A large part of this blog is imagining books and characters in different pieces of classical music. But for any one Classical Music Story there are so many others that could be imagined within the music, even using the same book or characters!
And so Classical Music Stories: Choose Your Own Adventure Remix was born.
How it works: each segment of this approximately 4-minute piece of music is imagined to relate to a different part of the story (in this case, Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre). Start reading at the very beginning (0:00) and on until the first juncture where you can choose what Rochester does next. Then it’s as simple as continuing to make choices and following the story and music until the end! You can either listen to the music while reading, pause the music in between sections when you have to make a decision, or listen to the music first all the way through and follow the story in a second listen-through. The choice (once again) is yours!
Haydn String Quartet in G, H111 No. 66, Op. 64 No. 4 – 1. Allegro con brio
Performed by The Angeles String Quartet
0:00-0:18 Mr. Rochester is immensely happy and proud that he has secured the love of Celine Varens. He is currently on his way to see her, flowers in hand.
For Rochester to interact with other people, go to a)
For Rochester to continue reveling in his own self-confidence, go to b)
a) 0:18-0:29 On his way to her apartment, a couple of people try to delay Rochester (low and high notes), but his love blinds him to their schemes: he peremptorily pushes past them and continues his joyful approach of the apartment.
0:29-0:42 Though blind to their true intentions, Rochester is not blind to the fact that the two tried to delay him from reaching Celine’s apartment. He interprets their actions as stemming from jealousy, which coincidentally only serves to increase his pride. After all, Celine is so beautiful and charming that they would be fools not to try to block his approach! They obviously want her for themselves. But it is he who has won her!
0:42-0:53 The two solicitous bystanders watch his approach. They are unsure of what to do and sympathize with Rochester, but they just can’t look away from the imminent tragedy.
0:53-0:59 Now Rochester sees Celine approaching, her beauty and charms shining forth as she says something out of hearing range (obviously to someone, but that is insignificant to him). He watches her in adoration. But then he begins to notice the person who is walking beside her in a growing sense of jealous astonishment.
1:00-1:12 Rochester sees a man with Celine. He is extremely handsome, unlike himself, and is obviously flirting with Celine. Rochester’s jealousy is so extreme that it actually begins to bleed through into our image of the man. Still unaware of her audience, Celine laughs affectedly but affectionately at what the man is saying. It sounds incredibly hollow to Rochester’s ears.
1:12-1:30 Rochester somewhat frantically tries to reassure himself that it is he who has won Celine’s heart—it can’t be what it looks like.
1:30-1:53 But then he suddenly remembers the two who tried to obstruct his path a moment before. Yet he is so desperate to keep Celine pure in his mind that he adamantly denies any truth to his growing suspicions and works himself back up to an even more adamant (and now even less believable) assertion of his dominance and attraction for Celine.
For Rochester to continue the struggle within his mind, go to c)
For Rochester to see the bystanders in real life, go to d)
c) 1:54-2:05 Suddenly, he sees those same two bystanders watching him. In their faces is the same expression they were wearing earlier, only now Rochester recognizes not jealousy but worry and pity for him.
Go to e)
d) 1:54-2:05 Again he sees, in his same reeling mind, those same two bystanders. He understands now the worry and pity that were written on their faces.
e) 2:05-2:23 While Rochester is experiencing this inner turmoil, Celine is unmercifully and unknowingly continuing her lighthearted banter with the man. Likewise, the man continues his unashamed flirting with her, producing the same jealous affect on poor Rochester. As Celine’s laughter rings hollow yet again, they continue to unconsciously but deeply stab him to the core.
2:24-2:51 Rochester realizes there is only one thing for him to do. He decides to hide behind the curtain in Celine’s apartment in order to surprise them when they enter. His mind is reeling so much that he clings to this resolution as something concrete. He refuses to think past the moment when he will surprise them in the act. Yet a brief moment of doubt does enter his mind: maybe there is a simple explanation to all of this. After all, how could he be so faithless as to think that Celine would ever cheat on him?
2:47-3:04 Nonetheless, he is not able to stay in this trusting position long, but almost immediately returns to increasing amounts of jealousy until the it climaxes with the remembrance of those two bystanders watching him in pity. But now, in the middle of these reflections, he hears some footsteps at the door (repeated notes) and holds his breath in painful expectation as Celine and the man finally enter the room…
3:04-3:20 Oh no. Rochester sees his own feelings of confidence and mutual love reflected on this man’s face. Now it is this man who holds Rochester’s perfect confidence in Celine’s love, leaving Rochester’s with a shattered, heartbroken version of the same.
