Distant Melodies

Edward Dusinberre

An absorbing journey of exploration into the related ideas of home, displacement and retreat in the lives and music of four great composers – Bartók, Britten, Dvorák and Elgar – by one of the world’s leading string quartet players

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How does music heard and played over many years inform one’s sense of home? In Distant Melodies, Edward Dusinberre, the English first violinist of the Takács Quartet, explores changing ideas of home, exile and return in the lives and particular chamber works of four composers: Antonin Dvorák, Edward Elgar, Bela Bartók and Benjamin Britten. A resident of Boulder, Colorado for nearly three decades, Dusinberre discovers ways in which music may both accentuate and ameliorate homesickness, as he visits and imagines some of the places crucial to these composers’ creative inspiration. Drawn to the storiesof Dvorák, Bartók and Britten’s American sojourns as they try to reconcile their new surroundings with nostalgiafortheir homelands, Dusinberre looks at his own evolving relationship to England through the prism of Elgar’s unusual Piano Quintet and the landscapes that inspired it.
New aspects of familiar music reveal themselves under altered circumstances. In the forty-eight years since the Takács Quartet was founded in Budapest, the ensemble has undergone several significant changes of personnel. During a concert tour in Hong Kong and a return to Budapest to perform in the same hall where Bartók gave his last concert in Hungary, Dusinberre examines how a piece of music may both reinforce roots and cross borders. When travel is forbidden, the ability of music to affirm home and transcend distance takes on extra significance. As the Takács welcomes a new violist during the COVID-19 pandemic, Britten’s string quartets shape the ensemble’s experience of rehearsing at home.
Combining travel writing with revealing and humorous insights into the working lives of string quartet musicians, Distant Melodies illuminates the relationship between music and home.


As first violinist of the world-renowned Takács Quartet, Edward Dusinberre has won a Grammy and awards from Gramophone Magazine, the Japanese Recording Academy, Chamber Music America and the Royal Philharmonic Society. Combining an international career with his longstanding appointment as Artist-in-Residence at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Dusinberre performs as a member of the Takács in the USA, United…

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