Tuesday, February 5, 2013 |
1. Henry Purcell, Abdelza Suite 1, Rondeau, from A Baroque Feast, Jeanne Lamon (Tafelmusik)
"Hope, the character in my novel, is introduced to Purcell late in her life when she meets a man named Arthur Templeton. She falls in love with both Arthur and Purcell, though she is deeply ignorant of them both. I chose to put Purcell in the novel because he wasn't Bach -- Hope would have recognized the name Bach, and I wanted her naiveté to come through. I too was introduced to Purcell later in life (I don't even know how to correctly pronounce his name) and my response to his work is very visceral, very immediate, and not at all intellectual. Like Hope."
2. Arvo Pärt, Cantus in Memoriam Benjamin Britten
"In October of 2012 I attended a writers' festival in Calgary and one evening I slipped away and went to hear the Calgary Symphony. They played this Pärt piece. I had never heard it before and was absolutely moved. And of course, as I listened, I realized once again the emotional limitations of writing novels."
3. The Pogues, The Band Played Waltzing Matilda
"Every year on November 11, four friends get together and eat a meal and converse and at the end of the evening we drink scotch and play this song. We sit and listen and don't say a word, and then we drink, and sometimes we play the song again. It's an incredibly beautiful, sad, powerful song, one of the strongest statements against war and killing that I know, and it is the voice of the teller that makes it so convincing."
4. John Prine, Bruised Orange (Chain of Sorrow)
"I used to play and sing this with my brother. He'd sing harmony because I was incapable of doing that. It has been years since we've played this together, but I still love the song. I heard it first, live, at the age of 19 in Vancouver. John Prine's lyrics kill me. (As do Kris Kristofferson's.) For example, the line, 'And my head yelled down to my heart, you better look out below.' I'm a sucker for that kind of thing."
5. Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris, In My Hour of Darkness
"My novel is dedicated to Doris. Doris loves Emmylou Harris, and I love Gram Parsons. They're a great combo and it's a great song."