SFF Song of the Week: Ricardo Pinto

This week’s SFF Song of the Week comes from the fascinating Ricardo Pinto,  whose novels include The Stone Dance of the Chameleon and The Third God.  Ricardo is a pal of legendary SF artist Jim Burns, which is how I got to know him.  And Jim did this amazing cover for Stone Dance:

Love that elephant god…

NOTE:  This one isn’t available on iTunes I’m afraid, but just follow Ricardo’s link (ie click on Angels and Visitations)  to listen to an excerpt under the ‘fair use’ legislation – and if you like it, buy the album!

Ricardo Pinto writes:

When I am ‘actually’ writing I rarely listen to music, finding that
its rhythms can interfere with those of the prose I am composing.
However, when I am working on planning I often have something on in the
background. I use playlists to accompany general ‘thinking’ – Harold
Budd, Brian Eno, etc – and much baroque – Bach, Rameau, Couperin, Byrd
etc. During more intense ‘thinking’ I might listen to Tangerine Dream,
Piazzolla, Varese, Philip Glass.

When more focused on actual scenes, I have developed a habit of
assembling pieces into a ‘soundtrack’: sometimes music that represents a
specific theme or character in a process somewhat analogous to what Wagner’s leitmotifs;
or that I use to accompany a particular chapter. It is one of these last
that I would like to present here.

Angels and Visitations is
by the Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara, one of several modern
composers that I have found myself gravitating towards more and more as
I have grown older. He creates soundscapes that I find exquisitely
atmospheric and that mesh fruitfully with the images in my mind.

I listen to all my music from hard disks and have been unable to find
the original CD with its booklet, however, what I remember (perhaps
erroneously) is that Rautavaara wrote this piece as a reaction to a time
when he was lying ill and perceived an angel to be standing at the foot
of his bed; a being that utterly terrified him. This story found strange
resonance with the Masters in my Stone Dance trilogy
who consider themselves angels and are a terror to those they rule.
Angels and Visitations formed part of a particular
constellation of themes, but became the dominant soundtrack for the
chapter Blood Gate in my book The Third God in
which my trilogy reaches a final crisis of the utmost violence and

Angels and Visitations is in itself a drama that it seems to
me could only have been written post Freud. For beneath its Hieronymous
Bosch surface (The Garden of Earthly Delights perhaps?) I sense
there moves the leviathan of what Jung would call our collective
unconscious, so that this piece does with sound what I feel works of
fantasy seek to do with words.

(I have included a link above (and here) to Angels and Visitations because it seems
to me rather pointless to discuss a piece of music without it being
possible to listen to it. I realize that this may be seen as breaching
copyright, however, I do this with the hope that it may cause people to
go out and buy some Rautuvaara and thus that what I am actually doing is
promoting his work)

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