CONVERSATIONS WITH MENUHIN by Robin Daniels

CONVERSATIONS WITH MENUHIN

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Why the need for these tape transcripts of question-and-answer periods with violinist/teacher Yehudi Menuhin at his Highgate (London) home? After all, Menuhin himself has already covered most topics for discussion in his autobiography (Unfinished Journey, 1977); and those seeking his musical opinions at greater length will do far better with The Music of Man (1979). In any case, here he responds volubly, if unrevealingly, to Daniels' ever-flattering questions. On wife Diana: ""Everything about her is aesthetically and morally pleasing."" On his children: ""They conduct their lives with integrity."" On his daily life: ""Millie, our devoted housekeeper, opens the mail; by 8.30 it is ready for me to deal with."" On critics: ""They rarely convey a sense of occasion."" There are a few shrewd remarks on colleagues like Sir Thomas Beecham (""No conductor in my experience has had so light a touch. . ."") or Benjamin Britten (""he possessed genius much larger than the human frame can comfortably contain""). And those actively involved in teaching musicians may welcome further elaboration on the approach taken at Menuhin's school. But for the most part, Daniels--who asks no pointed questions about Menuhin's sometimes-controversial political stands--elicits only bland reprises of familiar Menuhin themes: the glory of eastern cultures, the horrors of rock music, chamber music's superiority over orchestral bigness, tributes to Enesco and Bartok. If this were the only source of Menuhin views, it would be mildly engaging; but it's not--and therefore seems only aggressively redundant.

Pub Date: March 14th, 1980
Publisher: St. Martin's