An Autobiography: Chapter 14, Sunflower Suite

| 7/9/2012 2:21:45 PM

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After Georgianna’s final exit, I realized more every day that her Sunflower story was important, and I thought about producing a CD with the story. I knew the story had to have a beautiful music background, and I searched through my record collection of 3,000, but I couldn’t find the perfect music.

We always went to bed at night listening to music. The radio on Georgianna’s night table was set to the PBS station for classical music, and the radio automatically went off after 59 minutes. She always reset it when she read late, keeping it low if I was already asleep.

One night in the summer of 2002, I was in bed reading, when I heard beautiful music that sounded like “sunflowers.” It had the sound of English tone poems on one hand, and I thought it might be a concerto for violin with the beautiful violin music I was hearing. When the piece ended, the announcer gave the title: ‘Butterfly Lovers’ Violin Concerto, the Czecho-Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra, Takako Nishizaki, violinist. I thought to myself, there is my music for the Sunflower CD! 

The next day I learned that the CD was on the NAXOS label, a company in Franklin, Tennessee, a suburb of Nashville. NAXOS is the world’s largest independent classical label and was founded in 1987 by German-born Klaus Heymann, resident of Hong Kong. I ordered the CD and saw that it included seven musical pieces. I listened intently to all of them, some several times, but kept going back to “Romance,” very expressive and romantic music written by Qin Yong-cheng. Takako Nishizaki’s violin and orchestra together evoke an exciting yet romantic texture. The recapitulation of the theme moves to a sweet and relaxing finale.

Lady Violin 

“Romance” is 4:59 minutes long, and when I read the story with the music, it was a perfect blend. The music is so perfect, in fact, you would think the music was written for the story. I called NAXOS and made an appointment. After telling the first person I met with my story and what I wanted, and asking for the use of the music with no royalty, he got me in to see Mr. Heymann, who happened to be there on one of his periodic visits to the states.

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