Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Kate Noble: Pianos, Pianos Everywhere

I am really no good at music.  I mean, I appreciate music.  I enjoy a good soundtrack.  I sing along with the radio in my car.  But those piano lessons my parents forced me into as a kid didn’t really stick, and a quickly moved on to an instrument that was more my speed. (The trumpet, only three keys.)  And even that fades away with time.  So it might seem as a surprise that my latest book is almost entirely about music.

 Of course, Let It Be Me not only about music.  It’s about Bridget Forrester, who upon making a bad impression in her first London season, really needs a fresh start for her second one.  So when she receives a letter from renowned composer Vincenzo Carpenini to study piano with him, she doesn’t hesitate, but hops on board a ship to Venice, Italy.  However, when she arrives, Carpenini has never heard of her.  But his friend Oliver Merrick, who has been writing letters on his behalf, has – and embroils Bridget in a musical wage that will have her playing a piano concert in front of all of Venice high society.

 But, even though I am really no good at music, the one thing I do know is that a really good musician needs a really beautiful instrument.  This of course, was an excellent excuse for me to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s musical instrument collection.  (Yes, I’m a huge nerd.  And if you’re not, well, I have no idea what you’re doing visiting this blog.)

I saw this one at the museum, and thought it was a lovely harpsichord.  But if we are going to be in Venice, then perhaps it is a little too plain, a little too… puritan.  The piano Bridget plays must have verve, it must have life!

This one was my next choice, and it was a top contender for a while.  I love the flowers in the woodwork on the paneling, the gilded scrolls on the side and the legs – I’m sure it plays a really mean Beethoven, too.  But even while a beautiful work of art, this is a piano that would not be out of place in a living room (a really nice living room, but still).  What I needed was something grand, something beautiful, but also something that was a spectacle.

 Now THIS is a piano you play at a concert in Venice in front of all of society!  It’s not just gilt, it’s encrusted.  The piano body rises out of the foam on the backs of mermen!  Mermen!  I have no idea if there are even any keys inside this thing, and I sincerely doubt it ever stays in tune, but if I’m going to play Beethoven’s piano sonata no. 23 in front of the world, I would certainly want to do it at this piano.

 Research is really the most fun part of writing isn’t it? And while you’ll have to read Let It Be Me to see what kind of piano ends up being played – also, how Bridget and Oliver overcome their obstacles and fall in love – I am happy to just kick back and sigh, and think about the kind of music these pianos could produce.


Mary Preston said...

A lot fancier then the piano I learned to play on as a child. With something so gorgeous I might have been inspired to practice more.

Mary Kirkland said...

I love that cover and that beautiful green dress. green is one of my favorite colors so you really got me with that one. Those piano's are really stunning.

Scarlet Wilson said...

Kate just wanted to comment and say that is one of the nicest book covers I've seen in a long time. Really stunning!

Connie said...

As a little kid I could play chopsticks, but that is way in the past. I adore piano music and when I watch and hear someone play, I am awed. Kate Noble is such a fabulous author and I love her novels. I am this one on my Wish List and cannot wait to read it!

Pat Cochran said...

Honey & I won a trip to Venice some years
ago. The lounge in both of the four-hundred
-year-old hotels where we stayed contained
beautiful pianos. The one that I especially
liked was taupe in color with teal,turquoise
and gold-accented carvings. On the under-
side of the piano cover was a gorgeous sea-
scape in a variety of blues, teals,and tur-
quoises. I would have been so afraid to play
such a beautiful instrument!

I look forward to reading this book!!

Pat C.

Pat Cochran said...

We won a trip to Venice some years back.
We stayed at hotels, housed in four hun-
dred-year-old buildings, whose lounges
were the home of some beautiful pianos.
The piano I especially liked was taupe in
color with teal and gold accented carvings.
On the underside of the piano cover was a
gorgeous seascape in a variety of blues,
teals, and turquoises. I would have been
afraid to try playing such a beautiful

I look forward to reading your book!

Pat C.

Pat Cochran said...


Pat C.