Below is the official playlist for The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence. Enjoy and happy listening!
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Welcome to the sixth installment of my blog series that I’m calling Story & Song. Each post will feature two pieces of music: a modern/contemporary song from the playlist of The Violinist of Venice, and a piece of Vivaldi’s music that features in the novel. I’ll describe how both pieces fit into the story with a minimum of spoilers!
Within Temptation – “Forgiven”
This lovely ballad goes with Chapter 68, which I also titled “Forgiven”. It is hard to say too much without giving some of the story away for those of you who haven’t read the novel, but in this scene, Adriana and Vivaldi are meeting again years after the “main events” of the first half of the novel, and Adriana realizes that she no longer bears him a grudge for the wrongs that he did her so long ago. The lyrics of this song fit so perfectly with her thoughts, with their situation, with the history of their relationship. I would always listen to it when revising this scene!
“Cosi potessi anch’io” from the opera Orlando furioso
This is the aria performed by Anna Giro in her role as Alcina in Vivaldi’s opera Orlando furioso, in Chapter 67 of the novel. As Anna Giro truly did originate this role, Vivaldi wrote this aria especially for her and for her voice. As you can no doubt hear, it is beautiful and wistful and full of longing. The lyrics of the A section translate roughly to, “If only I could also have with the one I love the peace that my heart cannot find.” In the novel, as Anna sings these words, Adriana reflects on them in relation to her own life.
I have performed this aria several times myself, and I just love singing it. It is fun to sing from a technical aspect, and fits my voice well; it’s also fun from the performance aspect for the emotion I can inject into it. I wanted to learn it because I knew I would need to write a scene such as the one in Chapter 67, and this seemed like the perfect aria. I also loved the feeling of connection that learning and singing this piece gave me to the characters in my novel. When I sang it, I could pretend, for a moment, that I was a part of the story I was writing.
Welcome to the second installment of my blog series that I’m calling Story & Song. Each post will feature two pieces of music: a modern/contemporary song from the playlist of The Violinist of Venice, and a piece of Vivaldi’s music that features in the novel. I’ll describe how both pieces fit into the story with a minimum of spoilers!
Welcome to Part 2 of Story & Song! Today’s post features an artist who will surely be appearing in this series a few more times – my favorite band of all time, Nightwish.
Nightwish – “She Is My Sin”
This song first appeared on the Finnish heavy metal band’s 2000 album, Wishmaster. It has since been given new life as the band has performed it live on their recent tours with new lead singer Floor Jansen, and it was included on their 2013 live album/DVD Showtime, Storytime, a recording of their performance at Wacken Open Air that year (which is where the above video comes from). The band played it when I saw them live in Buffalo in April, and I was rocking out and dancing like crazy through the whole thing (causing Marco Hietala, the bass player, to keep looking over at me approvingly – I was right down in front!).
This is a song for the first love scene in The Violinist of Venice, and in listening to the song I’m sure you can see why – it’s a sexy, groovy song, and the lyrics speak of temptation and forbidden desire – perfect for my two main characters, who are embarking on a very forbidden relationship indeed.
Concerto for 2 Violins in A Minor, Op. 3, No. 8, II. Larghetto e spirituoso
The second movement is what is most important to the story out of this concerto, though the entire thing does figure into the novel in a later chapter. Start the above video at 3:24 to hear the second movement.
This movement appears in the novel in chapter 5, when Adriana arrives for a lesson with Vivaldi and he asks her to play it with him, as it is something he has been working on. The two play the movement together and, as I think you’ll hear, Adriana is struck by its emotional beauty. It’s an important scene because it’s the moment when the attraction between these two main characters manifests itself for the first time, and the reader gets to see how they react to it.
Welcome to the first installment of my new blog post that I’m calling Story & Song. Each post will feature two pieces of music: a modern/contemporary song from the playlist of The Violinist of Venice, and a piece of Vivaldi’s music that features in the novel. I’ll describe how both pieces fit into the story with a minimum of spoilers!
As I’m sure I’ve said before, writing and music are inextricably linked for me. The Violinist of Venice is an obvious and literal example of this: the book deals mostly with music and its effect on a life, and includes musicians as its main characters. But even when I’m writing a story that doesn’t have any music at all (which doesn’t happen that often, to be honest) music is an integral part of my process. I have to listen to music when I write; it seems to unlock something in my brain. More than that, I am constantly building playlists for each novel that I work on, finding the perfect song for each scene and to describe what is happening in the lives of the characters. Sometimes listening to these songs gives me more insight into a situation or a character than I would have had otherwise. These playlists – while certainly fun to make – are helpful in another way too: I’ll load them onto my iPod and listen to the playlist of a work-in-progress while at work, or while exercising. This helps keep my head in the game, so to speak, and keeps my project on my mind and keeps me thinking and daydreaming about it when I can’t actually be working on it.
So I’m hoping that this Story & Song series can help give some insight into my creative process and inspiration for The Violinist of Venice, as well as introducing you to some of the beautiful and powerful music written by Antonio Vivaldi that appears in the novel.
Lacuna Coil – “Spellbound”
This song was the lead single off of Italian heavy metal band Lacuna Coil’s 2009 album, Shallow Life. You can read a little more about this album and its impact on The Violinist of Venice in this previous post. This album came out not long after I’d started writing the first draft of the novel, and “Spellbound” perfectly captured for me the attraction, interest, and tension that manifests between Adriana, my heroine, and Vivaldi in the first few chapters. The lyrics talk about – as you might expect – being spellbound, being unable to get someone out of your mind even when you’re not quite sure why. I tended to go for this song when writing/revising/reading through chapters four and five (chapter five is actually titled “Spellbound”, in a shout-out to this song).
Concerto for 4 Violins in B Minor, Op. 3, No. 10, I. Allegro
This is the most important piece of music – to me, anyway – that is described in the novel, specifically the first movement of the concerto. I first heard it not long after writing the first chapter of the book, and I fell absolutely in love with it right away. As such it made its way into the novel right away: this is what Vivaldi plays for Adriana (parts of it, anyway) at their first lesson in chapter two, when she asks to hear him play. He plays it again for her later on in the novel, and has a whole orchestra play it for her at an even later point.
To me, this piece of music is so lively, so passionate; but the fact that it’s in B minor gives it something of a hungry, desperate edge. It was perfect for the novel as a whole, as well as simply being a beautiful and powerful piece of music, one that I can (and have) listen to countless times and never grow tired of.
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