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Lost Genius
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About the Author

Kevin Bazzana is the author of Wondrous Strange, a biography of Glenn Gould, winner of the Toronto Book Award and an ASCAP Deems Taylor Award. He lives in Brentwood Bay, British Columbia.

Reviews

Ervin Nyiregyh zi (1903-1987) dazzled concert audiences in the early 20th century with his volcanic performances, playing so intensely that his fingers bled on the keys. Alas, his keyboard virtuosity was drowned out by a discordant symphony of neuroses. Unable even to tie his shoes properly, Nyiregyh zi, who was born in Budapest, Hungary, and settled in L.A., wrestled with crippling stage fright; drank and womanized compulsively (his seventh wife was a prostitute he met six days before marrying her in Vegas); exhausted others with his neediness, paranoia and grandiose posturing; and sabotaged a potentially brilliant career in the name of artistic purity. Bazzana, biographer of eccentric pianist Glenn Gould, follows Nyiregyh zi's life from early acclaim through decades of poverty, obscurity and debauchery to his brief, celebrated comeback in the 1970s as the "skid row pianist." Although Bazzana can be reductionist-he diagnoses Nyiregyh zi with borderline personality disorder brought on by a domineering stage mother-he tells this lurid story sympathetically, without excusing Nyiregyh zi's excesses. Even better, he writes about his subject's music in a lucid and evocative way. A tormented, self-destructive artist and the creator of thrilling, emotionally supercharged music, Nyiregyh zi is, in Bazzana's compelling portrait, a study in the upside and downside of romanticism. Photos. (Sept. 17) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

Praise for "Wondrous Strange":
"A study worthy of its subject -- expertly paced, admiring yet sensible, touched with wit and intensely readable." -- Michael Dirda, "Washington Post"
"It wasn't until Kevin Bazzana began 20 years of research that Gould found. . . his true biographer."
-- William Littler, "Gramophone"
Praise for "Wondrous Strange":
" A study worthy of its subject -- expertly paced, admiring yet sensible, touched with wit and intensely readable." -- Michael Dirda, "Washington Post"
" It wasn' t until Kevin Bazzana began 20 years of research that Gould found. . . his true biographer."
-- William Littler, "Gramophone"
" Bazzana [displays] considerable psychological understanding, not to mention the fine prose style already obvious from his Glenn Gould biography... .Few works of Canadian non-fiction are as well written as this one."
-- George Fetherling, "Vancouver Sun
"
" Splendidly researched... .Nyiregyha zi' s story is fascinating, bizarre, and well told... .Bazzana has fashioned a highly readable yarn."
-- Anton Kuerti, "Globe and Mail"
" Bazzana, who wrote the best biography of Gould yet to appear, has again produced a superb book -- fascinating, elegantly written, thoroughly researched, and meticulously documented."
-- "Wholenote
"" When Nyiregyha zi was on he was extraordinary, and off-stage his life provided more than enough colour to make Lost Genius genuinely entertaining -- as well as a cautionary tale for prodigies of any genre."
-- "Georgia Straight
"
Praise for "Wondrous Strange":
" A study worthy of its subject -- expertly paced, admiring yet sensible, touched with wit and intensely readable." -- Michael Dirda, "Washington Post"
" It wasn' t until Kevin Bazzana began 20 years of research that Gould found. . . his true biographer."
-- William Littler, "Gramophone"

"From the Hardcover edition."


"Bazzana [displays] considerable psychological understanding, not to mention the fine prose style already obvious from his Glenn Gould biography....Few works of Canadian non-fiction are as well written as this one."
-- George Fetherling, "Vancouver Sun
"
"Splendidly researched....Nyiregyhazi's story is fascinating, bizarre, and well told....Bazzana has fashioned a highly readable yarn."
-- Anton Kuerti, "Globe and Mail"
"Bazzana, who wrote the best biography of Gould yet to appear, has again produced a superb book -- fascinating, elegantly written, thoroughly researched, and meticulously documented."
-- "Wholenote
""When Nyiregyhazi was on he was extraordinary, and off-stage his life provided more than enough colour to make Lost Genius genuinely entertaining -- as well as a cautionary tale for prodigies of any genre."
-- "Georgia Straight
"
Praise for "Wondrous Strange"
"A study worthy of its subject -- expertly paced, admiring yet sensible, touched with wit and intensely readable." -- Michael Dirda, "Washington Post"
"It wasn't until Kevin Bazzana began 20 years of research that Gould found. . . his true biographer."
-- WilliamLittler, "Gramophone"

"From the Hardcover edition."


"Bazzana [displays] considerable psychological understanding, not to mention the fine prose style already obvious from his Glenn Gould biography....Few works of Canadian non-fiction are as well written as this one."
-- George Fetherling, "Vancouver Sun
"
"Splendidly researched....Nyiregyhazi's story is fascinating, bizarre, and well told....Bazzana has fashioned a highly readable yarn."
-- Anton Kuerti, "Globe and Mail"
"Bazzana, who wrote the best biography of Gould yet to appear, has again produced a superb book -- fascinating, elegantly written, thoroughly researched, and meticulously documented."
-- "Wholenote
""When Nyiregyhazi was on he was extraordinary, and off-stage his life provided more than enough colour to make Lost Genius genuinely entertaining -- as well as a cautionary tale for prodigies of any genre."
-- "Georgia Straight
"
Praise for "Wondrous Strange":
"A study worthy of its subject -- expertly paced, admiring yet sensible, touched with wit and intensely readable." -- Michael Dirda, "Washington Post"
"It wasn't until Kevin Bazzana began 20 years of research that Gould found. . . his true biographer."
-- William Littler, "Gramophone"

"From the Hardcover edition."


"Augusta Metro Spirit," 9/10/08
"A wonderful look at Romanticism in practice and a fascinating vision of the rise and fall and rise and fall of a man of incredible talent, "Lost Genius" is truly a magical story sure to inspire a wide range of emotion, intellectual curiosity, and depth in the lives of readers everywhere."

In this well-documented biography of little-known Hungarian pianist and composer Ervin Nyiregyh zi (1903-87), Bazzana (Wondrous Strange: The Life and Art of Glenn Gould) draws on Geza Revesz's 1925 Psychology of a Musical Prodigy but expands the canvas to cover an entire lifetime. Through interviews and the examination of primary sources, Bazzana traces the pianist's formative years in Europe from his grade-school-age concertizing to his popular world tours, distressing relationships with managers and promoters, difficulties with alcohol and sex addiction, and encounters with contemporaries, including actors Bela Lugosi and Harold Lloyd and even gangsters Al Capone and John Dillinger. One empathizes with Nyiregyh zi as he careens from superstar to penniless drudge to adored advocate of romanticism and back to homelessness, all within a few years. Nyiregyh zi's ten wives and affairs with luminaries such as silent screen star Gloria Swanson make his relations with women prime territory, but it is unfortunate that Bazzana concentrates so much on this and chooses crude, off-putting language to describe the pianist's sexuality. The contemporary photographs and facsimiles of musical scores add interest, and the comprehensive index is useful. Recommended, with the above caveats, for all collections.-Barry Zaslow, Miami Univ. Libs., Oxford, OH Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

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