Decades ago, there was a riotously funny movie called How to Murder Your Wife, in which Jack Lemmon played a cartoonist who never had his cartoon alter-ego do anything which he had not done himself. Which led to the abovementioned difficulty implicit in the film’s title.
And while I must assure you there are many things in my novels which I have not done and will never do–I leave you to guess what these are–as far as the music goes, I make every effort to write as it were from the inside of knowledge.
Thus, the music and songs, from the first introduction to it when one character is playing two plaints by Purcell, through the Haydn sonatas mentioned, to the lieder as German songs are generally known–all of it in May 1812 belongs to my repertoire. (I’m a pianist and accompanist.)
Two of the lieder, in particular, would have to feature in any list I might compile of favourites: Ich liebe dich by Beethoven, and Trennungslied by Mozart. The music to both was available in England at the time, but what I love about them both is they both confound expectations.
To those who believe that Mozart wrote little but froth and was incapable of writing music which expressed the darker emotions of rage, despair and emotional loss, Trennungslied proves them wrong. Likewise, Ich liebe dich is one of the tenderest love songs ever written and shows a side of Beethoven we rarely encounter.
As for the instruments mentioned–I’ve played on fortepianos many times. The sound is softer, and doesn’t carry as does a modern pianoforte. The action is also softer, at least on those I’ve played.
Virginals, by contrast, have a pluckier action, quite literally–or a harder, slower action, but to play Purcell on virginals, is quite simply a delight.
And when the characters are talking about practising, or discussing how they worked toward performance of a song, that’s, er, me talking actually…