Quintet: Five Journeys Toward Musical Fulfillment

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Product Details
Cornell University Press
Publish Date
6.28 X 9.26 X 0.77 inches | 0.93 pounds

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About the Author

David Blum founded New York's Esterhazy Orchestra and l'Orchestre Symphonique Genevois in Geneva, Switzerland. A frequent contributor to the New Yorker and the New York Times, he wrote The Art of Quartet Playing, also from Cornell, and Casals and the Art of Interpretation.


"As these highly accomplished performers reflect unpretentiously on their musical experiences, Blum weaves in commentary from colleagues and partners, cherishing the humanizing touch.... Blum never obstructs our view as his sitters answer what must have been prescient questions with fluent candor.... As good writers about art should, Blum sends the reader back to the works afresh--seeking these five interpreters as mentors."

--Kirkus Reviews

"Blum was one of the most articulate of all contemporary writers on music. These extended portraits of five musical luminaries... are all remarkable documents about remarkable people.... Blum's own personality is unobtrusive, yet his keen musical intelligence runs like a thread throughout."

--Library Journal

"This is quite simply a brilliant collection of interviews.... I dare say that most lovers of classical music, after reading Quintet, will discover wonderful new levels of meaning in the music they have been enjoying for years. And those among us who stretch our own boundaries of talent and understanding. Quintet is a thoroughly enriching book."

--Barbara Lloyd McMichael "The Bookmonger "

"Informative, intimate, and surprising..."

--Publishers Weekly

"The classical musician's life can seem sublime, a matter of expressing beauty every day. As Blum presents the lives of cellist Yo-Yo Ma, conductor Jeffrey Tate, concertmaster Josef Gingold, pianist Richard Goode, and soprano Birgit Nilsson, they don't contradict that presumed sublimity. Blum's profiles of them, organized as a book just before his death, are like five lovely songs."

--Ray Olson "Booklist "

"The lives described here, dauntingly complex in many respects, should serve as cautionary models for those who aspire to performing careers. Blum never fawns over his subjects, and his deep musical acumen allows him to place Goode's Schubert and Ma's Bach in appropriate perspective. Would that the literature included similarly knowing, firsthand portraits of the great musicians of the 18th and 19th centuries; they would have helped alter the study of historical performance practice."