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Distant Melodies: Music in Search of Home
by Edward Dusinberre
University of Chicago Press, 2022
eISBN: 978-0-226-82344-7 | Cloth: 978-0-226-82343-0
Library of Congress Classification ML418.D97A3 2022
Dewey Decimal Classification 787.2092

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ABOUT THIS BOOK
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 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 tried 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.

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