Due to be published 2020.
Vienna, summer 1928. Little-known composer Albert Angst is struggling to get started on his Ninth Symphony and, having scheduled its premier for the new year, his patrons are waiting and worrying. Albert’s problem is his debilitating fear of the Curse of the Ninth, infamous for striking down Beethoven, Schubert, Mahler, Bruckner and Dvorak, among others, during or shortly after composing their ninth symphonies. Albert tries everything to smash through his writer’s block; long walks in the mountains, lots of alcohol, visiting a psychiatrist, more sex… It doesn’t help that the five ghosts of the great composers continually haunt and heckle him. Neither does a crash course in serialism from ‘modernists’ Schoenberg, Webern and Berg!
Finally Albert accepts his wife’s offer to compose the work for him and keep their conspiracy a secret. Anna Angst is a renown soloist, greatly in demand for her sensitive and brilliant technique at the piano, frequently playing her own chamber compositions. She yearns to compose a symphony, but the very thought of a woman taking on something so demanding is anathema to the classical music world. Albert’s five stalking ghosts die a second time at the prospect. And the prospects become very confused when Albert Angst’s Ninth Symphony by Anna Angst is a roaring success, even celebrated by the ghosts, and Anna has already started on Albert’s Tenth… or is it her second?
One of the most challenging aspects of drawing a music comic is how to portray the music. For more on the topic of sound effects in comics, read the paper I produced here.