Story & Song: Part 5

Welcome to the fifth 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!

For Part 5 of Story & Song, I’ll be featuring a song that was very important in the writing of the book.

Lacuna Coil – “End of Time”

This is one of my favorite songs of all time, and one that really worked its way into The Violinist of Venice. As soon as I heard this song – on my first listen to Lacuna Coil’s 2012 album Dark Adrenaline – I knew that it perfectly fit the relationship between Adriana and Vivaldi: painful, bittersweet, and full of the knowledge that the end would come soon. This particular song, though, had a direct impact on the book. As I was working on draft two and making revisions to the original draft, one night I was listening to this song as I went over a particular scene. Because of this song, what was originally a lighthearted moment became heartbreaking and raw and real. The scene took a complete left-hand turn on me, and changed somewhat the tenor of things that needed to come after. It was inconvenient initially, but what I realized was this song helped me to see what that scene should have been all along. To this day that is one of my favorite scenes in the novel.

Stabat Mater – Movement 1

This is one of the vocal pieces featured in the novel that I’ve actually performed myself. This is honestly one of my favorite pieces that I’ve ever sung; it’s so beautiful and just felt so effortless to sing. I had to include it in the novel, as I came across it in my research and fell in love with it (and tracked down the sheet music as well!)

In the novel, Adriana hears this piece while attending Mass at the Pieta in chapter 53, and it affects her very profoundly. It also, in a roundabout way, leads to us learning something new about Adriana, though of course I won’t say here what that is!

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Story & Song: Part 1

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.

The Official Violinist of Venice Playlist

Here, at last, is the official playlist for The Violinist of Venice! These are all the (modern) songs that I listened to and that inspired me while writing the novel, while revising it, while editing it, while reading through it. They were added at all stages of the process – one as recently as last week, when I was reading first pass pages – and the book would not be the same as it is today without these songs. Many of them fit with a certain scene, soundtrack style, and some fit more with the overall themes of the story.

Though my love of heavy metal will be obvious here, my taste in music can be somewhat eclectic, and I think you’ll see that in these songs.

Without any further ado, here it is! Hope you enjoy! 🙂

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Heavy Rotation: The Albums of The Violinist of Venice

I just recently finished up my copy edits for The Violinist of Venice and sent them back to my editor. Things are really moving along now!

The evening that I finished going through the copy edits, I was playing some vinyl records (newly converted vinyl devotee that I am) and without thinking about it, one of the albums I put on towards the end of my trip through the manuscript was one of the ones that I listened to the most while working on the book initially. It made for a rather emotional moment, quite frankly – especially when one of the songs came on just as I reached the scene that it went with.

Music and writing are inextricably linked for me. Perhaps this comes as no surprise, since I wrote a book largely about musicians and music and the impact of music on their lives. Yet other than the music of Vivaldi himself that inspired and is featured in the book, Violinist also has a very carefully curated (and long) playlist of modern music, by my favorite artists, that fits in with the general storyline, with a specific scene, or was just something that I listened to a lot while writing the book and so became entwined with the story.

The full playlist will be posted later, and I have lots of fun music-related blog posts and features up my sleeve for the future 🙂 In the meantime, though, my experience while copy editing inspired me to write this post about the four albums that were on heaviest rotation while I wrote Violinist.

1. Lacuna Coil – Shallow Life

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This album, by Italian heavy metallers Lacuna Coil, came out just as I really started rolling on the very first draft of Violinist. The first single, “Spellbound”, which was released before the album itself, became the perfect song for the beginning of the book, when the tension and attraction between Adriana and Vivaldi first begins to manifest itself. The album as a whole is full of heavy, urgent songs that fit well with the story in certain places.

Songs from this album on the Violinist playlist: “Not Enough”, “Spellbound”, “Shallow Life”.

2. Delain – April Rain

Delain_April_Rain

This album came out in the spring of 2009, when was I deep into the first draft. I had liked Delain’s first album, Lucidity, well enough, but April Rain, their sophomore album, made them one of my favorite bands, a title they still hold to this day. I recently saw them live for the first time when they opened for Nightwish on their North American tour. If you ever get the chance to see this band, go – Charlotte’s voice is even more beautiful in person (and the band are a super nice group of guys/girl!) I’m off on a bit of a tangent now, but I was right down in front for the show, and Charlotte liked me because I knew all the lyrics 🙂

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Anyway! Delain’s music has always been, to me, both intimate and epic – and I would love it if someone were to use that same term to describe Violinist. To this day, when the song “On the Other Side” comes on, it takes me right back to the final pages of the book.

Fun fact: I use the phrase “April rain” in the first chapter of the book as a nod to this band and this album.

Songs from this album on the Violinist playlist: Most of them! “Stay Forever”, “Control the Storm”, “On the Other Side”, “Start Swimming”, “Lost”, “Nothing Left,” “Come Closer”.

3. Stream of Passion – The Flame Within

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Another summer 2009 release (believe me when I say that I was really spoiled for music that year), The Flame Within is Dutch/Mexican progressive metal band Stream of Passion’s second album – this band can’t make a bad album, I’ve found in the years since. They write some of the most gorgeous songs of anyone in the metal scene, in my opinion. Marcela Bovio’s angelic voice, coupled with the lush piano arrangements and haunting strings, all against a driving backdrop of guitars and drums, make Stream of Passion’s music a real treat to listen to. And furthermore, their songs are so rich with emotion, which make them perfect fits for a story like Violinist, where my main character goes through so very many emotions over the course of the book.

Songs from this album on the Violinist playlist: “In the End”, “Games We Play”, “This Endless Night”, “A Part of You”.

4. Nightwish – Imaginaerum

Nightwish_imaginaerum_cover

This is the album I put on while finishing up my copy edits. Nightwish is my favorite band of all time and space, as those of you who follow me on Twitter will know. Imaginaerum, released in January of 2011 in the US, was the second and last album to feature vocalist Anette Olzon. Though Nightwish’s most recent album and their first with Dutch vocalist (and one of my idols!) Floor Jansen, Endless Forms Most Beautiful, has the title of my favorite album of all time, Imaginaerum will forever have a place in my heart. Every note of this album is burned onto my soul. By the time this album came out, I was into the second draft of Violinist, yet this album left its mark on the book in a major way all the same. So much of what Violinist currently is came about in draft 2, with this album playing in the background. The album’s themes of fantasy, storytelling, and imagination are also perfect for a writer!

Everything I ever write will have Nightwish songs on the playlist; this band is just so deeply ingrained into my life. Their music inspires me like no other band’s does; it’s epic and thought-provoking, and manages to be both beautiful and brutal at the same time. I got to meet the band before their show that I attended in April, and I got the chance to tell Tuomas Holopainen (Nightwish’s keyboardist and the main composer) how much his music meant to me and had inspired me, and he seemed to appreciate my saying so. It was a big moment for me.

Songs from this album on the Violinist playlist: “Slow, Love, Slow” and “The Crow, the Owl, and the Dove”.