Who does not ponder what inspires creativity? Why does one person excel as a doctor, another as an artist, and yet a third as a composer? Why do some fortunate people seem overly endowed with an abundance of creativity—this most precious of gifts—and others with little or none at all? Can creative inspiration be nurtured slowly and, suddenly, spring forth to mesmerize and enchant the world?
In the words of Emanuel Ax, we are given “fascinating glimpses into the innermost thoughts of some of our greatest composers” in this series of intimate and deeply felt conversations between Arthur Abell and Brahms, Puccini, Strauss, Humperdinck, Bruch, and Grieg. And through these revelations, one can understand with greater clarity the essence of genius.
In its entirety, the book is a paean to both the musical world and to those few who achieved greatness during the latter part of the 19th century and the early years of the 20th century. We cannot fail to be deeply impressed by the intense outpouring of emotion demanded by great creative endeavor. And here, nothing is spared. We are privy to the highs and lows—the great triumphs and the wrenching failures.
Talks with Great Composers brings to life the thoughts, fears, self-doubt, inherent religiosity, and the unparalleled joys that, by the end of the book, we come to appreciate must accompany all of life’s greatest challenges and accomplishments.