Just finished a wonderful book that I had trouble putting down. Henri Temianka's "Facing the Music" will make you laugh endlessly, cringe at the way musicians are treated, and have empathy as concert artists prepare and play. Do quartet members argue among themselves over the music? Does a bear..... well, never mind.
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.
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