Symphony of Seduction: A book review by Fraser Beath McEwing

May 13, 2018 by Fraser McEwing
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Celebrity love affairs have always attracted public interest, especially when the participants are in the creative arts. It is in this light that we look for pre and post bed (or elsewhere) techniques that might be interpreted as extensions of the artistic pursuit.

Fraser Beath McEwing

In his latest book, Symphony of Seduction, ABC classical music broadcaster, Christopher Lawrence, not only lifts the steamy lid on the romantic lives of 10 famous composers, but also has fictionalised the narrative to create dialogue and settings. This, of course, may lose some dour history readers but will gain those who like to be entertained as well as informed.

As a broadcaster, Lawrence has a unique style that endears him to his audience with his pinpoint accuracy coupled with tongue-in-cheek commentary. Hilarity is always just below the surface. He takes a much more candid approach to his composer subjects in Symphony of Seductiondemonstrating, perhaps, that romance is always a comedy, especially when viewed from the outside. It must be said that he casts off the restraints of public radio when he gets into print, with some raunchy scenes. Lust, rather than romantic love, seems to drive most of his composers, Chopin being the exception with his frail health and wariness of physical intimacy – even with the randy George Sands .

We become a fly on the wall (or sometimes hovering in the air) to witness the love trysts of Sate, Berlioz, Mozart, Brahms, Schumann, Chopin, Debussy, Schumann and others.

Christopher Lawrence

To a many of us who were introduced to the lives of famous composers through their music, and imagined them to be above the darker demands of the flesh, this is a revealing, as well as laugh-aloud book. They could be coarse, tender, flippant or wise, but music always drove their behaviour first and foremost. Lust and love fitted into the creative gaps.

By necessity, the book takes an intense, but time-limited look at the coupling and uncoupling of these male composers and their women. And in doing so, Lawrence reveals himself as an inventive, stylish writer capable of turning out quality fiction not necessarily related to music.

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