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On the front of BfK this month is the cover of Yesterday by Adèle Geras. The artwork is by Carolyn Piggford. This book is one from the 'Teenage Memoirs' series published by Walker (see the article, All Their Yesterdays, in this issue) and Adèle, of course, is the subject of our Authorgraph - see centre-spread. Our thanks to Walker Books for their help in using this illustration.
Twenty-five years ago I read another book with this title; it was by Nicholas Fisk and, refreshingly, it accorded none of the usual prominence to 'serious' music. Nor did it trivialise jazz, popular and folk facets but successfully celebrated their one-ness by means of the author's enjoyment of them.
Now here comes another Making Music which demonstrates this one-ness in a different but delightful way. It is a glorious catalogue of instruments - from the homely to the exotic, grouped according to their nature and described without prejudice. This means that as well as the expected descriptions of violin and trumpet we also get a fascinating four pages on the gamelan orchestra and a detailed look at the making of steel-band pans. Musical style is mentioned throughout en passant which frees authors and reader from boring attempts to define the various supposed differences and allows Charles Mingus equal prominence with Kyung Wah Chung in the string section. And there are plenty of curiosities - nose flute, shawm and rommelpot all have their moments.
There is some careless picture editing - Mozart and Stravinsky appear over captions devoted to Beethoven and Tchaikovsky and Mike Stannard's photographs of clarinet and saxophone have the mouthpieces wrong way up, but the otherwise excellent illustrations and straightforward text make a fine combination to promote a lively interest in this liveliest of arts.