Wednesday, September 03, 2014

The Lost Chord: An Introduction to a Classical Music Appreciation Thriller

You've heard of nasty critics. Well, maybe his up-dating of the Faust Legend was bound to be controversial – setting it in a 21st Century corporation with the very model of a modern CEO as Mephistopheles – and someone may want the opera's premiere canceled, but is that enough reason to murder the composer? Is that, in fact, why Robertson Sullivan was murdered?

Dr. Richard Kerr returns for a second “classical music appreciation comedy thriller” and gets caught up in the investigation of his childhood friend's death which takes him from the crime scene at a writer's colony in the Poconos to the Schweinwald Music Festival in Bavaria where someone is trying their best to undermine his opera's world premiere.

Meet Robertson Sullivan, composer and son of a wealthy Wall Street family, whose Faustus Inc. could be – finally – his big breakthrough. Then, there's his beautiful cousin, LauraLynn Harty.

Why is someone after their great-grandfather's journal, kept when he was a student at the legendary Schweinwald Academy with fellow students Gustav Mahler (then 20), Hans Rott and Ethel Smyth? What could the journal – most of it written in code – possibly contain that would be worth killing for?

And who is this maniac calling himself Tr'iTone who has targeted Dr. Kerr to find that “Fountain of Inspiration” Sullivan was always talking about?

Meet the Chief of the International Music Police's Special Forces, Yoda Leahy-Hu and her agents, K. Gelida Manina, Wanda Menvaux and Milton Leise as they try to apprehend Dr. Kerr who, along with V.C. D'Arcy, appears to have absconded with... is that a headless bobble-head doll, the Maltese Mozart?

There are also Iobbha Dhabbodhú and an aging agent with SHMRG (still out to control the classical music industry) named Garth Widor, not to mention Skripasha Scricci, a failed classical prodigy turned over-the-hill rock-star, and internet arts reporter Fictitia LaMouche who's always looking for a good scoop.

And for that matter, what does Beethoven have to do with it? Or his Immortal Belovéd? Anything?

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On Thursday, September 4th, I will begin serializing The Lost Chord, the second novel in The Klangfarben Trilogy with additional installments following (assuming I can keep on schedule) each Monday and Thursday right here on Thoughts on a Train.

While it's basically a parody of the mystery-thriller genre, The Lost Chord also contains parodies of two great scenes from the Marx Brothers' Night at the Opera, complete with a send-up of the 1st Act Finale from Rossini's Barber of Seville plus another version of Abbot & Costello's famous "Who's on First" (oh come on, do you think I'm going to come up with a character named Yoda Leahy-Hu and not do "Hu's on First"?)

You can read the first novel in the series, The Doomsday Symphony, here – but the subsequent novels are independent (aside from some character tie-ins and occasional cross-references) so you don't really need to have read that one to enjoy this one, but hey... why not?

(For that matter, you can read my first music appreciation thriller, The Schoenberg Code – the ultimate serial novel – here, a parody of Dan Brown's best-selling The Da Vinci Code.)

Last month, I completed the third novel in the series, The Labyrinth of Klavdia Klangfarben which contains the short story The House of dePaula Escher and Rainer Knussbaum's Tale of the Master and of His Belovéd.

What does Beethoven have to do with it...?

Stay tuned...

- Dick Strawser

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