Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Brahms scholar speaks

The Internet, every day I find a new reason to love it. You can get in touch with all kinds of people you would never have been in touch with before.

There is that biography of Johannes Brahms by Jan Swafford that I talk about a lot. I just talked about it yesterday! Anyway, my brother George recently read it too. There is no shame in pointing out that this is the first book of that kind that George has ever read. Most people do not read big, fat biographies of composers, let's get that out there right now.

Anyway George and I are kind of preoccupied with this book and we are always joking around about it. We are choosy and so we have gotten this way with only three other books: Tom Wolfe's "I Am Charlotte Simmons"; Herman Wouk's "Marjorie Morningstar" and John Galsworthy's "The Forsyte Saga."

Now that George has read Jan Swafford's "Johannes Brahms" we talk about that. That is the book pictured up above. My husband, Howard, the book gets on his nerves. One of the millions of times I was talking about it he said, "That's the book with the cover where Brahms looks like Clint Eastwood."

Anyway, George and I quote from people in the book and discuss the various characters as if they are alive. It is a compliment to Jan Swafford that we feel they are! Perhaps some day people will feel that way about my book on Leonard Pennario.

Back to the Internet. What George did cracked me up. He went and emailed Jan Swafford and complimented him on his work.

George soared like an eagle and wrote:

Professor Swafford: Just wanted to say how much I enjoyed the Brahms book which I just completed.  My sister, classical reviewer for the Buffalo News, Mary Kunz Goldman, recommended the book to me and we discuss it frequently - even enjoying an occasional inside joke ("The Second Fritz") ... ....thanks again for your hard work....George

And Professor Swafford wrote back:

"Thanks for your note, and glad you both enjoyed it. One of these days there'll be a Beethoven bio from me -- but don't hold your breath. Jan Swafford."

Ha, ha! I love the Internet. And now we know, there will be a Beethoven bio one day from Jan Swafford.

You read it here!