Among the more difficult yet more necessary phases of research for a historical novel is the act of subtraction. Imagining what life would be like without ______________.
I’m all right subtracting the sounds of modernity–the cars, the aeroplanes, the trains, the spin cycle of the washing machine, radio, telly and computer games–and replacing them with the noise of the country–horses, carriages, cows, sheep…and birds–lots more birds than we know today.
And a city would have had its share of tradesmen shouting, and knife grinders who set up shop outside one’s house…
But what about music? In this case…well…the works of certain composers.
Because, you see, I love opera. Am a complete and utter fool for it.
The works of Puccini? I love them. All of them!
Which brings me to the crunch.
Because here I am, working through the sounds of 1813 as I construct the atmosphere and plotlines of the next novel–and I’ve just been forced to ask myself the question: What would life be like without Puccini? What would life be like without the aria, Nessun Dorma? Continue reading