Soundtracks: Selecting the music for Body & Bow
Thank you KD for hosting me today! 😀
Today I’m going to talk about the music for Body & Bow, a story about a classic music duo taking a most intriguing kind of sexual revenge on a music critic. I think it’s first important to explain how I reached that kernel of a plot idea.
Some point last year, I had the idea of a male violinist using his bow on a woman to excite her. Beyond that, I wasn’t sure what to do. The idea was strong, and stayed with me for months before the plot came together. For a long while, I had no idea of how such a situation would occur.
The thought later came to me that there was more to be said for shaping a woman’s body like a cello, which albeit sits at an angle when played, is at least upright enough that you can better imagine a woman sitting than you can think of her draped between a musician’s hand and chin. So I almost hung up the idea of the violinist and went for a solo cellist. By this point, though, I’d grown so attached to having the violin, to the point that I borrowed one from a friend to study it, that I didn’t want to toss it aside.
Why not, then, it occurred to me, to have both?
From that point, the story began to take shape. Soon I had the characters and personalities of the musicians (a louder, more expressive American, and a quieter Italian) and I had a female music critic to antagonise the men into action. I realised though that beyond the engineering of that first scenario, I needed some music that they would likely play as a duo.
And so I went where all good researchers go these days. The internet. Or in this case, YouTube.
The first piece I turned up had potential: Ravel’s Sonata for Violin and Cello, 2nd Movement:
It’s a great, distinctive piece, but it didn’t quite fit. It felt quirky and a little experimental, and didn’t have the flow I was really after. What I wanted was something traditional, something a bit stirring and exciting.
A little more searching, and then this appeared. It’s commonly called the Handel-Halvarsson Passacaglia. I urge you to listen to this one, with Julia Fischer on violin and Daniel Muller-Schott on cello – of all the ones on YouTube, I think it is the best (certainly the most passionate):
The piece was originally composed by Georg Handel, perhaps better known for his choral work, Messiah. This Passacaglia was the final movement in his Harpsicord Suite in G minor, and originally, sounded like this:
For the curious, the full Suite on Harpsicord is here:
Then, in 1894, Johan Halvarsson, a Norwegian composer, adapted the Passacaglia as a duet for violin and cello. It has subsequently been adapted for violin and viola, and an excellent example of that is Itzhak Perlman and Pinchas Zukerman’s duet:
I’d found what I was after. There is a richness and variety in the duet, a range of techniques, sections where the instruments talked to each other, played off each other. It was, in a word, perfect for my purposes. What I realised, and I think you might agree (if you’ve listened to the piece often enough… 😉 ), that it follows the rhythms of sex. A certain kind of sex – a forceful, emphatic, grabs you and doesn’t let you go while it teases you, lulls you, and then brings you to the brink before pushing you off the edge kind of sex. Absolutely the kind of sex I wanted to write about. To the point that I’d embed a recording of the Passacaglia into the novella itself if I could so I could have the reader understand how the key scene was meant to sound, as well as feel, to entice the ears as well as the visions and arousal that would be passing through them as they read.
At the very least, I hope I’ve conveyed the experience of listening to an amazing recording of the Passacaglia.
If you want to hear more versions (as well as the above videos) of the Passacaglia, I have set up a playlist on YouTube:
And what of fastidious Lambrosini? He actually wasn’t a bad violinist, though she’d watched him play so robotically, so stiltedly.
Still, Sanderson… She wondered how he would react to her now? He must have imprinted her picture on his memory. Would he storm at her from across the room, taking it in three strides with his big long legs? Would he wrap his hands around her body, shake her with rage? Maybe then he’d make his point to her, make her damn well know he could play… And throw her across the inevitable baby grand, hike her skirts up, and ram his impressive cock into her.
Her fingers skirted the top button of her jeans. She was wondering whether to skip Waitrose and head home straight away to reacquaint herself with her vibrator when her phone rang again. Klarissa glared at it, but it wasn’t a number in her caller ID, nor one she recognised.
She picked it up. “Klarissa Archer.”
“Ah, Ms. Archer. This is Marco Lambrosini.”
What! She sat forward. “How did you get my number?”
“I have my, how do you put it in journalism, contacts. Do not worry, I am not calling to give you verbal abuse. Rather, I was hoping we might be able to meet for a drink.”
Klarissa was vaguely suspicious. It wouldn’t have been the first time a disgruntled musician whose performance she’d found sub-par had decided to try and make peace with her. It was rare though – rarer than the name-calling, the threats on her reputation, and other assorted hissy fits that highly-strung musicians were prone to.
“The kind of drink where you smile pleasantly at me and then slip arsenic into it when my back is turned?”
“Ah, no, of course. Hemlock is my preferred poison.”
Klarissa barked out a laugh, taken by surprise at the joke. “Oh I do like a good splash of hemlock in my wine.”
“Ah, you like wine? Then I know the perfect place.”
Like I don’t know London, Klarissa thought. That said, she had heard of the wine bar Lambrosini suggested, but had not been before. They arranged to meet later that night.
She didn’t quite know why she said yes. It wasn’t like a ranting call from Sanderson, calling her all sorts of vile names, ending with her inviting him for a conciliatory drink, and oh, why don’t we just share a taxi back to your hotel…
Oh stop it, she scolded herself.
Before she left the office, though, she flipped open to the page with her review. The picture accompanying it was of them playing, Sanderson’s head thrown back as if to show off that characteristic lion’s mane, and Lambrosini’s steady gaze on Sanderson. The lion caught up in the moment of the music, and his accomplice watching him.
That was their problem, really. If Klarissa had written what she really thought – really, truly thought, rather than trying to maximise the belly laughs and poke Leonard the Lion – it would be that the concert would have been better titled ‘The Leonard Sanderson Show’.
Particularly the Handel-Halvorsen Passacaglia, which should have been their piece de resistance of the evening. Lambrosini should have been focused on his violin, but instead had spent the duration trying to catch Sanderson’s eye, because Sanderson was so wrapped up in his playing that he’d barely registered Lambrosini’s existence.
God, it had been awful.
Blurb and where to buy
Upon reading Klarissa Archer’s scathing review of their latest performance, cellist Leonard Sanderson and violinist Marco Lambrosini have very different reactions. Leonard is filled with rage. Marco invites Klarissa for drinks. Pleased that she has so upset the arrogant Sanderson Klarissa accepts Marco’s offer, unaware that he has something in mind for her, Leonard, velvet ropes and the bows of cello and violin. (M/F/M)
Body & Bow can be bought from Forbidden Fiction at: http://forbidden-fiction.com/library/story/JB1-1.000094
Jacqueline Brocker is an Australian writer living in the UK. She has published several short erotic stories with various publishers, and also self-published several works. Her first erotic novella, Body & Bow, is published by Forbidden Fiction, from whom she has two short stories forthcoming later this year. When not writing, or Scottish Country Dancing, she can be found reading by the banks of the River Cam.
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/jacquib –
I have a special board for Body & Bow too: http://pinterest.com/jacquib19/body-bow/