A Most Beautiful Deception

Melissa Morelli Lacroix explores the love and longing, loss and pain, grief and healing found in the music of Frédéric Chopin, Clara Schumann, and Claude Debussy in a series of poetic cycles that respond to each composer’s work. Lacroix writes with her ear finely tuned to the music of death and decay, to the harmonies and discords of music, nature, and human desire. Always, in A Most Beautiful Deception, we find the chords of love and devotion being torn apart by the deterioration of the body. Lacroix uses her research into the composers’ lives to add layers and nuance, thus creating a complex triangle between the reader, the music, and the poet. Woven almost imperceptibly into these accounts of three composers and their respective fights against the decay of the body and the mind, lies the thread of the poet’s own relationships and loss.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Front Cover 1
Title Page 4
Copyright 5
Dedication 6
Contents 8
Chopin for the Dying 12
Reunion 14
Presentiment of Death 16
Thou Art So Like a Flower 17
Suffocation 19
Uncertainty 20
Tolling Bells 22
The Polish Dancer 23
Desperation 24
Vision 26
The Night Moth 27
The Dragon Fly 28
The Duel 29
Loss 32
Fear 34
Raindrops 35
Hades 38
A Scene on the Place de Notre-Dame de Paris 40
Suicide 44
Heartfelt Happiness 45
Funeral March 48
Sunday 49
Impatience 51
A Pleasure Boat 53
The Storm 54
Variations on a Theme by Clozapine 58
Theme 60
Variation I 61
Variation II 62
Variation III 63
Variation IV 64
Variation V 65
Variation VI 66
Variation VII 67
Bulimia in the Key of Debussy 70
Préludes: Book I 72
Préludes: Book II 90
Author’s Note 106
Notes & Sources 110
Acknowledgements 116
About the Author 118
Other Titles from University of Alberta Press 121