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Review: Julian Bream: A Life on the Road by Tony Palmer

Review: Julian Bream: A Life on the Road by Tony Palmer

Reviewed by Gila Eban

Originally published in American Lutherie #5, 1986 and Big Red Book of American Lutherie Volume One, 2000

Julian Bream: A Life on the Road
Tony Palmer
McDonald & Co., 1982
Out of print (1999)

Most of the material for this book was gathered while its author, along with photographer Daniel Meadows, traveled with Julian Bream on one of his tours. Although there is no chronological “plot,” the book is packed with “action”: Being stuck after a concert, in an unfamiliar “sleazy part of town” in Italy, or in an unpredictable snowstorm on America’s East Coast; guitars cracking after passage through the Alps; choosing to play a concert in a remote part of India, only to find out that the local inhabitants are accustomed to concerts of Indian music, which last twice as long as the standard classical music concert in the West! In order to prevent a riot, Bream has to play every piece he can possibly remember. In South America or at a quiet chapel in the English countryside, there is always an element of the unexpected, provided by an angry dictator’s wife or a nearby artillery firing-range.

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