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A Lasting Record

A Lasting Record
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The strange tale of America's best pianist and the Australian lipstick salesman who immortalised his genius. A compelling and surprising tale of musical passion, tragedy and revival. In his prime, William Kapell was acknowledged to be 'the greatest pianistic talent since Horowitz'. Yet his return flight from Australia - where he toured in 1953 - ploughed into a mountain south of San Francisco and all on board were killed. Kapell's promising career was brutally cut short at the premature age of thirty-one. Roy Preston was a humble cosmetics salesman at Myer with a passion for home recording. Using a Royce recorder to cut microgroove discs off radio, he recorded William Kapell's last concert in Geelong, Chopin's Funeral March sonata, which Kapell performed a week before he died. In A Lasting Record, Stephen Downes pieces together the unlikely story of how Roy's recordings were reunited with the Kapell family by way of chance, coincidence and plain good fortune. A music enthusiast himself, Stephen writes with a journalist's keen eye for detail and a nose for a good story.
HarperCollins Publishers; February 2013
320 pages; ISBN 9780730499909
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