I know it sounds strange, but lots of people have asked me about the music I used behind this video about my book, BLUE GENES: A Memoir of Loss and Survival.
I figure it’s easier to ask me about the music than to discuss the painful world of suicide.
To explain how I choose music for all my documentaries and videos I have to go back to early childhood. I was lucky enough to attend a co-ed boarding school in Vermont. To be sure, we had to do farm chores and household duties there, but we also got exposed to great classical music.
By the time I was ten, I could sing in a chorus, play in an orchestra; by the time I was 15, I could dissect a Mozart symphony, conduct in various meters, and sing madrigals.
The downside of this was that I never heard pop music until I got to college. And I’ve never cottoned to it, except the Beatles, of course. I mean who doesn’t like them?
The upside of my schooling was that the rigid, tyrannical, explosive conductor of our chorus and orchestra at that school was one of the greatest teachers I would ever have, leading me to green pastures; giving me comfort with endless fields of great music whenever I needed them. All I had to do was put on a phonograph record, a tape, or a CD.
When I entered documentary television production, I had five or six pieces of music that I was dying to use. Favorites from high school. Holzt’s The Planets was one. Another was Bachianas Brazilieras No. 7 by Villa-Lobos. There were others, some by Bach, some by Erik Satie. I managed to get all of them into one show or another by the time I was forty.
Then what? I’d run out of favorite pieces!
Luckily, I met a cellist who was with the New York Philharmonic, but who also played a lot of chamber music. He came to our house once a year to play a dress rehearsal of pieces with musical colleagues; we invited twenty friends to listen and have a buffet dinner. One of the pieces was a Chopin sonata for cello and piano. It is the second movement of that sonata that I used in the video about my book, played by Avron Coleman and his pianist friend, Gildo.
I’ve been lucky to hit the music jackpot as a youngster, and to keep getting to play with new music all these years.
Anyone who has a piece of music for me – answer this blog, please.
* Christopher “Kit” Lukas is the author of BLUE GENES, an Anchor Trade Paperback, on sale: October 6, 2009.