A Musician Before His Time, Constantin Silvestri – conductor, composer, pianist
Biography by John Gritten.

For the first time the fascinating life story is told of a musician who has been compared to Von Karajan and Barbirolli. Silvestri's conducting electrified East European audiences in the Fifties and worldwide in the Sixties. From exclusive access to his personal letters and research in Bucharest, John Gritten reveals Silvestri's pre-war struggles in Romania against ill-health and intrigue, his loves, set-backs, triumphs and frustration at political interference and the extraordinary relationship that developed with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. Silvestri became a British citizen shortly before his soaring reputation was cut short by cancer in 1969. In the words of the eminent specialist who tended him: 'The world has lost a great musician.'

Over 40 of Silvestri's contemporaries give their impressions of him, including composers, conductors and soloists of the calibre of Daniel Barenboim, lda Haendel, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Peter Frankl, Peter Katin, Edgar Cosma, Marius Constant and Sir Charles Groves.

’Aside from purely factual discoveries, the strength of Gritten’s book – the first substantial writing about the conductor in English – is its selection of quoted descriptions as to what Silvestri’s music-making actually sounded like (all too rare in many conductor biographies). His book is more appreciation than biography – a labour of love. The story is well worth telling and reading’. (BBC Music Magazine)

’John Gritten's painstakingly researched and generously illustrated book must be welcomed, especially as a reminder of Silvestri's achievements with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra... Absolutely indispensable to anyone who admired this brilliantly individual musician’ (Classical Music)

To purchase a copy of the biography, click below.

Book cost (£20.00) plus postage (choose from postage options below)

If you are in the United Kingdom and prefer to pay by cheque
please send your order and the full amount to 72 Warwick Gardens, LONDON W14 8PP.

 

Constantin Silvestri, magician – A view from the orchestra
by Raymond Carpenter.

Raymond Carpenter reveals the maestro’s controversial methods which brought the orchestra up to international standards in a remarkably short time but to which some more famous orchestras which Silvestri guest-conducted took exception. You can share with members of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra impressions of Silvestri in rehearsal never available to audiences and critics; and Carpenter, who in his almost 40 years with the BSO played under the baton of very many distinguished conductors, compares the methods and interpretations of some of them with those of the magician for whom he retains profound if ambivalent feelings.

'Carpenter was the orchestra's principal clarinet during Silvestri's tenure, so his front-line testimony is enormously valuable. I like his honesty in relating the occasional disaster alongside the many truly memorable concerts. Silvestri was most demanding and idiosyncratic, yet the Bournemouth players – to their eternal credit – responded to him. Carpenter himself describes going through 'the fires of hell' before finding the required way of playing numerous passages. This account of a musical legend demands to be read' (Classical Music)

To purchase a copy of the book, click below.

Book cost (£10.00) plus postage (choose from postage options below)

If you are in the United Kingdom and prefer to pay by cheque
please send your order and the full amount to 72 Warwick Gardens, LONDON W14 8PP.

First published in 1998
by Kitzinger for Warwick Editions
ISBN  1900496-12-7

First published in 2011
by RMA. ISBN 978-0-9569580-0-6