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Night flight, Minneapolis to New York, February 1973. High above Lake Huron on a cold and moonless night, Johannes Immergluck looks out at the cloud cover below. The brilliant winter sky casts enough light to illuminate its roiling white surface, as a gloom recently banished from his mind returns full force. The gloom of a job he cannot shake. Somewhere below a tide washes away the last sandy traces of one of the most deservedly neglected composers who ever lived, and Immergluck feels as if he has been hired to go out and find the Lost Chord.
How do you steal a composer? he thinks. More to the point: Why would anyone want to?”
Xylophone Fragments is a fast-paced literary mystery that inhabits the world of classical music. A nameless detective who specializes in musical matters chases around the world, investigating why all traces of a deservedly neglected Baroque composer are disappearing right under the noses of musicians and musicologists. The intrigue enmeshes a beautiful concert pianist, a washed up Vermont composer, an aging artists’ agent and his jaded associate, an owlish musicologist, and a host of other memorable characters. This uncommonly thoughtful work touches on the realities of concert life, the quandaries facing those who would compose and perform concert music, and some of the ineffable mysteries that attend the creation of great music. Told with great wit and a sometimes cynical humor, Xylophone Fragments will appeal both to those who like to sink their teeth into a puzzle that doesn’t necessarily revolve around a dead body, those who like their mysteries to deal with more than “who?” and “why?” – and those who know and love classical music and the people who compose and perform it.