“Blue Notes” by Shira Anthony – Contest: What’s so sexy about classical music?

December 30, 2011

Blue Notes” is a love story about musicians Jason Greene and Jules Bardon, and the first in a series of music themed romances with interconnected characters (spinoffs). Most of the stories involve classical music, and “Blue Notes” is no exception. So what’s so sexy about classical music? For some people, maybe this is a no-brainer, but for me, a former opera singer, it wasn’t such an easy concept – that classical music IS sexy.  Strange, I know!

I grew up on classical music. Sure, my dad listened to the Beatles and Led Zeppelin in the Sixties and Seventies. But the heart of our home, the soundtrack (because there always one) was classical: Brahms, Mozart, Beethoven and, later, when my mother switched from playing piano to harpsichord, Bach, Scarlatti, and Rameau.

I studied music theory from about the time I could read. I began playing the violin when I was four or five years old. My younger sister followed with cello. My mother, whose perfect pitch I wished I had, would accompany us. We sang in the car on long trips from Ohio to New York. My dad, not to be left out in spite of his tin ear, would “sing” along. Out of tune. Every time. But even he would play classical music on his stereo, graduating from a turntable to CD’s, and later a Sony Digital Audio Tape Recorder and, finally, internet streaming. Years later, my dad still listens to music on his tablet, and my mother has a harpsichord in New York and France. She still performs.

And me? I hated it. Or at least, that’s what I told myself for years. Forget Bach. I wanted Elton John, The Who, Led Zeppelin, Alice Cooper. So what changed? I stopped thinking of classical music as “work” and started to listen to it for fun after I stopped singing professionally. And then my friend and fellow Dreamspinner author, Venona Keyes, suggested we co-author a story about a violinist and a conductor. I pulled out recordings of the violin music I remembered playing through in high school, starting with the Sibelius Violin Concerto, and I was hooked.

Blue Notes” features one particular piano work prominently, Brahms’s Intermezzo, Opus 118, no. 2. It’s in your face romantic, brooding, and an absolutely perfect representation of Jason Greene, the American lawyer. Strong, but with a deep emotional connection he doesn’t show others often. Sexy, understated. Just like the Brahms. Want to hear what I mean? Take a listen to Nikolai Lugansky playing the piece: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4iF4Rn2b4T8&feature=related

Would you like to win an mp3 download of my favorite recording of the piece and the other intermezzos? Leave a comment on DSP’s blog, on Goodreads, or on my blog, and you’re automatically entered to win “My Favorite Brahms,” by Van Cliburn, from Amazon.com. One winner will be drawn on January 31st. -Shira

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