The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: EMI releases a compilation inspired by the bestselling “Fifty Shades of Grey” novel trilogy. | July 8, 2012

By Jacob Stockinger

What is the difference between erotica, soft-core pornography and romance novels?

I’m not sure that I know. I guess it’s whatever is steamy and turns you on — or off.

But I am sure it doesn’t matter a whole lot when it comes to the publishing phenomenon of the “Fifty Shades of Grey” trilogy (below), by E.L. James, that has been flying out of bookstores all over the country. Tongues are buzzing, or is it wagging, about the books and their subversive taboo sensuality. (Sounds a bit like all those must-read banned books from the 1950s, no? Are we that bored again in our real lives?) 

So far, it largely seems a women’s phenomenon. Even President Barack Obama said he didn’t know about them, but added in good humor that would ask First Lady Michelle Obama if she had a copy on the night stand at home in The White House.

So far, The Ear has seen no news of her response.

It’s probably safer that way, especially in a campaign year, no?

Apparently, the novels make references to or could suggest quite a lot of classical music. (So, will some libraries ban the music just as they have already banned the novels?)

So now the record label EMI is cashing in on the phenom books by releasing a bestselling “50 Shades of Classical Music” anthology as part of its downloadable “50 Best” series — for $5.99 It has 15 tracks of the music specifically mentioned in the novels plus another 35 tracks that maintain — should we say, prolong — the same kind of experience and atmosphere.

Here are links with more information:

“Experience the Dark Side of Classical Music” runs the advertising.

Hmm—sure sounds tempting. Sexy, even.

So here is a link to the Official Site:

It sounds crassly commercial and exploitative – kind of like the books themselves – but maybe that is a wrong or hasty assessment.

What do you think of the books and the idea of a classical music anthology inspired by them?

The Ear wants to hear.


1 Comment »

  1. As an unashamed marginalianist, I often make a note of music (classical or jazz, usually) mentioned in my readings and then check it out. I have discovered amazing music that way. One of my favorites is the piano music of Alexandre Tansman, whose “3 Preludes en forme des blues” led me to revel in early 1900’s Parisian jazz, including Debussy’s early stirrings of the genre.

    Comment by Nan Morrissette — July 8, 2012 @ 6:19 am

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