***** Well-written romantic symphony of words Review by Rox Burkey
Lisa Kirazian creates a novel about the passions of youth and the power of music weaving the lives of students attending the Royal School of Music in the late 1950s. Kate, a violinist, and her brother Neil, a pianist, live together in London and interact with other students. Maggie, the vocalist, is smitten with Neil, who hides from his abused childhood. Kate finds the flutist Colin her match in musical passion. The lovely Anne and lovelorn Jeremy round out the group of six classical musicians who endlessly practice hoping to achieve their goals in their final recital.
Author Kirazian creates believable characters and their musical experiences who discover that life events present success and challenges, sometimes in equal measure. The early years and home lives of these six people do not adequately prepare them for the commitments they need for musical careers and dealing with their loves and lives.
The music behind this story comes out in a delightful writing style. I was captivated early on by how Lisa layered in her characters’ background, making them three-dimensional, as in this example.
“…When Colin got backstage, Nadia was working with a soprano center stage, a girl he knew from his other job, subbing in the orchestra for the Sadler’s Wells Opera: Maggie Crawford, an American. Her near-red page-boy haircut and curved build drew all the men’s eyes at Royal. She was known to get on with quite a few of them—a tenor, a conductor, a composer, a bassist, even a couple of professors. Her writing is crisp as in the below.
Colin overheard some of the students backstage.
“Is that her?” “Who’s she with these days?” “Look at that skirt.”
Most people at Royal in the pubs and classrooms, however, would admit they did not know her at all. Maggie kept to herself. Many construed this as arrogance, but truth be told, she was slightly out of her element in England, coming from Illinois. And she had to drown herself not only in music but also in languages—Italian, French, German, Latin, which she had to start in high school—it was brutal for a vocalist. Everyone looked a bit more distrustingly at the American students. No one could deny, however, that Maggie’s voice was golden. Colin always commented with the pit players during the operas: Maggie had star quality.
With her accompanist, John Stern, following, Maggie completed Marguerite’s “Jewel Song” aria from Gounod’s Faust—a popular and traditional choice to showcase her talent to the old-guard audience, she figured. She completed the aria beautifully but a bit stiffly. Even level-headed Maggie could get a little nervous…”
I highly recommend this book with its detailed storylines, excellent flow through time, musical details, realistic characters, and resonating spirituality that will keep you turning the pages. As the first one in the series, you can believe I will keep reading this author.
About the Author
Lisa Kirazian writes fiction, plays, screenplays, and also directs for stage and screen.
Her writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Performing Arts Magazine, San Diego Union Tribune and in many other publications. She is in demand as a speaker and has been a guest on KPBS Public Radio and at various conferences. Lisa has also edited and written introductions for a variety of Audie-award winning audiobooks. Lisa is a graduate of Stanford University.
Several of her screenplays have placed in major competitions and festivals. Twelve of her stage plays have been produced across the U.S. and have won numerous awards, including a few publications. She also directed and wrote the adapted screenplay of the short film, Reflection Day.
Her novels include Bravura and Appassionato, the first two installments of The Music We Made series, inspired by her experience as a violinist. The series is also being developed for television. She is next at work on the third novel of the series, Cadenza.
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