Thursday, September 6, 2012

September Classics Discussion: Music

Katherine at November's Autumn posts:

I love the have my radio tuned to King FM while I'm reading and sometimes the mood of the music perfectly suits what I'm reading.  This month's prompt is to select a piece of...

Music

...that you feel reflects the book. Modern, classical, jazz, anything, it doesn't have to be from the period of the novel but share what it is about the piece that echoes the novel in some way.

I wasn't going to do this one quite yet, because I'm not currently reading a classic of literature.  But I am reading a classic of history!  That would be Barbara Tuchman's A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century.  It's excellent, but long and dense and kind of depressing, since the 14th century was about as bad as it could have been.  The Black Death killed a third or more of the population, constant pointless warfare ruined the countryside and killed more people, bands of brigands roamed around pillaging towns and ruining yet more lives, the Catholic Church had a papal schism that led to more wars and chaos, and the list goes on. 

I was driving along in my car yesterday, and since I know little about medieval music, I was thinking about whether any current music would match the 14th-century warriors I'm reading about.  I bet they'd like heavy metal, or Nickelback or something--whatever drunken bros like.

Just then, the perfect song for the book as a whole played on my stereo!  It's Oingo Boingo's War Again, and it was written around the time of the first Gulf War in 1991.  I've always thought it really captured something about the mood in the US at that time.  I was a senior in high school, and my math teacher had CNN on in the classroom all day for weeks.  It was the first war that we could sort of watch on television like that, and I remember rockets arcing over Baghdad in green nightvision.  I think the words also describe something about these medieval warriors' attitude about war, so here it is:




My favorite Christine de Pisan is mentioned quite a bit in A Distant Mirror, too, primarily in connection with the debate over The Romance of the Rose.   I think Christine would like different music.  I would give her Sarah McLachlan but Sarah's usually a bit too pagan for Christine's taste.  Loreena McKennitt is only slightly less pagan, but I can see Christine listening to her while writing. 


1 comment:

Katherine Cox said...

Thank you for participating, Jean! I admire that you're reading non-fiction, it's something I want to delve more into. I love watching documentaries/histories.