The “La Folia” musical strain has been called, “the most lasting and famous tune in western music” and “A musical cathedral.” It is my favorite musical element.
When I was sketching Eva’s character for An Owl’s Whisper, for some reason that music kept running through my head. Must’ve been my subconscious at work. The Folia melody helped me understand Eva. For me, its many (well over a hundred have been written, throughout senturies of classical and now modern music) embodiments captured her spirit at various times in her story. In homage to La Folia, I included a number of references to it in An Owl’s Whisper. Some are obvious, like the name of Part I, and others are obscure like the fictitious “Faronell’s Division” Stan joins on page 198.
Other terms you’ll see for the La Folia theme include Spanish follies, La Follia, and Folie d’Espagne. The theme is found in music beginning in the 16th Century and going to the present.
What is my favorite recording? I’d have to say Hille Perl’s (with Lee Santana) version of Marin Marais’ Folias (Marin Marais, Pour La Violle et le Theorbe, Deutsche Harmonia Mundi # 82876 58791 2, distributed by BMG). It is some of the most exciting and sensual music ever!
La Folia has its own wonderful website: http://members.chello.nl/folia/. You can go there and read about all the famous composers (CPE Bach, Vivaldi, Corelli, Rachmaninoff, Salieri, Liszt, etc.) and the not so famous who have incorporated into their music. You can listen to musical clips. The variety will amaze, while the music entrances.