‘Love cannot express the idea of music, while music may give an idea of love.’ Romantic composer Hector Berlioz
Berlioz should know. He didn’t just hear the symphony when he fell in love with an Irish actress back in 1827, he wrote it.
What was love like for the people who could really feel that song coming on? Symphony of Seduction tells of the romantic misadventures, tragedies and occasional triumphs of some of classical music’s great composers, and traces the music that emerged as a result.
For the eccentric Erik Satie, love came just once – and even then, not for long. Robert Schumann had to take his future father-in-law to court to win the right to marry. Hector Berlioz planned to murder a two-timing fiancée while dressed in drag, and Richard Wagner turned the temptation of adultery into a stage work that changed the course of music while rupturing his own marriage. Debussy’s love triangle, Brahms’ love for the wife of his insane mentor – all find expression in works we now consider to be some of the summits of creative achievement.
Christopher Lawrence takes what we know about these love-crazed geniuses and adds a garnish of imagined pillow talk to recreate stories that are ultimately stranger than fiction – and come with a great soundtrack.
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About the Author
One of Australia’s favourite radio personalities, Christopher Lawrence boasts a career spanning more than 40 years of broadcasting. He is best known for his work with ABC Classic FM, presenting the network’s Breakfast and Drive programs between 1994 and 2001. Three of the Swoon CDs that evolved out of his Breakfast program broke sales records in the Australian classical music industry, each achieving Platinum status.
As an orchestral and opera recording producer Christopher has been awarded an International Emmy for Performing Arts, three ARIA Awards, a Churchill Fellowship, and the Editors’ Choice Award at the Cannes Classical Awards in France.
Christopher has written three best-selling books: Swooning; Hymns of the Forefathers, based on his documentary series about the history of hymns seen on ABC TV; and Swing Symphony. He can be heard on ABC Classic FM from 9 a.m. to midday presenting Mornings.