Recently, I had the opportunity to speak about how I speak about music. Or, more precisely, how I write about it. I assembled this awesome Power Point presentation with video clips and audio and all kinds of cool graphics—only to have my tech setup fail miserably, leaving me with no choice but to wing-it.

Lessons learned: Come with your own gear because you can’t assume the “house” equipment will behave itself AND be prepared to tap-dance if all else fails.

While it was far from the spectacular multi-media extravaganza I’d anticipated, I didn’t embarrass myself—and that’s something. Still, I was disappointed. One of the pieces of the presentation I’m most proud of (which didn’t make it on screen that night) has to do with my book, Requiem—the third in the Reverie Trilogy. Now, I’ve written about this particular scene before in this blog, but here I did something different. I played the piece of music—Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings—while displaying the text on a static image. Anyone watching can actually hear the bit of music I’m describing as it plays underneath. It’s a little window into how I hear, interpret and “capture” the music in words.

So, since my audience that night wasn’t able to see my tiny cinematic masterpiece, YOU get to be my guinea pig! I’ll warn you it’s a bit on the longish side at 7 minutes—I plan to edit it down for time—but it’s such a beautiful composition that I’m hoping you won’t mind hanging out for a bit.

Here’s the setup… violist Brett is a member of the illustrious Walton String Quartet. He has just suffered a terrible loss but, rather than sit at home and grieve, he’s decided he’s better off joining his ensemble on tour. What he hasn’t considered though is the music on the program—one piece in particular. Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings is beautiful and haunting…and practically a study in musical mourning. And it pushes Brett dangerously close to his breaking point.


What do you think? Could you hear what Brett was describing in this scene—what I heard in the music?

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