The Song of Names by Norman Lebrecht

The Song of Names

Norman Lebrecht

Lovers of classical music would particularly enjoy this book; however, knowledge of music is not essential in order to make this a rewarding read. Set in the 20th Century British Jewish community, the tragic legacy of the Holocaust is woven through the story, and the book calls into question the nature of friendship, success and spirituality.


Just as the best conductors imprint their personality upon an orchestra, so Dr Steiner passed something of his cultural identity to Dovidl. It bypassed me for, while I absorbed knowledge from the old man, my character was unaltered. But Dovidl grew artistically from the exposure as well as technically from the specific digital guidance that Dr Steiner was able to give him for the fingering of intractable passages. Theirs was an artistic transaction, a spiritual transmission, artist to artist. I felt, for the first time, entirely excluded from Dovidl's world.

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