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Old 09-14-2014, 02:17 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 895
Default The Music of Lovecraft

Alexey Voytenko "The music of Erich Zann" for violin solo (2009) - YouTube

"The Music of Erich Zann" is an H. P. Lovecraft 1921 short story that can be read here:

"The Music of Erich Zann" by H. P. Lovecraft

When I was a boy, I read my first Lovecraft stories--"The Nameless," "The Outsider" and "Pickman's Model." Then I found "The Dunwich Horror" in some old anthology when I was about 13. At this time, few people had read him or even heard of him. The only anthologies of his stories were put out by Arkham House which was founded by two of Lovecraft's proteges and were not easy to find. But the local public library did have a few of them and I read through them all voraciously.

By the time I hit high school, I was surprised to find that they had stocked the school library with a number of HPL paperbacks and a number of Cthulhu Mythos volumes as well. In this books I discovered other wonderful stories by authors I had not previously heard of. One story by Anthony Boucher called "They Bite" really struck me (Look past the introductory comments):

The Creative Classroom by Mitch Lopate, M.A.T. - Academic Mentoring Support : "They Bite" by Anthony Boucher

The school library also stocked L. Sprague de Camp's definitive and earliest known biography of Lovecraft (although I read a comic book form biography in Arcade, I believe it was, and Heavy Metal put out a special Lovecraft edition a couple of years later). I learned he had an unhappy childhood because his mother was a fruitcake who kept him away from other children, convinced him he was chronically ill and instilled in him a racist outlook. He had no friends, no girls to hook up with. He tried to enlist in WWI but his mother badgered the draft board so incessantly that they finally excluded him. When she died crazy in an asylum (just as his father had when Howard was 8), Lovecraft, now 30, had missed out on a great deal of life but started making up for it. But he overcame his hypochondria nor his racism (although he eased up a bit as he got older). He died of Bright's Disease at Jane Brown Memorial Hospital in his hometown of Providence in 1937 at the age of 47.

Not until Anton Szandor LaVey started to promote his stories in the 60s, did Lovecraft begin to receive notice and distribution (prior to that, his writings were actually considered pornographic). But his rise in popularity to cultural icon coincided with the rise of the internet and I doubt this is coincidence.

Orchestral work called "Cthulhu Rising":

Cthulhu Rising: Orchestra and Choir Horror Music - YouTube

Some more by the same guy--Graham Plowman:

HP Lovecraft's The Call of Cthulhu: Soundtrack Part 3 Orchestra Horror - YouTube

It's good to see serious classical treatments being given to Lovecraft, he has been somewhat apotheosized in metal for some years now as one would expect (although I didn't like Metallica's "call of Kutulu" tbh). Some of the industrial/noise scene also took to Lovecraftian imagery.

Cool stuff here:

Musica Cthulhiana - Arkham Sanatorium - YouTube

Lovecraftian Music - AKLO - Beyond Madness - YouTube

Lovecraft could be the next evolution in classical music as the genre gets darker and more dissonant. And this may gain it the new fans it has been missing for so long.
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