Composer finds musical inspiration in The Hunger Games

First aired on Mainstreet NS (09/07/13)

Blockbuster YA fiction and popular music meet in a new book of music for piano by Rebekah Maxner, a composer and piano teacher who lives in Hansport, N.S. In a recent interview with Mainstreet Nova Scotia, she told host Stephanie Domet that her children were reading Suzanne Collins's Hunger Games trilogy, so she also started reading it and was hooked.

She noticed that there's a reference in the second book, Catching Fire, to Madge teaching the main character, Katniss Everdeen, to play the piano. "I just thought, wow, 600 or some years in the future, what would people be playing on the piano? That's where my book comes from," Maxner said.

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Maxner reread the books again, on the lookout for references to music. "There are many similarities between music in the Hunger Games [books] and music that we have right here in Nova Scotia," she said. "It's a coal-mining district, it's in the Appalachian region, so are we. There's fiddle music and there's a lot of folk music."

One section of Maxner's book is based on her experience of Nova Scotia music. Another came out of wondering if any of the music popular in our time would be remembered in the future. With that in mind, she took classical favourites like Bach's Prelude in C and Beethoven's Für Elise and rewrote them to combine with pop music. "So Bach's Prelude in C is mashed up with John Lennon's Imagine," Maxner said. "Then with Für Elise, I put the tune of Für Elise with Led Zeppelin's Stairway to Heaven."

Maxner was asked what she thought of the musical score for the film The Hunger Games. "I love the music in the film," she said. "It's very moving, very minimalistic, and I listen to it all the time."

Part of Maxner's motivation in writing the book was that as a piano teacher, she wants to keep her teen students engaged. "It's very important to give them music that means something to them," she said.

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