Con Brio: Four Russians Called the Budapest String Quartet

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iUniverse, Jul 26, 2000 - Music - 308 pages
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A 1959 New Yorker profile captured the inspired risk-taking and raw creative spark of a Budapest String Quartet rehearsal: "Sasha leaped from his chair and with violin held aloft, played the passage with exaggerated schmalz, like a street fiddler in Naples. Kroyt...stopped playing and started singing a Russian song....Mischa Schneider thereupon performed a number of stupendous triads on his cello....Only Roisman went quietly on with his part, untouched by the pandemonium around him, playing Beethoven with his noble tone and elegant bowing." Here were four men with personalities as varied as their ways of playing. Yet when they played, they produced a perfect union of instrumental voices and interpretive nuances that not only created an entirely new audience for chamber music in America but also made the Budapest String Quartet the premier chamber music group of the twentieth century.

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CON BRIO: Four Russians Called the Budapest String Quartet

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A relaxed and engaging portrait of the incomparable chamber- music ensemble (1917-67) and its four most important principals, gracefully interwoven into a history of string-quartet playing in America ... Read full review

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About the author (2000)

Nat Brandt is a veteran journalist who began his career with CBS News asa senior newswriter, then turned to print journalism. He was a reporter before joining The New York Times as an editor, working primarily on the NationalNews Desk. Subsequently, he was Managing Editor of American Heritage magazineand Editor-in-Chief of Publishers Weekly. He is a past president of the nation'soldest journalists' organization, the Society of the Silurians.

A native of New York City, Brandt majored in history at the University of Rochester and was a member of the school's history honor society, the Morey Club. He has written many books dealing with Civil War history, including The Man Who Tried to Burn New York, which dealt with a Confederate plotto burn New York City in 1864. It won the Douglas Southall Freeman History Award in 1987 and is available from

Brandt's other books include Mr. Tubbs' Civil War; Harlem at War: The BlackExperience in WWII; The Town That Started the Civil War, which was a best-sellingBook-of-the-Month Club and History Book Club selection; T he Congressman WhoGot Away With Murder; Massacre in Shansi (also available from,and When Oberlin Was King of the Gridiron: The HeismanYears.

Brandt has lectured on both the East and West Coasts on Civil War subjects, and at the National Archives in Washington, D.C., on both the Civil War and the Harlem riot of World War II. He is currently the co-creator of the television series "Crucible of the Millennium," which will be broadcast by PBS in the fall of 2001.

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