Book ReviewLife in general: Concert Artist's Life
From Ray Randall
A chapter on management companies curled my toes. Now I know why my concert violinist friend made his students study contract law.
What happens when Temianka's Russian "Manager," actually a secret police agent, loses him for a day? What happens when the "agent" is replaced by a 250 pound female "manager" who insists on sleeping in the same train compartment as Henri? Or his accompanist accidentally gets locked in the bathroom during intermission and can't get out?
Would you believe a quartet of Paganini's Strads sold for $250.000. That's for all four, to the Paganini Quartet. Heifetz and Stearn arguing over who gets to play second violin. Hint, they each WANTED to play second.
This life story of a concert artist, quartet leader, and conductor is well worth finding the book someplace.
From Sander MarcusRay: I read the book years ago. I then loaned it to someone (I forgot who), and never got it back. A shame. As I remember, it was a wonderful book. Funny and inspiring, and all (I think) true. Nice choice.
Posted on August 14, 2006 at 12:25 AM
PS. If you liked that one, look for Oscar Levant's book, A Smattering of Ignorance. A great read, and very funny.
From Terez MertesRay - great info, thanks. I'm always looking for books on this subject to read. Just nabbed a used copy from Amazon for 99 cents. Looking forward to reading it.
Posted on August 14, 2006 at 12:23 AM
From Ray RandallYou'll enjoy it. There's a lot I didn't mention.
Posted on August 14, 2006 at 01:00 AM
Good deal on the price.
From Maura GeretySounds good! I will have to check it out!
Posted on August 14, 2006 at 01:10 AM
I must also again highly recommend Jóska Szigeti's wonderful "reminiscences and reflections", rather charmingly entitled "With Strings Attached." Jóska tells us his impressions of all the countries he visited and all the great people he met, stories of concert flops and triumphs, his opinions on everything from violin technique to world affairs, and amusing stories from his prodigy days in Budapest--my personal favorite is the one where he describes being about twelve years old and spotting a bright red May Day poster tacked up somewhere near the Conservatory, full of dramatic imagery about "the clanging chains of slavery" and the "awakening of the oppressed". He doesn't really know what it means, but as he stands there pondering it, he decides that it goes rather well with the opening of the Vieuxtemps D minor. :) Everybody MUST read that book. It quite literally changed me as a violinist.
From Kevin HuangI've written before about my J. Cuthbert Hadden book "Modern Musicians", a book written in 1913.
Posted on August 14, 2006 at 05:28 PM
Featured here are not just an exceedingly rare interview of Jan Kubelik ("Handel's Largo is as simple as regards the notes, but is deep, big, and universal, and taxes the resources of the greatest violinists"), but chapters on composers (Strauss, Debussy, Bantock), pianists (Saur, Siloti, Paderewski), singers (Melba, Caruso, Tetrazzini), cellists (Casals, Becker, Gerardy), and conductors (Nikisch, Mengelberg, Mlynarski). That's just a partial list, as the book is 267 pages long and is PACKED.
Most amusing to us violinists is a picture of a 22 year old Mischa Elman with HAIR.
From Maura GeretyMischa had hair once?!
Posted on August 14, 2006 at 06:08 PM
There's a picture in Szigeti's book of a rather handsome 19- or 20-year-old Joska (he wasn't bad-looking before he lost all his hair!) and a very scary-looking Jeno Hubay, who had a strange mustache. :)
From Ray RandallThank you, Maura, I have Szigeti's back up violin and didn't know he had that book published. I'll look for it.
Posted on August 14, 2006 at 07:27 PM
From Maura GeretyHoly mackerel. You have Joska's violin?! Goddamnit, I'm jealous....
Posted on August 15, 2006 at 12:02 AM
From Ray RandallYes. It's an Alfred Vidoudez that I got from Pierre Vidoudez after Maestro Szigeti passed away and the violin went back to Pierre. Pierre called me from Geneva one morning at 3 A.M. and said can you come to Geneva today. Wife thought he meant Geneva, Wisconsin and said sure. LOL.
Posted on August 15, 2006 at 02:47 AM
Grabbed a plane at 7 A.M. and Pierre gave me a more than fair price on it. It plays beautifully.
From Johnny FangRay, I first read the book as a teenager, before I auditioned for Henri Temianka back in 1980 (?). In person he had as sharp a sense of humor as he exhibited in his autobiography. (Love the Benny Goodman story.) I did get to play in a piano quartet coached by him, and to be honest I don't remember much of the experience, except that he was very tough but fair. He also told our cellist that the endpin holder (?) she was using was also used by Piatagorsky during his visits. Recently, I found a used copy of the book on amazon with his autograph on the inside! All the best, Johnny
Posted on August 15, 2006 at 02:59 AM
From Richard HellingerWow that sounds like a good book. Any suggestions on where to get it cheap?
Posted on August 15, 2006 at 04:04 AM
From Terez MertesRay - I'm LOVING this book. Don't want it to end.
Posted on September 14, 2006 at 04:39 PM
From Terez MertesAnd Richard, if you're still looking, try here
Posted on September 14, 2006 at 04:43 PM
From Richard HellingerThanks Terez, I was still looking for the book (I checked local libraries, no copies). And my english teacher said I could use it as a book report too!
Posted on September 14, 2006 at 07:08 PM
From Raphael KlaymanYes - "Facing The Music" is a wonderful, delightful book. I heard he wrote a sequel, but I've never come across it. Along very similar lines I highly recommend pianist, Garry Graffman's book, "I Really Should Be Practicing". More recently published and most enjoyable is Arnold Steinhardt's memoir, "Indivisable By Four"
Posted on October 31, 2006 at 06:31 AM
From Anne HorvathSpeaking of Arnold Steinhardt, he has a brand new book out called "Violin Dreams", ISBN 0-618-36892-2.
Posted on October 31, 2006 at 08:04 PM
I read it last week, and it is just great. The book comes with a CD too, with two different performances of the D minor Partita.
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