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As an account of the Yanowsky family in their arduous exodus from the Russian ghetto to one of the first colonies in Palestine, this book has a limited appeal. But in the larger intent of the authors, a hymn to the Sienna piano, it becomes little more than a tale to be spun over a glass of tea to an audience which wishes to be enchanted. The piano, presumed to be constructed of material from Solomon's temple, and revealed to the Yanowski -- the author's grandfather-- by the king of Italy, long fascinates the skilled piano tuner, Avner Carmi. His search for the piano, its emergence during the war in the African desert, covered with plaster, and its restoration are related in sentimental terms, as the author suggests that the very spirit of David's harp resides within the elaborately constructed instrument. Arthur Rubinstein is brought in to support Carmi's raptures, though it must be stressed that such famous pianists as Rubinstein may be celebrated for their imagination rather than their objectivity. The entire idea of a celestial piano will perhaps be repulsive to most serious music lovers, to whom the genius and effort apparent in conventional musical manifestations are miracle enough.

Publisher: Crown