Charles Frazier’s music to write by
Bestselling author of Cold Mountain, Charles Frazier, passed through Philadelphia last month and told WHYY's Peter Crimmins what he listens to while he works.

Charles Frazier
Charles Frazier

Charles Frazier published the unexpectedly bestselling novel Cold Mountain in 1997, winning the National Book Award; the book was subsequently turned into an Academy Award-winning film in 2003. It’s now the Free Library of Philadelphia’s “One Book One Philadelphia” selection.

Frazier passed through Philadelphia in January 2016 for the novel’s latest incarnation: an opera.

He made very specific music references in his story about a deserting Civil War soldier journeying home to a woman struggling to keep that home intact, mostly folk tunes that would have been popular in the mid-19th-century Appalachian Mountains. Opera is well outside his expertise.

“I knew the stuff everybody knows who knows almost nothing about opera,” said Frazier. “”My father’s family knew a lot of the basic Western culture touchpoints. When I was a kid and I’d hear some piece of classical music, I could always ask my father. That’s part of the family heritage that knew that stuff.”

Frazier has written two novels since Cold Mountain: Thirteen Moons (2007) and Nightwoods (2011). Neither reached the popularity of that first book. He is currently working on his fourth.

WHYY’s Peter Crimmins asked him what he listens to while he works. It’s not Appalachian folk music, and it’s not opera.

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books, charles frazier, cold mountain, free library of philadelphia, opera, opera philadelphia, philadelpha, whyy



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