Listen with Father: How I Learned to Love Classical Music
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Blending memoir with biography, history and travel writing, this book records my attempts to lend an ear and listen, at last, with father.
Caroline Sanderson

Listen with Father: How I Learned to Love Classical Music

Caroline Sanderson
Status: being funded
Publication Date: 03.07.2025
  • Signed Hardback
    Signed Hardback£35.00101 Pledges

    Signed first edition hardback, signed by Caroline, and the name of your choice printed in the subscribers’ list at the back of the book.

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    101 Pledges
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  • Listen with Father: How I Learned to Love Classical Music
    Hardback£25.0087 Pledges

    First edition hardback and the name of your choice printed in the subscribers’ list at the back of the book.

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    87 Pledges
    Name to be printed in the back of the book
  • In Memoriam
    In Memoriam£35.008 Pledges

    Dedicate a signed copy to someone who is missed. There will be a separate space in the back of the book for the name of someone special to you in remembrance of them. Just enter their name in the box below.

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  • Listen with Father Spotify Playlist
    Listen with Father Spotify Playlist£10.0018 Pledges

    Exclusive access to a Spotify playlist filled with music that Caroline and her father listened to together. [Please note that the book is not included in the price so you will have to add it to your bag separately]

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  • Listening Party
    Listening Party£35.002 Pledges

    A ticket to a virtual listening party with Caroline. After each piece of music is played, Caroline will lead a discussion based on her experience of listening to it for the book. LIMITED TO 30. Please note that the book is not included in the price so you will have to add it to your bag separately.

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  • Set of Postcards
    Set of Postcards£10.002 Pledges

    A set of four postcards created from Caroline's personal photographs, including images taken while researching the book. [Please note that the book is not included in the price so you will have to add it to your bag separately]

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  • Memoir Masterclass with Caroline Sanderson
    Memoir Masterclass with Caroline Sanderson£165.002 Pledges

    A ticket to attend a headline classical music concert with Caroline, with details to be decided nearer the time. LIMITED TO 5. [Please note that the book is not included in the price so you will have to add it to your bag separately]

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  • Virtual Bookclub
    Virtual Bookclub£175.002 Pledges

    Five signed first edition copies to read with your book club, plus a virtual visit with Caroline.

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  • Listen with Father: How I Learned to Love Classical Music
    Ebook via Glassboxx£10.00206 Pledges

    Digital copy of the book and the name of your choice printed in the subscribers’ list at the back of the book.

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    Name to be printed in the back of the book
  • Concert Ticket
    Concert Ticket£230.001 Pledges

    A ticket to attend a headline classical music concert with Caroline, with details to be decided nearer the time.

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Blending memoir with biography, history and travel writing, this book records my attempts to lend an ear and listen, at last, with father.
Caroline Sanderson

When I was 4, I fell in love with the music of Mozart and my Dad was delighted.

When I was 8, I fell even more in love with the music of Davie Bowie, T-Rex and Slade: and Dad couldn’t understand it at all.

For the rest of his life, he tried to help me to rediscover my childhood penchant for classical music, but I was too busy take proper notice and I never got around to playing the CDs he gave me. Then much too soon, my Dad died. And then there was mourning, and no more music.

One day, I listened to Mozart again, and the symphony of emotions that swelled in me led to a resolution. I would choose eight pieces of music that Dad loved – one for each decade of his life – and listen to each with great care and attention. To try and discover what it was he so appreciated about classical music, as I should have done while he was alive.

The result of this musical journey is Listen With Father, a memoir of a beloved father, evoked through the classical music he cherished. Taking in Mozart, Stravinsky, Kathleen Ferrier, Brahms, Robert & Clara Schumann, Sibelius, Chopin, Richard Strauss and others, it is also an idiosyncratic listening guide, and an intro to classical music for anyone who finds it a little intimidating – as I once did.

Blending memoir with biography, history and travel writing, it records my attempts to lend an ear and listen, at last, with father.


 

It’s a bright Sunday morning. Here I come, four years old, walking down the stairs at home. Across the parquet floor of the hall I can see the door to the dining room is ajar. Music flows from behind it and so it seems, right at me. I step forward and into its embrace. I listen. Then craving more, I creep to the door and push it open so I can see my Daddy’s blue reel-to-reel tape recorder in the corner of the room. I love watching the spinning reels of this machine, marvelling at the way the tape unwinds from the fast-moving left hand one, while winding up much more slowly on the right. But today it is the music that has my full attention.

Daddy is sitting at the table in his shirt sleeves, his dark wavy hair flopping across his forehead as he frowns at his weekend paperwork. He looks up, irritated at the interruption, but then smiles when he realises that I too, am listening to his music. It is Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 22 in E Flat he tells me– the third movement, the Rondo. Always exact, even with a child as young as I am, he also tells me the Köchel number: K482.

I quickly forget the name and number of the piece. And I especially forget the Köchel number. But to the day my Daddy dies, I remember the Rondo.

About the author

Author

Updates

Alive & Listening

It’s been too long since my last “Listen With Father” update. My excuses: last autumn was a time of intense reading after I was appointed chair of judges for the 2022 Baillie Gifford Prize, UK’s most ...

16.01.2023
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