“Charles Jessold” takes place in England before and after World War I, a time when people like Percy Grainger and Ralph Vaughan Williams and composers of the so-called “cowpat school” were racing around the countryside with gramophones, recording farmers and laborers in hopes of capturing an authentic English sound. The story is told by a pompous hack of a music critic named Leslie Shepherd, who belongs to the great tradition of unreliable narrators and manages to miss just about everything of musical importance important going on then.
Shepherd is convinced that his young friend, a promising young composer named Charles Jessold, is mystically linked to the Renaissance Italian composer Carlo Gesualdo, notorious for murdering his wife and her lover after finding them in bed together, and indeed, on the night Jessold’s great opera opens, he is found dead, an apparent suicide, next to his murdered wife and her lover. A further connection, which Shepherd does not fail to dwell on, is that Jessold’s opera, “Little Musgrave,” based on the English folk ballad, is about another man who slays his wife and her lover. [NYTimes.com]
In support of the release of his new novel, Stace is about to embark on a book tour with some concert dates sprinkled throughout. He’ll be at the City Winery on March 11 doing his regular Cabinet of Wonders gig with several special guests including: Andrew Bird, David Wax Museum, Paul Muldoon, Tift Merritt, Daniel Felsenfeld & The Jessold Consort, Eugene Mirman, JWH, Jonathan Coe and Kristin Hersh (Buy Tickets). He’ll also be reading at BookCourt with Jonathan Coe on March 10.
More Wesley Stace/John Wesley Harding tour dates after the jump.
Wesley Stace Book and Concert Tour Dates
Mar 02 Seattle, WA Elliott Bay Book Co. (Reading)
Mar 03 Los Angeles, CA Central Library (Reading)
Mar 04 Portland, OR Live Wire! Radio Alberta Rose Theater (Radio)
Mar 06 Portland, OR Powell’s Books (Reading)
Mar 09 Boston, MA Newtonville Books (Reading w/ Jonathan Coe)
Mar 10 Brooklyn, NY BookCourt (Reading w/ Jonathan Coe)
Mar 11 New York, NY City Winery (w/ Special Guests)
Mar 12 Metuchen, NJ The Raconteur (Reading w/ Jonathan Coe)
Mar 22 Philadelphia, PA Free Library (Reading w/ David Levithan)
Apr 15 Chicago, IL Lincoln Hall (Concert)
Apr 22 New York, NY City Winery (w/ Special Guests)
May 07 Moorestown, NJ Jen & Dave’s (Concert)
Jun 17 Brooklyn, NY Long Island U. Brooklyn Campus (Panel)