Author Topic: Another excerpt from Chapter 5  (Read 748 times)

Offline Titania

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Another excerpt from Chapter 5
« on: February 22, 2007, 05:53:28 PM »
This is another excerpt near the end of Chapter 5 of "Maloslavia".   Katy,  is to leave London for Maloslavia in two days' time and doesn't want to go.  If she wins the referendum for the restoration of the monarchy she may never return to London.  She and Vladimir go to a concert at the Barbican of Mahler's Second Symphony, "The Resurrection".  (They are both Mahler addicts.)

They arrived in the concert hall and took their seats just before the orchestra started  tuning up. Vladimir gave a quick look at the programme.

“They’ve got a lot of extra instruments - ten horns, eight trumpets, a tuba, not to mention cymbals, triangles, Glockenspiel, harps, organ and tam-tams!   And the choir is huge too.”

“Mahler always did things on a colossal scale.”

The conductor, Bernard Haitink, accompanied by the soprano and contralto soloists who were both Czech, came on to the platform to loud applause  and bowed to the audience.   He raised his baton, there was silence  and then with a terrifying crash from the percussion, the first movement of the symphony began.  It was like a cry of despair and it seemed to Katy that she was drowning in a whirlpool of angry sound.   The music swept over her in great waves - a sombre funeral march, then  loud calls on the French horns and trumpets.  Suddenly it changed and became sweet and gentle, but almost immediately the percussion came thundering back with a reminder of the inevitability of death.  After this surge of violent emotion, the second movement was mainly peaceful and lyrical - a dance tune which spoke to her of happy moments in life - but in the third, all the doubts and anger returned.  Katy, looking at the programme, saw that this movement represented the belief that life was meaningless and the harsh, bitter sounds frightened her.

The soprano solo of the fourth movement was so serene and beautiful with its return of faith - "I am from God, and to God I will return" that she felt calm again but the fifth began with another crash on the drums, heralding the Day of Judgement.  For a long time the music was dark and ominous with loud crescendos and sudden horn calls and then suddenly the trumpets sounded the Last Trump. There was a strange silence and then very faintly the choir began to sing, "Rise again, yea thou shalt rise again!"  The singing and the playing of the orchestra grew louder and then the soprano soloist joined in, followed by the contralto.   They reached a crescendo - a tremendous, apocalyptic outburst of heavenly love and joy which seemed as though it would never end.  It was almost unbearable in its beauty and Katy was overwhelmed.  The effect of the music, combined with her feelings about her impending departure, her recent chrismation and the fact that she wouldn’t see Vladimir again after tonight, was so powerful that tears started pouring down her cheeks.  He noticed it and put his arm round her.The choir sang What thou has fought for shall lead thee to God and with drum rolls and an earth-shattering volume of sound the symphony came to an end amid tumultuous applause.  Katy wiped her eyes and turned to Vladimir.

“I’m sorry to cry like that.  It was wonderful.”

“You wouldn’t be normal if that music didn’t make you cry! I’ve got tears in my eyes too!”

 
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Offline lmw1977

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Re: Another excerpt from Chapter 5
« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2007, 07:09:53 AM »
Overall, it was ok, I have some misgivings about some sections.

“Mahler always did things on a colossal scale.” - I Liked this you’re – again, understandably – drawing parallel to Katy’s task at hand.

“You wouldn’t be normal if that music didn’t make you cry! I’ve got tears in my eyes too!” - I'm not sure this worked how about “You wouldn’t be normal if that music didn’t move you!”  Katy sensed a movement near by; did he wipe away a tear? or something of that ilk.

With the description of the music; I believe you’re drawing parallels with Katy’s emotions, thoughts etc. The idea is a sound one. However, I’m not sure exactly why - but it didn’t work for me; some of the sections could be re-worked to make: the faster sections read faster and have snappier sentences, whilst the slower more foreboding sentences use longer sentences etc.  Really I’m not sure what to say to help here, but for me something didn’t quite click.

Again, just my thoughts as a reader.
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Offline Titania

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Re: Another excerpt from Chapter 5
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2007, 09:26:27 AM »
Thanks for your comments.   I agree with what you said about Katy crying.  I've changed it to '"You wouldn't be normal if it didn't move you," he said and she thought she saw tears in his eyes.'

To write the bit about the symphony, I listened to the CD and really wrote my feelings about it.  It's a work I love and I suppose they're really my emotions.  I'll have to think about it.
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