Symphony of Seduction

Symphony of Seduction: The Great Love Stories of Classical Composers
By Christopher Lawrence
Nero, $29.99 AUD

First thing’s first, there’s something you should know. I’ve enjoyed classical music from a young age, but I’ll admit that I’ve never known much about the composers behind the pieces I love. It’s all too easy to imagine a chasm between who we are and who they were. To assume that the soaring perfection of the music must have come from cloistered, untouchable geniuses. It’s also easy to imagine that any book about them would be dry, or intimidating. Instead, Christopher Lawrence’s Symphony of Seduction, is playful. It’s a valuable reminder that romantic misadventures can befall anyone. Love crosses boundaries, and so does music.

Symphony of Seduction contains a selection of stories about the love lives of some of history’s greatest composers. The facts have been filled out with colourful imaginings, making the contents of this book extremely human. We are tricky, capricious, hungry animals. We make bad choices, we follow paper-thin dreams. We want to be seen. To be indulged, and loved. These composers had more than talent in common, and I was surprised by the high stake turns so many of their relations took. In reviewing this book, I knew that I didn’t want to give much away in case you’re like me- this book could be full of jaw drop moments for you. It’s tempting to slip in some of the surprising revelations, but I think it’s far better to approach stories openly, with good humour and a glass of wine. I had no idea how any of these tales would play out, which made it all the more fun. You may reach the end and find, as I did, a strong desire to revisit the works of these composers, as soon as possible. Luckily, an album has been released in conjunction which offers an immersive experience. I like to think that this book will serve as a gateway, inspiring readers to listen more, learn more. Pick up a copy, and enjoy it with a generous serving of chocolate.

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