…I just received a copy of Classical & Romantic Instrument Marvels, by Robert Mandel.

Robert – who contacted me recently for photo use – is a Hungarian hurdy-gurdy player, instrument builder, researcher, and occasional author.  He wrote and designed this beautiful book.

He admits it is deliberately just a sampling of instrument specimens, handpicked to showcase the many unusual “marvels” of the musical instrument world.  “Classical and Romantic” (as in the title) are not the only periods covered, as he delves into the early 20th century and America, with inclusion of a Dolceola and a vintage photograph of an all-female guitar group with a Knutsen harp guitar player (these 2 items were my contributions).

Robert reminds me somewhat of a Hungarian version of myself.  He clearly delights in the fanciful and the unusual, and this is an obvious labor of love.

Though chock filled with details, it is still intended for the general reader.  This keeps some essays necessarily shorter than the topics often require, not at the expense of accuracy per se, but perhaps needing more perspective (specifically on the topics I am familiar with).

Still, it is not meant as an encyclopedia in any way, and the instruments and photos (with occasional patents, period photos and other illustrations) are absolutely fascinating and gorgeous, and I can’t wait to dive into this book with its bounty of new and obscure information.

Bravo, my friend!