to marches to classical.

During the “golden age of films” … I guess prior to television becoming so much part of our culture … there were a number of films made about the lives of classical musicians, primarily composers. I recall a film about Rimsky-Korsakov, and one about Robert and Clara Schumann. I recall a film about a woman who has to choose between her love for a classical pianist and a classical violinist (Rhapsody, starring the stunningly beautiful Elizabeth Taylor).

The most recent film about a composer was the very excellent Immortal Beloved, in which Gary Oldman gave to my mind a stunning performance as the fascinating composer. He had quite a life. That was twenty years ago. Through that film, people heard the performances of a great classical pianist, Murray Perahia.

They heard works of the composer who, my late husband liked to say, “left the classical era in a cloud of dust.” Beethoven’s work was epic, and he opened many doors for generations of composers to come.

I wish there were some way to introduce the beauty of classical music to more people. I try to do that in my novel Eli’s Heart, by describing the music that is so meaningful to my two young people who love each other so much, Eli and Krissy. In the book, Eli has an opportunity to provide music for a film sound track. It was great fun to write that part of the story. 

Eli and Krissy are denizens of the last century, though, and realistically I wonder if and when another such film will make it to the movie theaters. It’s very sad. Most people have no inkling how much passion there is in classical music. Henri Duparc wrote some of the most suggestively sensual songs imaginable, not through the lyrics, but through the incredibly gorgeous music. Krissy comments on one of those songs the morning after her wedding night. She and Eli are very passionate. Duparc’s song “Extase” unabashedly describes the wonderful act of lovemaking which Krissy has just experienced for the first time.

Yes, this is a shameful self-promotion for Eli’s Heart, because I love the book and people who read it tell me they do as well. Right now … I mean right now, as in today, July 31, 2014 only … the Kindle version of the book is on sale for $.99. You read that correctly. Tomorrow, August 1, it will be on sale for $1.99, and the following day for $2.99.  

Listen to some classical music, folks. You might be very surprised by how it moves you. It can be thrilling, passionate, soothing, ethereal, and altogether wonderful.