About this project
Do you love reading mysteries? Do you love listening to great music? Well, so do we! Our challenge was to figure out how to combine the two to create a single great listening experience! This is how we did it with Devil's Trill, and, with your support, how we're going to do it with its sequel, Danse Macabre!
Click HERE to enjoy my performance of Danse Macabre while you read about our great project!
Creating a ground-breaking audio book with DEVIL'S TRILL in 2016 was a daunting task that involved painstaking team building. Why? Because what we did had never been done before! It took years to find a visionary producer in Alison Larkin, who insisted on somehow integrating the music--so central to the murder mystery--into the context of the narrative. The next step was snagging a top caliber reader, the renowned Jim Frangione, to become the voice not only of the curmudgeonly, blind, amateur sleuth violin teacher, Daniel Jacobus, but of all the other characters as well.
Then of course came the music! Paganini, Bach, Mendelssohn, Sarasate, Tartini (the composer of the "Devil's Trill" Sonata), and even a piece I composed for a fictional, diminutive 17th century virtuoso named Piccolino who was as famous as a lover as he was for his violin playing. I spent months practicing theses excerpts from DEVIL'S TRILL, which not only is great music but which also provide clues to solving the mystery! Then hours more in a recording studio, making endless takes of each excerpt and distilling it all down to only that which was essential for the listener to savor without disturbing the flow of the story.
Put it all together, and you get...
With Jim having laid down the entire reading, we all hunkered down together for a whole day in a tiny recording studio in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, where we anguished over fractions of a second, weaving together the text and the music into a seamless tapestry.
Audiofile's glowing review of DEVIL'S TRILL: Set against a steamy backdrop of summer in New York City, this slow-burn suspense revolves around a stolen violin, a corrupt competition, and a disgruntled ex-virtuoso. Jim Frangione embodies the grizzled music instructor turned gumshoe Jacobus with a cantankerous tone that is in direct contrast to the compliant tone and clipped accent of Yumi, his Japanese student. Violin performances by the author sprinkled throughout provide clues to aid in solving the mystery, which will be appreciated by those musically inclined and provide a pleasant backdrop for those who are not...a solid mystery.
Now, for our next act!
People loved the audio book of DEVIL'S TRILL so much, our team--Alison, Jim, and I--decided we wanted to give it another go with the second installment of the Daniel Jacobus series, DANSE MACABRE, which Library Journal declared to be "one of the top five mysteries" of 2010!
What is DANSE MACABRE about?
Just after his Carnegie Hall swansong and before his imminent departure for retirement in France, beloved violinist and humanitarian Rene Allard is brutally murdered with a mysterious weapon. His young African American rival, crossover artist BTower, is spotted at the scene of the crime hovering over the contorted body of Allard with blood on his hands. In short order the aloof and arrogant BTower is convicted and sentenced to death, in part the result of the testimony of blind and curmudgeonly violin pedagogue Daniel Jacobus, like millions of others, an ardent admirer of Allard. Justice has been done...or has it? Jacobus is dragged back into the case kicking and screaming, and reluctantly follows a trail of broken violins and broken lives as it leads inexorably to the truth, and to his own mortal peril.
The Verdict on DANSE MACABRE:
"...a glimpse into the soul of a musician and the relationships among the artist, the music, and the instrument. And then there is one-of-a-kind virtuoso Jacobus, perhaps one of the most unique protagonists in mysteries. Elias’s debut, Devil’s Trill, was a great reading experience; his new book is outstanding. A musical feast for mystery and music lovers." LIBRARY JOURNAL
"The refreshingly caustic Jacobus, a cast of superbly drawn supporting characters, an interesting classical music milieu accessible to aficionados and neophytes alike, an unexpected twist or two, and a unique murder method combine for an engrossing read." PUBLISHERS WEEKLYWith your support we can begin the work in the fall and make it all happen by the end of 2017--the recordings of the story and the music; the studio time to blend it all together; and the MAGIC of a unique audio book experience!
Risks and challenges
Nothing about the approach we've taken to create these audio books is traditional. In Alison Larkin Presents we're breaking new artistic ground with a small, young independent company with a creative vision. Likewise, we need to take a nontraditional funding route to make it work. In that spirit I'm reaching out to the people who loved Devil's Trill and will love Danse Macabre to help fund this one. All the funding will take care of production costs. We'll take care of marketing, distribution, and promotion. So every dollar you donate will go directly to making the story!
I'll close by saying there's nothing like working with true professionals! As a former violinist with the Boston Symphony and associate concertmaster of the Utah Symphony, I know what it's like to be among the best. That's why collaborating with Alison Larkin and Jim Frangione has been a slam dunk. They're experts in their field and have earned a reputation for maintaining the highest standards in their professions. I KNOW that when we put our respective talents together to make DANSE MACABRE the result will be nothing short of breathtaking.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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