Saturday, November 11, 2017

Frivolous music for frivolous books

I wrote A Pocketful of Stars and A Time for Stars (Yeah, I'm still fooling around with the title) without benefit of background music, but missing it somewhat; my old writing system was to put a CD into the player and start writing. If I heard the CD stop playing, then I knew I wasn't concentrating well and might as well take a break.

I know the beginnings of a lot of classical music far better than I know what happens after the first ten minutes!

Anyway, after five books this year, the twenty-first century pointed out to me that I can stick a CD into the laptop and get the same results.

Since the Stars books are light and, I hope, funny, I promptly pulled out my smallish collection of Viennese operetta CD's and have been using them while plotting the third book (presently creatively called Stars3). They make excellent background music. The only catch is that my collection is somewhat limited. A couple of collections; after that it's Strauss (Rosenkavalier and Fledermaus highlights,waltzes), Franz Lehar (ok, Lehar Ferenc, but I think of him by the German name because his operettas are sung in German), a collection of Huszka Jenö songs from various operettas, and highlights from two of Kálmán Imre's operettas sung in German (Czárdásfürstin and Gräfin Mariza). I've close to memorized the entire collection already and I haven't even started writing the actual book! A quick shufti through Amazon suggests that I can have more Kálmán and Huszka, even some sung in Hungarian... if I'm willing to pay upwards of $50 per CD. Much as I'd like to have a Hungarian version of Prince Bob, that's a serious budget-buster. For that matter, I could use more Lehar; at the moment I've got only Die Lustige Witwe and Das Land des Lächelns.

Youtube is giving me a few options, but I could use more. One problem with Youtube is that the length of videos varies a lot. Many are under twenty minutes, which invites me to stop writing and look for something else; others run over two hours, and by the time I register that the music has ended my body has frozen in place. So... anybody want to educate me on more Viennese operetta composers? I prefer the ones sung in Hungarian because I don't catch more than one word in a hundred and that's not enough to tempt me into listening to the words. German is pretty ok; after so many years of not using my German, I get about one word in ten and that's still not much of a temptation. English... not so great. Or any other lightweight classical music suggestions?

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