Songs into Stories

Several times, the right music has turned into a story or scene in a book. This can be good or bad depending on when I encounter that piece of music again.  Case in point was a few weeks ago, when a chorus I sing with began looking at music for Memorial Day.  One of the selections is “Hymn to the Fallen” by John Williams, from the film Saving Private Ryan.  The lyrics and melody are not difficult.  The problem is: I wrote a key scene in A Cat at Bay to that piece the first time I sang it several years ago.

From that point on when I hear the opening notes, I see Rada Ni Drako trying to die.  Not the greatest thing when you are laboring to memorize something that has no words to help you pin it to the notes.

Another time, the piece triggered an entire story and more.  I found the “Concierto de Aranjuez” by Rodrigo. The first time I heard it was several years ago (I was looking for something else [“Recuerdos de la Alhambra”] on YouTube and found this). After two listen-throughs (and buying an album) I ended up writing a story set in Granada and the Alhambra, with Commander Ni Drako and Joschka walking through the gardens one evening at sunset and . . . well, it is in the next-but-one Cat book.

That story changed the entire direction of the Cat series, I might add. Joschka was not supposed to do that. So then I had to go back and fill in a lot of story, which is mostly in the next book (late June release I hope).

For the most recently written Colplatschki book, I ended up leaning heavily on Russian Orthodox music and the opera Boris Godunov. Peter Romanov had an excellent bass voice and would join in the choir whenever possible (who was going to say no?). That’s an important facet of the main character in Forcing the Spring, although he uses music for something else as well.

The current Colplatschki WIP? Well, it started with an album of Alan Hovhannes, The Female Astronaut, and the instrumental side of Nightwish’s Endless Forms Most Beautiful. Your guess is as good as mine where it will go.

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