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Playing by Ear - Reflections on Sound and Music

Playing by Ear

Reflections on Sound and Music

By Peter Brook
Imprint: Nick Hern Books
Paperback : 9781848428317, 152 pages, October 2019



In this collection of new essays, the world-renowned director Peter Brook offers unique and personal insights into sound and music—from the surprising impact of Broadway musicals on his famous Midsummer Night's Dream, to the allure of applause, and on to the ultimate empty space: silence.

It is studded throughout with episodes from the author's own life and career in opera, theatre and film—including working on many of his most notable productions, and intimate first-hand accounts of collaborating with leading figures including Truman Capote, Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh—and ranges across musical styles and cultures from around the world.

Playing by Ear is full of Brook's shafts of insight and perception, and written with his customary wit and wisdom. It is a rich companion to his earlier reflections on Shakespeare in The Quality of Mercy and on language and meaning in Tip of the Tongue.


"Incisive and perceptive… gives readers a unique opportunity to enter the mind of one of the most imaginative and enduring theatre directors of the last three-quarters of a century. It functions as a meditation on music and sound but also provides pleasant reminders of the life and career of an indisputably great man."

- British Theatre Guide