Classics Challenge – September Prompt: Music

Classic Challenge 2012This year I am taking part in a Classics Challenge hosted by Katherine of November’s Autumn. The goal is to read at least seven classics in 2012 and every month Katherine is posting a prompt to help us discuss the books we are reading.

This month’s prompt is to select a piece of…


…that you feel reflects the book. Modern, classical, jazz, anything, it doesn’t have to be from the period of the novel but share what it is about the piece that echoes the novel in someway.

I don’t listen to music when I’m reading because I just don’t hear it when I’m lost in the words and the story. But some books automatically bring music into my head as the book I’m reading this month does. It’s the classic science fiction – The War of the Worlds by H G Wells and the music is Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of The War of the Worlds, an album that we bought in 1978 – wonderful music and words bringing the book to life. It’s narrated by Richard Burton with songs by David Essex, Julie Covington and Justin Hayward.

The opening words and music are always thrilling, heralding the coming of the Martians to Earth:

No one would have believed, in the last years of the nineteenth century, that human affairs were being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man’s and yet as mortal as his own; that as men busied themselves about their affairs they were scrutinized and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinize the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water. With infinite complacency men went to and fro over this globe about their little affairs, serene in their assurance of their empire over matter.

The clip below is ‘Thunder Child’, the warship that destroys two Martian tripods before being sunk.

Whilst I was looking for the clip to include in my post I discovered that there is a new version of Jeff Wayne’s classic album – Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of The War of the Worlds, the New Generation, to be released on 12 November, which features Liam Neeson, Gary Barlow, Joss Stone and Ricky Wilson.

3 thoughts on “Classics Challenge – September Prompt: Music

  1. A question came up in one of the newspaper quizzes about War of the Worlds this weekend: what did H G Wells say were the chances of anything coming from Mars. The answer came to me in song form, which says much for the power of the musical. I’ve never seen or heard it right through, but I did like the book.


  2. Jeff Wayne has been milking that album ever since it came out – I remember buying the original double vinyl on the day of issue, and every few years there’s another anniversary/live etc edition. I really don’t see the need (except for him to make money) of a new version with a different cast though. Ulla! 🙂


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