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Distant Melodies

Music in Search of Home

An engaging blend of memoir and music history, Distant Melodies explores the changing ideas of home, displacement, and return through the lives and chamber music of four composers.

How does music played and heard over many years inform one’s sense of home? Writing during the COVID-19 pandemic, when travel is forbidden and distance is felt anew, Edward Dusinberre, first violinist of the world-renowned Takács Quartet, searches for answers in the music of composers whose relationships to home shaped the pursuit of their craft—Antonín Dvořák, Edward Elgar, Béla Bartók, and Benjamin Britten.
 
Dusinberre has lived abroad for three decades. At the age of 21, he left his native England to pursue music studies at the Juilliard School in New York. Three years later he moved to Boulder, Colorado. Drawn to the stories of Dvořák’s, Bartók’s, and Britten’s American sojourns as they try to reconcile their new surroundings with nostalgia for their homelands, Dusinberre reflects on his own evolving relationship to England and the idea of home. As he visits and imagines some of the places crucial to these composers’ creative inspiration, Dusinberre also reflects on Elgar’s unusual Piano Quintet and the landscapes that inspired it.
 
Combining travel writing with revealing insights into the working lives of string quartet musicians, Distant Melodies is a moving and humorous meditation on the relationship between music and home.

208 pages | 8 halftones | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 | © 2022

Music: General Music

Reviews

“This is a book of intimate grandeur and accessible depth. It captures the spiritual essence of two of life’s most important anchors: music and home. For music lovers, Distant Melodies is filled with unexpected gems about things we thought to be familiar already, and like a great quartet it illuminates a musical life with precision and humor. But non-musicians will also recognize themselves in the revelations of this book, for this is a book about finding purpose in life.”

Patrick Summers, artistic and music director, Houston Grand Opera

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