Thursday 22 August 2013


Edinburgh International Book Festival 2013, books that caught my attention.

Road to Referendum, Ian MacWhirter.
Poetry. I Steer Towards the Catastrophe, Robin Robertson.
Creating a Pianist’s Bible, Alfred Brendel.
Art and Passion in the Renaissance, Jonathan Jones.
Daniel Rachel Behind the Art of Songwriting.

Seeing the World Through Shakespeare’s Eyes, Jonathan Bate.
History of Nations, Peter Furtado (28 essays by native writers on national identity and history)

Tuesday 20 August 2013

Pianist Alfred Brendel Edinburgh International Book Festival 2013

Alfred Brendel

Alfred Brendel, Austrian pianist, gave a charming and knowledgeable talk about his new book the Pianist Bible with Jonathan Mills, composer and pianist and director of the Edinburgh International Festival, and co-author Michael Morley  at Edinburgh International Book Festival 2013. 

Firstly Brendel and co-author Michael Morley read excepts from his new book a Pianist’s Bible – with chapters on Emotion, Notation, Fantasy, Art and Artists, Humour, Wit and Wisdom.  

The talk really became interesting when the audience gave requests and questions. 
One member asked about his favourite recording by Brendel, which he said was Schubert played with the Cleveland Quartet. He thought this recording was so together and he wondered how older European players matched younger American players. 

Brendel said his favourite composers were Bach, Handel, Hadyn and Schubert. He said that great piano music was composed for ensembles. Someone asked him was it about playing with feeling OR in time – to which he replied it was about ‘feeling in time’!

He said that the piano had the biggest solo repertoire. As the piano is more complex to learn than other instruments such as violin or wind instruments, it therefore takes longer to reach the peak of performance, usually between 40 and 60.   
Brendel said the biggest influence on his music was great conductors and great singers. He said it was necessary to turn the piano into the orchestra and to understand the ebb and flow between the genres and to control the rhythm and nuances.

Jonathan Mills
And here is Brendel playing Schubert.... wow -


Sunday 18 August 2013

John Taylor of Duran Duran at Edinburgh Book festival

John Taylor, member of 80s band Duran Duran, discussed his memoir In the Pleasure Groove at Edinburgh International Book Festival 2013. Copyrighted

Paper Sculptures Edinburgh Book Festival

Beautiful bird readers in cages paper sculptures arrived at Edinburgh Book Festival 2013 on Saturday as a gift. The birds were delicate and carefully crafted with newspaper. Scotsman writer Eileen Downe admires them here.