Lauren Willig has been posting wonderful playlists on her blog for her Pink Carnation books. I always listen to music as I write. I pick one or two composers for each book. But there are also specific songs and other pieces of music, by those composers and others, that resonate with certain scenes and characters. So in the spirit of imitation being the sincerest form of flattery, I thought I would follow Lauren’s example.
Here, to begin with, is the playlist for Secrets of a Lady:
Wotan’s Fire Music, Die Walküre, Richard Wagner
Wagner was one of the two composers I focused on for Secrets. Obviously the whole Ring has a lot of parallels to the books–a ring associated with power, tangled family relationships. But Wotan’s Fire Music seems particularly appropriate to Raoul’s role as a manipulator with ambiguous motives.
Beethoven was the other composer I focused on in writing Secrets. The 9th was written too late for me to reference it in Secrets, but to me it sums up the belief in humanity, which in different ways is shared by Charles, Mel, and Raoul.
The Riddle, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Frank Wildhorn & Nan Knighton
I saw The Scarlet Pimpernel on Broadway with my friend Penny Williamson while I was writing the book that became Secrets of a Lady. After this trio by Marguerite, Chauvelin, and Percy that closes the first act, Penny turned to me and said “well, that’s definitely your characters.” Not quite the same situation, of course, but this song does make me think of Mel, Raoul, and Charles.
Dove Sono, The Marriage of Figaro, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart & Lorenzo da Ponte
One of the edits I made between Daughter of the Game and Secrets of a Lady was to change the piece of music of which Charles’s thinks he knew “the precise chord that always brought tears to her [Mel’s] eyes” from a the Moonlight Sonata to Dove Sono. I had struggled to find the right piece of music when I was writing the book. I love the Moonlight Sonata and I still associate it with Mel (she plays it in Beneath a Silent Moon, though I now know it wasn’t referred to as the Moonlight Sonata until later). But after Daughter was published I realized Dove Sono, the Countess’s aria asking what happened to the happy days of her marriage, was the perfect piece of music to bring tears to Mel’s eyes.
Let’s Say Goodbye, The Noel Coward Songbook, Ian Bostridge vocal), Jeffrey Tate (piano)
This wistful song about taking a love affair and its end lightly, with lot of unstated emotion that belies the sangfroid of the words, always makes me think of Mélanie and Raoul.
What songs or pieces of music would you add to the Secrets playlist? Writers, do you come up with playlists for your own books? Readers, do you associate certain pieces of music with books you read?
The Fraser Correspondence continues in December 1812, with Mel writing to Raoul just a few days after her marriage to Charles.