Friday, March 24, 2017

Music in my books...Not

I was just thinking how curious it is that there's hardly any mention of music in my four published books: the two most recent ones: The Disenchanted Wizard and The Blood Secret don't even mention the subject; there's one brief mention of it in Grimhilda!, and three passing ones in Diary of a Prostate Wimp. This is surprising to me, now, because music is as much a part of my life as writing. I've played piano for more than sixty years, and been involved in a lot of amateur shows as well as accompanying soloists in competitions and concerts. I was even a professional musician for a couple of years.

The old journal from the 90s that I'm typing onto the computer, however, has lots of references to the music work I was doing at the time, sometimes quite long sections, as when I was describing a trip to Wellington with the St Kilda Brass Band, where I not only accompanied some of the soloists in the solo competitions, but also played a percussion instrument in the full band's competitions.

Plainly, in the next book I write - if there is one - I'll have to be include music a good deal more, to make up for the lack of it elsewhere in my writing.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay
I'm more of a old-school pianist, and play classics and popular music from the earlier part of the 20th century in preference to more recent stuff. (So I don't have much interest in bass guitars at But one of the teachers I play for about once a month has introduced me to more recent popular music, from shows I'd never heard of until I came to play a piece from them (such as Matilda). My education is sadly lacking in knowing what shows are current on the big stages these days, or what movies appeal to kids so much that they have to sing the songs from them. (Moana and Frozen, for example.)

Anyway, it's good to learn new things, and to contend with the trickier rhythms in these 21st century songs. Talking of new things, I'm working hard to learn how to play the vocal score of a new opera that's going to be performed here in Dunedin, in July. It's called War Hero, with music composed by John Drummond, who's written a number of short and full-length operas, several of which have been performed here, and even had their premieres here. This will be the premiere of War Hero as well.

It has an all male cast, which is probably not surprising, since it's set in the First World War, and it deals with the well-known pacifist, Archibald Baxter, and the virtual torture he went through because of his beliefs. I think it'll be a powerful piece on stage. The music isn't too difficult, now that I'm getting the harmonic world into my head. But it doesn't take concentration!

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