Music is a great source of inspiration to me, whether classical or modern, and in any language. I have a huge repertoire of songs from all over the world that I listen to while doing my research and it helps me create the initial atmosphere for my story.
For my Spanish trilogy (watch this space for new of publication soon!) I chose various interpretations of Flamenco (it differs from province to province as each has its own way of singing Flamenco), and songs from the modern Spanish singers like Julio Iglesias and the Gypsy Kings.
During the research for my Italian novel, The Echoes of Love, I surrounded myself with Italian folklore music and the wonderful voices of Peppino di Capri, Raffaella Carrà, Mina and I Santo California (see my blog posts ‘A signature tune for my new novel’ and ‘“Que C’est Triste Venise” (How Sad Venice Can Be)’. And I listened extensively to classical music.
Today I want to share with you two pieces of classical music that inspired me when I wrote the scenes of The Echoes of Love that are set in Venice.
The first is from Songs Without Words, nineteenth-century piano compositions by the Romantic composer Felix Mendelssohn. It is known as the ‘Venetian Boat Song’ (‘Venezianisches Gondellied’). It’s so wonderful melodic and romantic, and really calls to mind for me images of drifting on a canal in a gondola, drinking in the fine architecture of the ancient city of Venice.
The second piece of music is called Three Songs of Venice, and it comprises ‘The Gondolier’, ‘St Mark’s Square’ and ‘Rain Storm’ – each conveying a feel of city, from the lulling rhythm of the gondola to the bustle of St Mark’s Square. They were written by composer Michael Head for the 1977 ‘Save Venice Fund’ concert. I especially love the line ‘A city more beautiful than any other’ in the final song.