Influencing Hearts and Conversations

I can’t let the day pass without ‘mentioning’ that it is Alessandro Stradella‘s birthday (April 3, 1639, Nepi, near Rome, Italy).Stradella_pe_pe resized

Of course, he is the focus of my historical fiction A House Near Luccoli, but he is very much present in the sequel, which was released on March 10th.

Here are a couple of excerpts from To A Strange Somewhere Fled. Through his music and more, he continues to influence hearts and conversations.


There was the appropriate silence before Lonati was as elegant and amiable with bow and violin as no other activity afforded him. With every stroke, nod and faraway expression, he was an echo of Alessandro, exacting the very best from the composition and the late composer’s nature, generous with his talent, uninhibited with his playing, making the music his own only as he adored it. His reminiscent virtuosity swept Donatella onto the waves of Le donne più bella like a ship with a steady breeze in its sails, Reggio’s archlute-continuo encouraging the rolling sensation.


She made her mark as unexpectedly as before, becoming more and more involved with its swirling and sliding and dotting, rising and falling with her shoulders and satisfaction. She was definitely possessed by a melodic hum and laughter in her head, the tease of a draft on her neck, and the surprise that she hadn’t forgotten how to serve a master. She knew he was smiling as she checked her work, a mistake here and there repentantly fixed, page after page turned into another chance to show that, in theory and practice and ways she didn’t need to understand, she was worthy of his presence.

Yes, it felt like he was there, pacing the room and wringing his hands as he realized he couldn’t change anything.  She could, with his permission. What else allowed her to hear a note held longer or twilled higher, a crescendo misplaced, or toccata written more for poetry than a harpsichordist’s dexterity? What would have put such ideas in her head, except the desire of one who had touched her with his variations?


It looked as though Master Purcell was trying to hide under the stairs. Roger inquired about his journey from London and he emerged to reveal that he had interrupted the trip with a night at Oxford and much drinking, and another at Rousham Park and even more feasting.

Donatella didn’t expect him to recognize her, but when Roger moved aside she became “that most courteous copyist who had also forgiven Stradella.”

“And I hope you’ll pardon me, Harry, but the guests will soon arrive and you need to tidy yourself and prepare.” Roger didn’t know he showed concern for anything but the plan for the evening ahead.

“Well, I am a little dusty.” Master Purcell winked in Donatella’s direction. “I wonder if Stradella was always impeccably turned out.”

They walked into the hall and Donatella wanted to tell him about the man she had known as reported but, also, in very different ways. Would Master Purcell believe Alessandro had been in need of friendship more than love, or that he had grown tired of making music for those who only listened to their own importance? Would it seem as ridiculous to say he would have rather roamed the streets, lost in the crowds and songs of Carnival, than found to be wanting in nobler society? She could describe him as flamboyant in disguise and excessive when it came to enjoying himself, yet he had the sense to be gracious in his manners, and even humble when it weighed in his favor and, especially, his purse. She might also reveal the unshaven, disheveled creature that growled with frustration and cursed the affairs that caused him more trouble than they were worth.

Surely, Master Purcell would rather hear about Alessandro’s genius and even his sacred purpose: how the music came to him like the archangel Gabriel, because he was highly chosen with or without the patronage of any prince or princess.

Blessings to all in this season of Easter and Passover.

Stradella’s Oratorio San Giovanni Battista, libretto by Ansakdi Ansaldi, presents the well-known Testament story of John the Baptist who, in trying to turn Herod from worldly pleasures, arouses the anger of his wife’s daughter, which results in John’s decapitation. The text is based on the New Testament gospel according to Mark, Chapter VI, verses 17-21 – in fact, occasionally whole lines are quoted from the Bible.

donatellasmallest©Artwork and writing, unless otherwise indicated, are the property of Diane M Denton. Please request permission to reproduce or post elsewhere with a link back tobardessdmdenton. Thank you.

13 thoughts on “Influencing Hearts and Conversations

    • Thank you so much, Michael! Hope, if you do read it, it will not disappoint. Although it is definitely a sequel, I do think it is a stand alone read, too. I received your poetry book, “Rhythmic Inertia”, and look forward to dedicating some quality time to reading it. All the best.


  1. Beautiful post Diane!
    The trouble with a kindle is we have to rely on electricity to charge them and I misplaced my charger! (Actually John had it!!!) so I went for a few days without being able to read! I ordered a new charger and then we found the original, so now I am going to hide one 😊

    I can now return to Donatella and her experience of Oxford!

    Wishing you and your mum a lovely Easter break ❤️ Xxx


    • Thank you, Christine! Oh, how often I’ve planned on settling down to read before I go to bed and my kindle needs charging. Glad you can continue with Donatella’s journey now. Hope you are enjoying and have a very lovely Easter. I just finished reading all the poems in “Dancing in the Rain” last night and for now will say that I am even more honored and thrilled to be associated with it. It is a beautiful collection, each poem for savoring and pausing, and the whole collection as complete as each offering. Hope to write a proper review soon. Also, hope you are better after your fall earlier in the week. XO ❤


      • Thank you Diane, for your kind words about my book. I so pleased you enjoyed it as I am still full to the brim of self doubt. Will it ever go?!! Or maybe if it actually does go then arrogance could creeo in, I don’t really know. But the feedback from the book so far is very good so that is something I need to hold onto.

        Donatella and I can have time together this Easter as all the grandchildren are enjoying it over in Ireland. It is strangely quiet here 😊❤️ Xxx

        Liked by 1 person

        • Your comment made me think of this quote by Colette, which, I think, is very good to keep in mind: “The writer who loses his self-doubt, who gives way … to a sudden euphoria, to prolixity, should stop writing immediately: the time has come for him to lay aside his pen.” Our Easter turned into a Passover dinner as my sister-in-law is Jewish. It was interesting, but thinking it was going to be a shared celebration with Easter and Passover coinciding, I brought some croutons (separately) for the salad and was duly scolded (only unleavened bread allowed). Put it this way, it wasn’t the best Easter I’ve ever had. Still, I shouldn’t complain. 🙂 XO ❤


      • Oh that’s such a great quote Diane, thank you! Definitely one to keep close by. I will copy and paste it into my notes on the iPad.

        Oh I’m so sorry your Easter wasn’t the best. What a shame. Surely those who aren’t Jewish could partake in bread other than unleavened? That seems unfair to me. ❤️ Xxx

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, Lance! I so appreciate your taking the time to visit, read and comment in such equally musical words. I must humbly apologize from being so very long absence from your blog and hope to rectify that soon. All the best.


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