András Schiff. 2020 Music Comes Out of Silence Translated by Misha Donat. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson.

A book in two portions: the first shorter part is a transcript of conversations with journalist Martin Meyer; the second part collected writings, including a number of texts written as sleeve notes originally published with his recordings. The first part reveals a more gentle András Schiff, from which I learned things I should already have known, for example, much about Hungary’s unhappy recent history (with it’s own Stalinist dictator), about how hard András Schiff worked to be so wonderful a pianist, about how many great musicians hail from Hungary. The second part - Bach, Beethoven, Mozart and Hungary again prominent - is occasionally a bit didactic, especially on when and when not musicians should transcribe Bach for other instruments without making musical folly. This part contains much that needs to be read alongside the music, and is great companion to his master classes.

It is no news that Sir András Schiff is a great musician, but it was wonderful to learn that he lives in the hills around Florence and (discovery from an interview elsewhere, at Verbier), that he loves jokes and loves to tell them, and that in another life he might be a labrador. Anyone of sound mind would also love these three things, and more of András Schiff.