Distant Melodies

Edward Dusinberre


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3 November 2022
ISBN: 9780571366545
256 pages

From the publisher

How does music heard and played over many years inform one's sense of home? In Distant Melodies, Edward Dusinberre, the English first violinist of the Takacs Quartet, explores changing ideas of home, exile and return in the lives and particular chamber works of four composers: Antonin Dvorak, Edward Elgar, Bela Bartok and Benjamin Britten. A resident of Boulder, Colorado for nearly three decades, Dusinberre discovers ways in which music may both accentuate and ameliorate homesickness, as he visits and imagines some of the places crucial to these composers' creative inspiration. Drawn to the storiesof Dvorak, Bartok and Britten's American sojourns as they try to reconcile their new surroundings with nostalgiafortheir homelands, Dusinberre looks at his own evolving relationship to England through the prism of Elgar's unusual Piano Quintet and the landscapes that inspired it. New aspects of familiar music reveal themselves under altered circumstances. In the forty-eight years since the Takacs Quartet was founded in Budapest, the ensemble has undergone several significant changes of personnel. During a concert tour in Hong Kong and a return to Budapest to perform in the same hall where Bartok gave his last concert in Hungary, Dusinberre examines how a piece of music may both reinforce roots and cross borders. When travel is forbidden, the ability of music to affirm home and transcend distance takes on extra significance. As the Takacs welcomes a new violist during the COVID-19 pandemic, Britten's string quartets shape the ensemble's experience of rehearsing at home. Combining travel writing with revealing and humorous insights into the working lives of string quartet musicians, Distant Melodies illuminates the relationship between music and home.