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Feliu Anibal Delargo's mother's first words after he was born were, "Let him cry...It's the most beautiful music in the world." His father dies when this boy is quite young but leaves his son a out-sized cello bow, a source of pride for Feliu. But oh, how his world is transformed when he hears two famous musicians play at a local concert. One he admires and one he wants to literally become because the vibrational beauty of that music has touched something essential in this boy's musical sensitivity.
In 1907 Feliu travels to Barcelona, Spain for the beginning of his music lessons. From that point on the book seems to fly as Delargo learns at the hands of two formidable music masters. So talented is he that he for a short time becomes the favorite musician and friend of Spain's Queen, is befriended by a famous Spanish pianist and adores a young Jewish-Italian violinist woman searching for her lost daughter.
The plot thickens with history and its consequent chaos, ranging from Spain's war in Morocco all the way through to Hitler and Goebbel's desire for fine music. Feliu throughout it all rejects the use of art through music for political or romantic purposes, and the surprise ending of this novel makes the reader realize just how potent and poignant such a choice was in reality.
The Spanish Bow is a beautifully written, sensual, sensitive, passionate, poetic, epic story that will make the reader want to listen to beautiful classical music and canvas the world of music to learn more about its classical musicians.
Just lovely, Andromeda Romano-Lax!
Reviewed by Viviane Crystal on September 12, 2007