Norman Lebrecht

Passions: Jews On and Off the Record

The role of Jews in creating the popular music industry has been widely documented. Less known is the part played by a handful of Jews in the making of classical legends.

Norman Lebrecht, in his new book, introduces the concentration-camp victim who, together with a war criminal, fashioned the foremost classical label; the Orthodox magnate who financed a gay record label; and the man who signed himself God.

At last, the faces behind the record were revealed.

Long Shadows

The horrors of WWII, what led to them and their aftermath, are at the heart of these outstanding novels by German writer Julia Franck (The Blind Side of the Heart), Norman Lebrecht, (The Game of Opposites), and Booker shortlisted Simon Mawer, (The Glass Room). All examine the possibility of forgiveness, the shifting boundaries between good and evil and the enduring legacies of the past.

How the Jew in Gustav Mahler changed the music of the West

Norman Lebrecht’s best-selling book Why Mahler? examines how a composer, scorned and rejected for decades, has come to replace Beethoven at the centre of symphonic culture. Here, especially for Jewish Book Week, Norman Lebrecht explained how Mahler’s major innovations in music stem directly from his Jewish heritage and the trauma of exile and shares his passion for the great composer with us.

Jews and Music under Nazi rule
Michael Haas’s Forbidden Music looks at the Jewish composers and musicians banned by the Third Reich and the consequences for music throughout the rest of the 20th century. Because Jewish musicians and composers were, by 1933, the principal conveyors of Germany’s historic traditions and the ideals of German culture, the isolation, exile and persecution of Jewish musicians by t...
A Rocky Road

Rabbi Abraham Levy’s memoir tells of his devotion to, and exceptional influence on, Jewish public life and the Sephardi London community for over 50 years.

Writing Music: Norman Lebrecht

In a lively and good-natured session, Norman Lebrecht, novelist and one of Britain’s best known commentators on classical music, discussed with Steven Isserlis, renowned concert cellist and composer, the elusive relationship between the experience of music and the language employed to write about it.