This book has an unusual structure. It begins with a review of the first concert given by the Amadeus Quartet and ends over fifty years later in 1999. What lies in between is a review of the post-war period in music mostly in London as seen and heard through the eyes and ears of one person. It is not a comprehensive review or an history. During these years John Amis had various jobs: critic, broadcaster, administrator, concert manager, lecturer, singer and he was a constant opera- and concert-goer. John met or worked with nearly all the important and less important (though not less interesting) musicians of our time. From 1948 to 1965 he was London Music Critic of The Scotsman and a contributor to other newspapers and journals ? and from 1988 was Music Critic of The Tablet. He appeared for some eighteen years in the BBC programme "My Music". Part one consists mainly of reviews of those golden times when the gods had names like Callas, Flagstad, Heifetz, Horowitz, Beecham, Bruno Walter and Klemperer. These reviews, mostly written on the night, tell their own story of the times.
Amis covered the premieres (absolute or British) of such works as: Britten's "The Turn of the Screw", "Let's Make an Opera", Chinese Songs, "Winter Words" and "Noye's Fludde"; Tippett's "The Midsummer Marriage", first and second symphonies and Piano Concerto; Walton's "Troilus and Cressida", Cello Concerto and second symphony; Constant Lambert's "Tiresias", Janacek?s Kat's "Kabanova", Messiaen's "Turangalila" and Schoenberg's "Moses und Aron". Part two deals with the last decades of the twentieth century and the author's time spent lecturing, travelling, writing and listening to music; and a few other topics. Events provide pegs for slices of life and profiles of, for instance, Messiaen, Tippett, Britten, Milhaud, Poulenc, Copland, Enesco, Tcherepnin, Ireland, and many others.