Music plays a key role in my new novel.
The main character, Julia, is a pianist – a lapsed one. Doubting her talent and her ability to stay the course, she gives up her studies at the Royal College and gets married. Some years later, with a nine-year-old son and settled provincial life, she’s still playing, but for an audience of one. That’s when we meet her.
Debussy’s La cathédrale engloutie is a powerful point of connection when she meets Dougie, the man who will become her lover. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NsdIkUSjX
After their affair begins, Dougie introduces Julia to jazz. The piece he plays for her is Tea for Two by Art Tatum (1933), a dazzling display of virtuoso piano-playing and my favourite in the book. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KxadblDT6zI
I’m not going to tell the rest of the story in music, for fear of spoiling the plot. But here are other pieces that feature:
‘Begin the Beguine’ – a lovely version by Artie Shaw and his Orchestra (1938). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pCXVxE_YeP4
Chopin’s ‘Raindrop Prelude’ – I have wonderful memories of my daughter playing this on the piano that used to live in our hall. Here it’s played by Horowitz. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J_6APTb3RNQ
‘Stardust’ by Hoagy Carmichael, my mother’s favourite. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Em3xyZz_mow
‘Melancholy Baby’, in this version sung by Al Bowlly, who was killed in an air raid. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6-ZHpkJfRpM
Rachmaninov – an unspecified piece in the novel, but we might as well imagine it’s the theme to Brief Encounter. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mk8UYa28eMw
Mozart’s Piano Concerto no. 17 in G, played by Myra Hess, seen and heard here in a short clip from Listen to Britain. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1b0gnbB8sPU
‘Thing-ummy-bob’ – glorious innuendo, sung by Our Gracie. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2xrfbKTG_xE
There’s no link for ‘Asymmetries’ by Bernard (I never got round to giving him a last name, but let’s say it’s ‘Heath’) because Bernard and his music are made up.
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