Violinist Peter Mountain, born in Yorkshire in 1923, gives an account of a musician's career in Britain during the 20th century, with fascinating insights concerning a wide range of musical personalities encountered, and memories of the spirit of times
When Peter Mountain arrived for his first day as a student at the Royal Academy of Music in London, he had to turn round and go straight back to his digs. It was the third day of the Battle of Britain, and the building had been declared off limits because of an unexploded bomb in a nearby street.
It set the tone for a long and often extraordinary playing career, beginning in the days when 78 rpm recordings were still state of the art, and ending with Peter's final professional engagement at the age of 80 in 2003.
This book is not only a valuable and possibly unique historical document, it is also highly readable and entertaining. Encompassing the author's adventures as a member of the Royal Marine band that was part of Lord Mountbatten's escort on his way to Singapore after VJ day, a stint as a session musician working on films like Moby Dick with Gregory Peck, a succession of memorable encounters with the great and good of the world of classical music, and much much more, it is a heartfelt and often touching account of a life inspired by the unswerving belief in the power of music to elevate the human spirit.
There are passages throughout the book which are primarily for the benefit of other professional musicians, and may be of limited interest to the average reader, but don't let that put you off. This is a treasure house of insights into a time whose like we will never see again, and you won't find anything else quite like it.