The subtitle of this book, A Memoir , is a misnomer as it consists of two wide ranging interviews given to the Swiss writer Martin Meyer who had previously undertaken a similar book with Alfred Brendel ( Conversations with Alfred Brendel ), with a more appropriate title. 

There is no doubt, however, that Meyer asks the pianist András Schiff many pertinent questions and we gain much insight into his early life and musical training in pre-Perestroika Eastern Europe, Hungary, to be precise. We learn that both of Schiff’s parents had been previously married, but their spouses died in Auschwitz, being Jewish. Schiff’s father survived because of his skills as an obstetrician. But according to the pianist, the persecution did not end there, his own beginning with an early childhood taunt from a playmate. 

His abhorrence of right-wing politics is highlighted in letters to newspapers published in the second part of the text along with some liner notes from his later ECM recordings, profiles of musicians like the harpsichordist George...

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