THE BEAUX ARTS TRIO by Nicholas Delbanco


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Because author Delbanco is a novelist (Sherbrookes) and the son-in-law of Beaux Arts Trio cellist Bernard Greenhouse, you might expect this treatment to have more texture than the routine, patchwork artist-profile book. Disappointingly, however, that's not the case: Delbanco salutes the long-lived chamber group with a standard assemblage of interviews, anecdotes, clippings, and journalistic close-ups. A brief history of the Beaux Arts piano/violin/cello trio (relatively rare compared to string quartets) leads off--from 1955 formation to the 1969 retirement of violinist Daniel Guilet, to be replaced by the younger Isidore Cohen. Later chapters offer detailed descriptions of three specific items on the Trio's busy schedule: a 1982 concert at Harvard's Sanders Theater (a performance for a less obvious, less sophisticated audience would have been far more interesting subject-matter); a concert-tour in France; and, to much better effect, a six-day recording session in 1983, focusing on two Mozart piano quartets (with violist Bruno Guiranna as the fourth). And interviews with the three current Beaux Arts principals are interspersed throughout--as the lively, humorous musicians talk about training, practice, critics, life-on-the-road, recording, teaching, and a soloist career vs. chamber music. Some intriguing specifics, a few merry anecdotes, and obvious appeal to Beaux Arts fans--but, unlike the better artist-profiles (e.g., William Zinsser's Willie and Dwike, p. 684), this uninspired mosaic provides neither rich character-studies nor involving vignettes.
Pub Date: Jan. 23rd, 1984
ISBN: 0575036249
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 1984


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