[DWJ] best books of 2010

Philip Belben philip at axeside.co.uk
Sat Mar 5 14:21:11 EST 2011

Judith, trying to cheer me up:

> Right, DWJers, we are charged with diverting Philip and making him more
> cheery. As a dumpee myself (although not all that recently, fortunately)
> I appreciate the sentiment. So, what shall we chat about? Something
> amusing and droll, I vote. Or perhaps musical, as music is Philip's

Thank you, Judith.  I'm feeling more cheerful already!

> thing. How about music in the books of DWJ? Isn't there someone who is
> just a TERRIBLE singer? I can't put my finger on it. What about Cart and
> Cwidder? The hymn in The Magicians of Caprona?

Terrible singer?  Well, there's Angelica Petrocchi, since you mention 
MoC.  Maxwell Hyde was also singing very badly when he was drunk in 
Merlin Conspiracy.  Polly can't play the violin in Fire and Hemlock; nor 
can Cat in Charmed Life...

The wizardly lands in Dark Lord / YotG have a tradition of choral 
singing, don't they.  There was a village choir co-opted to perform at 
Mara's lair; was there also a choir at the university?  I don't recall 
anyone singing badly.

> This is what Diana told me about the inspiration for that when I
> interviewed her in 1992. (Astonishing! Nearly 20 years ago!)
> *Yes, I think that the whole origin of /The Magicians of Caprona/ was
> really rather significant that way, because this was one... it was my
> husband who acquired a new record, and it was one that I'd only heard a
> little of before and that was "Ma Vlast", was it Janaçek? It means "My
> Country", and he was Czech. Anyway, it's a beautiful, beautiful suite,
> each movement is about certain aspects of his country, and one is
> about... this is why I called the river that, actually, in Caprona... is
> about the river Voltava. It's a beautiful, beautiful piece of river
> music, and when the river swells and becomes itself a river, and
> therefore itself, it has this wonderful tune, and it's a tune, I
> thought, "My God, why has nobody put words to it?" This was the origin,
> the need for words. That's how the book came about. *

Oh my goodness, what a wonderful anecdote.  Thank you!  I'd often 
wondered about the Voltava / Vltava connection - but the Angel of 
Caprona words wouldn't fit Smetana's tune at all!

I did write a tune for the Angel, and it was included in the stuff the 
list sent to Diana for her 70th birthday (that's a while ago now, too!), 
but it's nothing like the Smetana one.  I think mine was actually 
inspired by the folk tune used by d'Indy in his "Symphony on a French 
Mountain Song", but I didn't spot the connection until much later.


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