Our classical music collection is in a small, curious corner of the stately Stereo Stories library.
You make your way down past larger bookshelves, so to speak– punk, poetry, mental health, love stories, summer stories, roadtrips, OzRock – and there, tucked away, are a dozen pieces.
Wangaratta musician Luke Davies has mostly played, listened to and written about blues and folk but after reading the Zoe Morrison novel Music and Freedom he was moved to write about Rachmaninoff. The love of any form of art is always a subjective thing. What is cool is an art form that can take you to a new level of appreciation of another art form.
Nimity James wrote about Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata via Elvis, Chuck Berry, The Beatles, Tolstoy (you’ll find him in real library), and a German philosopher, Theodor W. Adorno. He said we don’t understand music. Rather, music understands us … when we think we are closest to it, it speaks to us and waits sad-eyed for us to answer.
Stephen Andrew reflected on the end of his first marriage via Tchaikovsky.
Serenade for Strings
It cradled me
And cracked open the edges of the grief of a separation that had been shadowing me for
Way too long.
The violins, cellos and double basses were soft, mellifluous, pastoral and tranquil.
Oddly uplifting in their melancholia.
US writer Carrye Harris sets the start of her story about Für Elise in France 1961 before moving onto Texas 1981 and Texas 2016. My father’s U.S. Military orders sent us to France. We lived in an old three storey stone home in the French village of Jaunay-Clan near Poitiers, where few Americans were seen, little English spoken. Fully furnished, the home came with an upright piano on the ground floor living room. Sound memories are vivid, the arpeggios, glissandos, ritardandos. My mother worked a piece relentlessly until it flowed flawlessly, without breaks, beginning to end. The stone walls of the house magnified the sound of her playing. Even when exploring the attic, I heard and felt my mother’s touch. One piece of music stands out, the piece she mastered there.
These four extracts (shall we call them a quartet?) will hopefully whet your appetite to head down the corridors of the Stereo Stories library and seek more stories about classical music. Listen out for Handel, Scarlatti, Mozart, Bach, Grieg…