As I was listening to Tellings of the Wheel, VOL. 1, in preparation for an installment of the Sounds from a Spinning Wheel series in which I review music inspired by the Wheel of Time book series and, in the future, written for the Amazon Prime series, I thought it would be neat if I could talk with the composer and musician who created this album. So, I did what all normal people would do, opened the Twitter app, and Tweeted at Christian Szczesniak. Thankfully, not only did he answer, but he was very gracious in my request for a conversation. And so, we messaged back and forth, and set up a time that we could talk.

On one level, I had seen that he is a prolific musician but at the same, I was oblivious to the fact that he is an accomplished, prolific musician, until I spoke with him. After all, his guitar playing can be heard on Celine Dion’s “A New Day” album, as well as Edwin’s “Another Spin Around the Sun”. He stated that after he met his wife, he stopped touring. And, in 2001, after signing a contract with SONY ATV Canada, he began to gravitate toward advertising, film, and television; his music can be heard on “The Great Food Truck Race”, “Flip or Flop”, “Alaskan Bush People”, as well as the Nickelodeon show “Mysticons” (and his music for the episode “The Coronation” was nominated for a Canadian Screen Award). Christian is also proud of his work on “Mysticons” because of the LGBTQ representation in the show. So, given all this background, what is his connection to Wheel of Time? He has composed two albums inspired by The Wheel of Time book, Tellings of the Wheel, Vols. 1&2, and Rob Christianson, known for his artwork based on the Wheel of Time was a very vocal advocate for Christian to be composing the music for the Amazon Prime Series. Obviously, this is a person who has a deep affinity with and love for The Wheel of Time.

Christian Szczesniak was born in Washington, D.C., USA, in July 1970, and as a young child, the family moved to Toronto. At the age of 13, he started playing guitar, and from the ages of 14 to 20, played under Eli Kassner (Canadian Classical guitar teacher and musician). At the age of 18, he got a job at Smith Way Books. Initially, Christian was a fan of Terry Brooks, but two years later, The Eye of the World was published, and he was an early fan of the series, and that has carried through since then.

In our conversation, we discussed the decision to give Thom a guitar instead of a harp, in the Amazon series, and Christian said he supported that decision because he thinks it works fine and is adaptable. He also stated that he would not use the music he has composed for the two volumes of Tellings of the Wheel, as he does not think this music would be adaptable. Instead, he would write and compose new music for the show. He also stated that if he had been chosen to be the composer for the series, or is tapped in future seasons, that this would be the single most significant moment of his lifetime and would not know what to do afterward.

Christian also remarked that one of his favorite things about the “The Wheel of Time” is that each character is unique and well developed. This remark came out of our discussion about which character we see ourselves as or would like to be like. Christian admires Lan a great deal, and your humble writer sees himself more as Basel Gill.

Mr. Szczesniak continues to compose music; his most recent release is named “Textures of Fear”, released in April 2021, which he describes as a soundscape. His next project is Textures of Sci-Fi. I did ask Christian what his dream was, and his response was to go to Prague, and play in the Prague Symphony Orchestra, with his dad conducting. Ultimately, Christian is concentrated on making good music.

I am thankful for Mr. Christian Szczesniak’s willingness to take time out of his day to speak with me, as well as agreeing to have a profile written on him prior to my reviews of the Volumes of Tellings of the Wheel.

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