Receive a weekly collection of news, features and reviews
Thanks for reviving this thread with such an interesting lead Paul. The thread is well worth a re-scan, not only for the fascinating content but as a reminder of ... well, you know.
I have read a novel Fantasia on A Theme of Thomas Tallis by Vaughn Petterson www.uread.com/book/fantasia-vaughn-petterson/9789380707532 where the emotional and intellectual power of classical music is analyzed with exceptional perception and beauty. I can safely say that no other book I have read even comes close to "putting words" into music as is displayed here.
Apologies for such a late entry into this very old thread, but as a new member of the forum, I'm slowly exploring old posts on topics of interest. Adding to the list, please consider Paolo Maurensig's "Canone Inverso" One can do no better than quote the complete review from Publisher's Weekly as follows:
As he did so effectively in The Luneburg Variations, Maurensig uses the device of a narrator who opens the novel and immediately gives way to another narrator, who spins a convoluted story within a story, leading to a surprising denouement. Again the time frame is the 1930s and '40s in Hungary and Germany; and though the words Nazi and Holocaust are never mentioned, the cataclysm to come is the subtext in a mesmerizing narrative. A mysterious stranger in contemporary London tells a man who has bought a rare 17th-century violin about the instrument's former owner, Jeno Varga, a brilliant Hungarian musician. In 1932, with his unknown father's violin his only legacy, Varga surmounts his illegitimate birth to win acceptance to the Collegium Musicum, a highly competitive music school outside Vienna. The Collegium is a Kafka-esque institution: the students are treated as prisoners subject to military discipline; they are systematically humiliated and subjected to mental torment. At the top of his class, Jeno finally feels fulfilled when the equally talented and charismatic Kuno Blau becomes his best friend and, in many ways, his doppelganger. When Kuno invites Jeno to stay at the family castle near Innsbruck, however, Jeno is subjected to a nightmare of intimidation and derision. His friendship with Kuno diminishes into a frightening reversal of itself, a canone inverso. It is obvious to the reader, though not to Jeno, that the outside world is descending into its own spiritual death. The complex fugal themes of Maurensig's plot touch on such questions as the essence of musical genius (""The true musician is a descendant of Cain""), the search for immortality in artistic creation and the growth of evil beneath the carapace of respectability. Some of the narrative is heavy going, as Maurensig's ponderous symbolism and metaphysical exploration threaten to overwhelm the plot. The shocking ending brings everything into focus, however, and renders this novel a tour de force.
Join the Club today and receive all three great Gramophone products for just £106 per year.
An £86 saving than if bought separately.
The latest news, features, blogs and reviews delivered weekly to your inbox!
User our new store map to help you find your nearest Gramophone stockist
If you are a library, university or other organisation that would be interested in an institutional subscription to Gramophone please click here for further information.
Gramophone is brought to you by Mark Allen Group
Gramophone is part of MA Music, Leisure and TravelAbout Mark Allen Group | International licensing