3:20-3:27 In his broken despair, Rochester realizes that the two bystanders who pitied him were absolutely right.
3:27-3:33 So now Rochester steps out and is seen by Celine and the man. While they are both shocked and Celine is frantic, Rochester is immersed in an emotion-numbing bubble that separates him somewhat from the reality of what is taking place.
3:34-3:52 Celine frantically tries to convince Rochester that it’s not what it looks like, that she loves only him, and that surely he will forgive her. She tries to act like it’s just a big misunderstanding and laugh it off. But as she sees Rochester’s stone hard visage, she begins desperately plead with him (long, expectant note). You will forgive me, won’t you? Please??
3:52-3:57 NOPE. Instead, Rochester recounts to Celine the deep love and admiration he once felt for her.
3:58-4:09 Celine latches onto this and still tries to salvage the situation by telling him it will all be as it once was, with him loving her and she him. She makes herself as charming as possible, feigning joy and love for him.
4:09-4:18 And now Celine plays her ace as she tenderly approaches Rochester and whispers, “Remember when?” Remember when we were so in love, all the good times we had? We can have those again. Don’t you know you’re the only one I could ever love?
4:18-end But the damage is done. All Rochester can hear are lies coming out of her mouth—only heartless lies that he was once naïve enough to believe.
b) 0:18-0:29 Rochester imagines the conversation he will shortly have with her: him in the confident lover’s role and she in the loving and compliant role. These daydreams only increase his joyful expectation.
0:29-0:42 The more he imagines, the more he looks forward to seeing Celine again!
0:42-0:53 But we as readers-turned-listeners know that tragedy is coming for them, and feel nervous as a result.
0:53-0:59 Our perspective returns to Rochester with his happy memories of Celine’s beauty and charms.
1:00-1:12 Plot twist—Rochester sounds even more ardent and noble in this daydream, especially peaking in a stronger feeling of love towards the end…what if he were actually planning on proposing to Celine today! The higher notes are then her (imagined) overwhelmed, flustered, but overall happy reaction.
1:12-2:23 Rochester then imagines their life after marriage: his love and confidence in her will be even more perfect than it already is, and he proceeds to reimagine everything in this more joyful and secure state of marriage.
2:24-3:04 Rochester’s confident joy becomes mixed with our own dismay and impending sense of tragedy for him…especially at the much softer notes where our sense of the impending tragedy peaks.
3:04-3:27 Rochester continues in his blissful daydreams, but now we as the narrator/omniscient party insert our own continued feelings of tragedy and anxiety.
3:34-3:52 Rochester continues to grow (as if that were possible!) in his love and self-confidence. But now he suddenly sees Celine—and with another man!
For Celine to see him, go to f) For Rochester to remain unseen, go to g)
f) 3:49-3:52 Celine sees him, too, and tentatively greets him, hoping he doesn’t understand the gravity of the situation…
3:52-4:09 Rochester begins to recite his love and confidence to her as planned, but leaves off in his doubt at the man’s presence. He tells her of how wonderful their life could have been, mixing joyful images with his sorrow.
4:10-end Here’s the climax: Rochester brings up the most perfect, idyllic picture of what their marriage would have been like, and Celine sees it through his eyes, how his love for her would have been complete. Ironically, the same music that previously expressed Rochester’s hopes of her happy speechlessness to his marriage proposal now express her dismay and speechlessness over what she has given up.
g) 3:49-3:52 The dreams that Rochester had entertained of Celine’s lighthearted, joyful acceptance of his marriage proposal mock him in his own mind.
3:52-3:57 He tries to convince himself that he is overreacting and that the man is probably just a friend.
3:57-4:00 But then he sees her oh-so-obvious flirtation with him.
4:00-4:09 The listener’s sense of foreboding is now fulfilled as the pair’s lighthearted banter signals the death toll for Rochester’s love for Celine.
4:10-end Here’s the climax: Rochester sees the pair looking into each other’s eyes with, what he at least imagines to be, pure love. His hopes for Celine’s acceptance of him fall completely flat in his mind as his dreams return to mock him one last time.
So which path did you choose? What do you think about the concept of a choose your own adventure story alongside classical music? Let me know in the comments!!