Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Music of Sleep Before Evening

My first novel, Sleep Before Evening, is full of music. My intention for the book was a kind of "Portrait of the Composer as a Young Girl", modelled very loosely (indeed) on James Joyce's Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, but contemporary, NY based, and very female in perspective. Contemporary in this instance was actually the early 1980s, and so much of the contemporary rock music that's used in the book are the sounds that were popular in that era and loved by protagonist Marianne's mother Lily, a talented artist.  Just for fun, I also picked songs that had some resonance with me in that period of my life. This includes music from icons like The Beatles, Robbie Robertson, The Who, The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, and Jethro Tull. 

Keyboard Girl by Aaron Jasinski
Because Marianne is a budding composer, there is also a lot of wonderful classical music in the novel.  One of the pieces that haunts Marianne is Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto no. 1, a tremendously difficult piece that she struggles to perfect. Dvorak's "Largo" Symphony No 9 "From the New World" also provides some difficulty for her, and also becomes a motif for the book as she struggles to define herself and find a kind of 'home' that makes sense.  Finally, there is the harmonica based Blues that draws her to antagonist musician Miles.  There is Miles' own music, and also classics like Sonny Boy Williamsons' "Hello Little Schoolgirl", which Miles sings to Marianne as he collects her from the train station. Finding synthesis in these different kinds of music as the different aspects of Marianne's personality, and coming to know who she really is and where her talents and desires lie, is all key to the journey that Marianne takes. 

If you'd like to share a little of the music of Sleep Before Evening, just drop by my Pintarest board where I've pick up most of the major musical threads in YouTube clips and their corresponding quotes from the novel.

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