Andor the Spielmann. A Jewish Life for Music.
The life-story told here is interwoven with the political turmoil and human uprooting of the 20th century. A childhood in German-occupied Hungary, with its systematic persecution of the Jews, gives way to youth and young adulthood caught within the straightjacket of a socialist society.
Brought up in a devout, strictly observant Jewish family, ANDOR IZSÁK experiences the call of music as the constant guiding-light of his life. Faith and music together lead him to rediscover the great tradition of 19th century synagogue music, and he makes it his mission to restore this music, and with it the organ in all its incomparable resonance, to its former place in Jewish worship. In Hannover, Germany, he finally comes close to his goal.
These memoirs touch us with joy and suffering. Related consistently from the point of view of their subject, they are expressed in a captivatingly succinct, frequently humorous style.
‘Old Grünstein made one condition. If the young man had no proper training for a profession, he must at least learn to pray, and that meant to pray properly, in Hebrew. His future son-in-law agreed, and kept his word. Vilmos kept his and gave his blessing to the union.’
‘In the voice of the cantor Andor heard pure beauty and deep faith. The song touched his soul, opened his innermost being. No prayer, no law, no rule could do that. Then and then only did he feel really included in the divine Covenant made to Abraham. The cantor’s voice poured forth a perfect harmony, providing something firm and stable on this earth that was not to be found in worldly affairs.’