"It gives me great pleasure to recommend Boman Desai's book. He has dramatized the story of the Schumanns and Brahms in the form of a novel, citing their original correspondence of 43 years among his sources. He has researched this most romantic of stories thoroughly, but writes so compellingly that it is like discovering the story anew. The great composers of the age make appearances when their lives intersect those of the trio, and I was glad to see that Desai presents them to us, warts and all, with the deepest sympathy and understanding. It is perhaps his greatest achievement that they appear as fullbloodedly as if they might have been his neighbors." ZUBIN MEHTA Trio (Book One) opens with Clara's debut in 1828 (when she was nine) and concludes with the death of Robert in 1856. Trio 2 concludes with the deaths of Clara (1896) and Brahms (1897). The two volumes together comprise a panoramic vision of the 19th Century -- not only musically, but culturally and historically, incorporating the growth of Germany from 400+ principalities to one nation under Bismarck.
Though derived from biographies, diaries, and correspondences, and firmly grounded in fact, the story unfolds with the drama of a novel, including cameos by Berlioz, Mendelssohn, Chopin, Liszt, Wagner, Tchaikovsky, Bruckner, and Nietzsche among others -- and the ghosts of Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert are never distant. A great read for the beach, the summer, the winter, a holiday, a holiday in itself, it is a book in which to live for a while -- a narrative of love, insanity, suicide, revolution, politics, war -- and, of course, music.