Humphrey Burton CBE
Faber Members pay only £10.39 for this title. Sign up for free during checkout to get your discount.
Proceed to Checkout
ISBN 9780571206797 Format Paperback
Published 08/10/2001 Length 576 pages

About Book

Humphrey Burton's definitive Menuhin is the first full length, cradle-to-grave study of Yehudi Menuhin, one of the best known and best loved of the twentieth century's classical musicians. Menuhin was born in New York of Russian Jewish immigrants. He demanded to play the violin when only four and proved prodigiously gifted; newspapers were soon dubbing him 'Miracle Boy'. He gave his first solo recital aged eight and within five years had acquired international fame, making triumphant appearances successively in Paris, New York, Berlin and London.

Outside purely musical matters Menuhin became renowned as an individualist who took a certain delight in shocking the establishment. After the war his determination to build bridges with the defeated German nation brought him into sharp conflict with the Jewish musical intelligentsia in New York and public opinion in Israel. Later he spoke out against apartheid in South Africa and denounced the Soviet Union's oppressive policy towards writers and dissidents. Meetings with presidents and prime ministers became an essential part of his schedule. Menuhin was a passionate devotee of yoga and his enthusiasm for Indian music led him to a fruitful partnership with Ravi Shankar; a delight in improvisation prompted another treasured duo with the jazz violinist Stéphane Grappelli.

Humphrey Burton knew Menuhin well; they worked together on radio and television projects for forty years. Drawing on contemporary sources, unpublished family correspondence and the interviews he conducted with Menuhin for an award-winning Classic FM radio series, Burton has bypassed the familiar image of the saint-like, philosophising violinist guru to create a compelling, multi-faceted portrait of an indisputably great musician who was also a complex human being.

  • About Humphrey Burton CBE

    Humphrey Burton read Music and History at Cambridge University and entered the BBC as a sound studio manager in 1955. In 1958 he joined the ground-breaking TV arts magazine, 'Monitor'. He has won many international awards, including three from the British Academy, four Emmies and the Italia Prize (for The Making of West Side Story).

    Twice in charge of Music and Arts for BBC Television, Burton was also a founder member of London Weekend Television, where he edited and presented the ITV arts series 'Aquarius'. He is still active in the fields of radio and television.

    To celebrate his seventieth birthday in March 2001 he conducted a charity gala performance of Verdi's 'Requiem' at the Royal Albert Hall in aid of prostate cancer.

    Burton worked with Yehudi Menuhin on many radio and television programmes, including a 20-part radio series for Classic FM. He was also a frequent collaborator with Leonard Bernstein, and later wrote his biography, also published by Faber. He was awarded a CBE in the Millennium honours.

    More Info