Listening with Nathan : The Venetian Legacy

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So we made the Top 10!

I don’t think anyone expected this but – yes – “The Venetian Legacy” had its moment in the sun of the Times Top 10 Paperback Fiction. And thank you all so, so much for that.

So, by way of thanks, here’s the Spotify playlist that serves as the soundtrack to “The Venetian Legacy”. Some of these were songs I had in mind whilst writing. And some were ones that came to mind later. You can decide which are which…

We begin, then, with Mozart’s overture to The Marriage of Figaro. It’s fun, it’s happy, it’s got a belter of a tune and it’s about a wedding! Of course we were going to begin with this one.

Track 2 is è Festa! by the great Italian prog band Premiata Forneria Marconi. We’ve moved on from the wedding itself to party time, and I can imagine Dario saying ‘hey, let’s play this one’. And Federica rolling her eyes…

Now we have a couple of gentle, summery tracks. The first is by Le Orme, Senti, L’estate che torna . Five years later, they’d be writing concept albums about binary planets, but they weren’t quite there in 1968. This is a very pretty little tune, and the accompanying video – bless them – is hilarious.

The laid-back mood continues with Hawkwind (no, seriously) – here in a mellow, almost jazzy mood – with the appropriately-titled City of Lagoons.

We then move on to what I think of as two character-driven pieces. The first – for “The Old Wolf” – is the partisan anthem Bella Ciao. This is my favourite version, and it’s by Italian folk-rockers Modena City Ramblers. The following number – and this one’s for Federica – is Dotti, Medici e Sapienti by the great Edoardo Bennato. If you’re wondering what this one’s doing here…it’s from a concept album about Pinocchio.

Back to more summery sounds, and Joe Satriani’s instrumental A Day at the Beach, followed by Pink Floyd at their gentlest and prettiest, with A Pillow of Winds. “Sleepy time, and I lie, with my love by my side, and she’s breathing low.” The music is by David Gilmour, and the lyrics – perhaps surprisingly – by Roger Waters…

Things start to get a bit more serious, and we have a funeral scene accompanied by Mozart’s Ave Verum Corpus. And then things start to get properly grim, kicking off with Blue Oyster Cult’s acerbic This Ain’t the Summer of Love.

Then we’re joined by our old friend Stelvio Cipriani, and the suite from the tough 70s thriller La polizia ha le mani legate, and the Alabama 3’s Woke up this morning, the theme tune to “The Sopranos”.

Now when I was younger, and grumpier, the soundtrack – and even the book – might have ended there. But I’m in my fifties now, and – SPOILERS – I appreciate the value of a good happy ending. We don’t get many of those in real life, and so I think they’re ever more important in fiction. Jovanotti’s Baciami ancora is the sound of being on holiday, of wondering whether to have one or two Negronis before dinner, and, ultimately, of wanting nothing more than to be with the one you love under the stars on a warm summer’s night. Sentimental, perhaps, but why not? It’s a honeymoon novel after all, and it deserves a lovely song like this to finish on.

With my thanks to you all, once again, and wishing you, wherever you are, happy walks in the sun in the not-too-distant future.

Baci, and Buon Ascolto!

Philip

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