Musical Heroes: A Personal View of Music and the Musical World Over Sixty Years (BOK)
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Robert Ponsonby has been at the centre of the music world both in Britain and elsewhere for some sixty years, and "Musical Heroes" is a distillation of his experiences, achievements and friendships in that world. With its deft touch and its empathy, it is both captivating and inspiring, and it is often full of humour. It paints portraits in many formats of the fifty or so figures he knew best, including conductors, composers, performers and administrators: Boult, Beecham, Giulini, Pritchard, Kubelik, Boulez, Walton, Tippett, Berio, Ligeti, Henze, Menuhin, Sena Jurinac, Rostropovich, Jacqueline du Pre, John Ogdon, William Glock, John Drummond, Thomas Armstrong and Robert Mayer are some of those featured. There has been a widespread renaissance in the appreciation of classical music in the past few years, above all among talented young musicians and composers and in schools, where music is now taught systematically. "Musical Heroes" will therefore have a wide appeal not only among established lovers of classical music but also among people who have discovered it for themselves more recently. There is probably more active music-making in Britain today than there has ever been, and concerts in all parts of the country are often packed out. Dame Janet Baker: 'One of the truly great privileges is to spend one's working life among charismatic, interesting and gifted people. It has clearly been the experience of Robert Ponsonby during his many years of artistic administration and he writes about it with obvious delight...How refreshing...to read [his] collection of portraits which steer such a well-judged course between the light and darker sides of the human condition and give us a balanced picture of his subjects. He has a delightful turn of phrase and describes aspects of character which I found immediately recognizable and true. It is all done with wit, perception, kindness, honesty, affection and humour, leaving this reader wanting more'.