Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A Song For Capella

I started my blog with weekly accounts of where I got the ideas for each of my stories. After a couple of years I ran out of stories, and (after exhausting 'Operas I Have Been a Supernumerary In') moved to other topics and a significantly less regular blogging schedule. Now I have a new story out, so I'm back to my original topic.

I recently edited MUSIC OF DARKOVER and, following Marion Zimmer Bradley's practice of ending each anthology with a short funny story, I wrote one. I was already reprinting a few stories with musical themes from the first twelve Darkover anthologies, so I included one of mine. It had been nineteen years since the last anthology, so I figured there were people who hadn't seen them before, even though the MZB Literary Works Trust is slowly reprinting them (five done, seven to do).

My story "A Capella" from SNOWS OF DARKOVER used one of my favorite characters from Marion's novel THE HEIRS OF HAMMERFELL: the composer Gavin Delleray. In a Regency novel he'd be considered a dandy, but in addition to his interest in his clothes and appearance, he's also a musician and composer.

In this story he's supposed to be writing a song for a celebration of the marriage of Capella Ridenow and Lord Alton, and he's having trouble. The fact that the bride referred to the groom as "a brute and a bully" and prefers his white stallion to her new husband makes it difficult to write anything romantic, and Gavin is a romantic soul. I don't know if there's such a thing as composer's block, but it certainly seems reasonable; I think all creative people have days when the creativity just doesn't seem to be there.

There has to be at least one musical in-joke, so while Gavin is struggling to write something and thinking of horses, his mind veers off to cats and he writes "Duel for Two Cats." This is a take-off on Rossini's Duetto buffo di due gatti (aka Duet for Two Cats). There are several versions of this on YouTube, and it's really funny. Gavin finally manages to produce a song, of course, about Capella, Lord Alton, and his white stallion.

The anthology begins with Leslie Fish's song The Horsetamer's Daughter, but I didn't realize until somebody pointed it out that I had produced an anthology that began and ended with horses. That's an idea; we're always looking for anthology titles. Next year's will be STARS OF DARKOVER, but maybe one of these years we'll try HORSES OF DARKOVER and see what we get.