I always listen to music when I write, unless it is physically impossible. These days I’ve been working my way through a lovely book called Year of Wonder: Classical Music to Enjoy Day by Day by Clemency Burton-Hill. Through it I’ve discovered two new favorites that I find so achingly beautiful I had to share them.
First is the above piece by Mahler. It’s the Adagietto from his Symphony No. 5, and it is just stunningly beautiful. The story goes that Mahler wrote this piece as a love letter of sorts to his wife, Alma. The music alone is enough to move me, but then add that bit about the love letter and I’m imagining all kinds of stories in my head. Oh, and this work was also largely composed while Mahler was visiting his summer cottage. So we have a beautiful piece of music, a love letter, and a summer cottage. The imaginative mind starts to bubble.
Another piece I discovered through Burton-Hill’s book, Edward Elgar’s Cello Concerto in E Minor, Op. 85: I. Adagio – Modereto. Don’t ask me what any of that musical notation means, because I do not know. All I know is that this music, composed right after World War I, is achingly beautiful. A bit of interesting history: the piece was not well received when first performed, owing at least in part to a lack of rehearsal time for the soloist. Its popularity stems from this beautiful interpretation of the work by cellist Jacqueline du Pre. You can read more about that here if you are interested.
Credit where it’s due
I have to give a nod to one of my all-time favorite podcasts, That Classical Podcast, for introducing me to both these pieces before I ever came across Burton-Hill’s book. If you’ve not heard of That Classical Podcast, please do go check it out. Two young people talk about their love of classical music while cracking my kind of ridiculous jokes. It doesn’t hurt that they are British, or that they are both artists in their own right. Seriously, check them out.
Not my usual fare
I usually listen to soundtrack music while I write. I actually create whole playlists for each writing project. I’ll be sharing more of my favorite pieces here soon, because I just feel like inspiration should be shared.