The orchestra has tuned, the lights in the hall have dimmed, and the conductor’s baton signals the downbeat for the beginning of the romance. Settle back – it’s telling you something…
The history of classical music is littered with murder, adultery, bigamy, fraud, sado-masochism, riches, poverty, gluttony, nervous breakdowns, bizarre behaviour and terrible, terrible toilet humour (Mozart was the prime exponent of the latter). Classical music –nice? Not at all. It’s the most immediate expression of mental and emotional extremes: often deceptive, sometimes dangerous and frequently a discomforting revelation.
Swooning documents the all too human flaws in the lives of the great composers by loosely following the sequence of emotions as experienced in a love affair – one that doesn’t work out, of course.
In this fully revised and updated edition, Christopher Lawrence leads us through the listening experience, from anger and Beethoven to sadness and Tchaikovsky, triumph and Wagner and freedom and Mozart – it’s all here in this whimsical guide to the conduct of a romance, with some handy hints on how to make it more, well, harmonious.