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|Road to Perdition, the movie with my favourite classical soundtrack.|
Unfortunately, as I have nowhere to travel to for once, I’m in one of the few places in Britain that isn’t covered with snow. It’s dreary outside, but at least it isn’t raining like yesterday. As Bill Bryson emphasises in Notes From a Small Island, there is always a way to be positive when discussing English weather. I’m spending today reading university texts, with special attention on American Notes by Charles Dickens and Martín Fierro by José Hernández. I’m particularly enjoying the former.
Perhaps because of the dreary weather, or alternatively due to my abundance of uni reading, this post won’t be entirely literary. Instead, I’m talking about music: the classical variety. To start the post on a literature-related note, Haruki Murakami – a lover of classical music – has been featured a great deal in the blogosphere this month, due to his turning 64. As nerdy entertainment, Random House once created this interesting link which lists all of the classical pieces referred to in his fiction. From the top of my head, I could recall Leoš Janáček’s Sinfonietta being mentioned a great deal in 1Q84 (this isn’t mentioned on the Random House link, probably because the novel is more recent), alongside Bach in Norwegian Wood. Music is such an integral part of Murakami’s novels, and by listening to the pieces mentioned you can often understand the layering of the plot so much more.
Then there’s Tolstoy’s The Kreutzer Sonata, inspired by the elemental drive of Beethoven’s violin and piano sonata of the same title, and Corelli’s “Heil Puccini” in the music-centred Captain Corelli’s Mandolin. The list could go on and on, to Proust, Turgenev, and my recently read The Garden of Evening Mists. All of these novellists and novels attempt to capture the intangible power of music in writing, and I’d say that they all succeed to some degree or other. The link between music and literature is so interesting, and I could think about it a great deal.
I frequently end up listening to this when I’m feeling slightly down, which perhaps isn’t the best of ideas. It’s a very melancholy, mournful song, with something devastating about it. I wonder what Chopin had on his mind at the time.
“I have no idea to this day what those two Italian ladies were singing about. […] I’d like to think they were singing about something so beautiful it can’t be expressed in words, and it makes your heart ache because of it.”