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Music – the only truth

A book for music lovers.

Talbot Cox has had a love affair with music all his life. In a small rural town in the Karoo, he learned to play the piano, and was the organist of the local Methodist Church as a young age. “In my teenage years, I was tutored by a gifted pianist, the wife of the local Dutch Reformed Church minister, who inculcated in a callow young boy a love of classical music. She would sit me down and together we would listen to Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Choplin and so many more on her turntable. I still well remember the gramophone recordings with the distinctive His Master’s Voice labels. I was enthralled, and today, some 70 year later, I still am!’.

For years, Cox has collected quotes and anecdotes and fascinating details of the composers he loves. These, he’s combined in one fabulous book, Music, The Only Truth! My Fifty Favourite classical composers: their stories, anecdotes and quotes. Each of the composers – from Johann Sebastian Bach to Wilhelm Richard Wagner – get a dozen or so pages … enough to inform and entertain, not to much to bore.

There are facts –  Bach was born into a musical family, and was able to trace his musical ancestry back to his great, great grandfather, who played the flute; in 1859, Brahms founded a women’s choir in Hamburg; both Bach and Hadel were blinded by the same eye specialist, John Taylor; and quotes – ‘There’s nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself’, quoted Bach; while in 1801, Beethoven commented ‘For two years I have ceased to attend social functions, simply because I cannot say to people, I am deaf!’.

The book is written in short, punchy, bullet-point style, so there are no hefty chapters to wade through … just a little history, some Minims (short and interesting), Crochets (quotes from the musicians themselves) and Quavers (the quotes of others). It’s a book to keep alongside your favourite chair and dip into again and again. Just lovey. You’ll find it for around R350 from Amazon, Takealot and all good bookshops.

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