Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Charles Dickens was not a musician. You might have already been aware of that little piece of trivia. The fact is, though, that Dickens had a very musical ear. He also had an incredibly cinematic imagination, which is all the more amazing since the motion picture camera wasn’t invented until 25 years after his death!! [FYI: Louis Lumiere is often credited as inventing the first motion picture camera in 1895.]

So what’s all this got to do with the Musician in the Middle of Nowhere??

Over the years, I have read all the novels of Dickens (there’s around 30 of them), and am now reading through them all again, along with a lot of extra material, such as the travel books, short stories, magazine articles, etc. And as I was reading, I noticed several passages that would make terrific texts for music. So I started to extract them, adapt them, and versify them. The result is that I have composed a set of seven choral pieces (SATB) with piano accompaniment that I am putting under the general title of “The Best of Times”.

The seven passages are from The Old Curiosity Shop, American Notes (2), Pictures of Italy, Martin Chuzzelwit, A Christmas Carol and (of course) A Tale of Two Cities.

I didn’t plan on a rendezvous with any particular event, but the odd fact is that 2012 will be the 200th anniversary of Dickens’ birth. It’s a nice way to celebrate one of my favorite authors.

Here are a couple of pages from “A Small Tyranny” (taken from the first chapter of Martin Chuzzelwit)

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