Menuhin : A Life, Paperback


Humphrey Burton's definitive Menuhin is the first full length, cradle-to-grave study of Yehudi Menuhin, one of the best known and best loved of the twentieth century's classical musicians.

Menuhin was born in New York of Russian Jewish immigrants.

He demanded to play the violin when only four and proved prodigiously gifted; newspapers were soon dubbing him 'Miracle Boy'.

He gave his first solo recital aged eight and within five years had acquired international fame, making triumphant appearances successively in Paris, New York, Berlin and London.

Outside purely musical matters Menuhin became renowned as an individualist who took a certain delight in shocking the establishment.

After the war his determination to build bridges with the defeated German nation brought him into sharp conflict with the Jewish musical intelligentsia in New York and public opinion in Israel. Later he spoke out against apartheid in South Africa and denounced the Soviet Union's oppressive policy towards writers and dissidents.

Meetings with presidents and prime ministers became an essential part of his schedule. Menuhin was a passionate devotee of yoga and his enthusiasm for Indian music led him to a fruitful partnership with Ravi Shankar; a delight in improvisation prompted another treasured duo with the jazz violinist Stephane Grappelli.

Humphrey Burton knew Menuhin well; they worked together on radio and television projects for forty years.

Drawing on contemporary sources, unpublished family correspondence and the interviews he conducted with Menuhin for an award-winning Classic FM radio series, Burton has bypassed the familiar image of the saint-like, philosophising violinist guru to create a compelling, multi-faceted portrait of an indisputably great musician who was also a complex human being.




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