The Score of my life by Zubin Mehta
When you pick up the biography of a musician like Zubin Mehta, you not only want to know about his craft but also about his extraordinary journey of life, as many of us expect it to be unusual and filled with lessons for life. Zubin Mehta has definitely lead a high profile life, living all over the world and conducting music for wide variety of people. Coming from India, the kind of musical career he chose to pursue and pursue it in a way that he a living legend today should make an amazing story.
At the outset, I have to admit I do not understand the orchestras, symphonies and operas and my understanding still remains more or less where it was before reading the book.
As a biography the book falls short on many fronts. There are no stories that have been shared, except in one chapter towards the end of the book. The focus is more on the professional journey but it read more like reading the series of concerts he did. There is a mention of people who he interacted with during his journey, but no one has been mentioned in a way that you would know either the mentioned or the author. When people achieve huge successes, there are people who help them get there, and in my opinion the biographies can put spotlight on those people who usually remain in the background. Author seems to have chosen only to speak about himself and his work. There are a few controversies that he mentions, but again none in detail that shows how he managed to get out of it or how they impacted him personally and professionally. Most of them are mentioned as data points. This is also an opportunity to acquaint the readers with the craft and its nuances, they should feel enriched after reading about the not so well known facts about the skill. I think Mehta missed out completely on this.
On a personal front he very briefly mentions his first wife and their two children. Intent to not talk about three of them is very obvious. Second wife is praised a lot in repeated words, but that sounds more like an obligation than the words coming from the heart. The two affairs and the children born out of them are just mentioned for the record. I am sure when you go through so many affairs, they have an impact on you, both when you get into them and when you get out of them. They impact you both personally and professionally. There is no mention of any emotions that he has for any one in his close circle. He talks emotionally only about his parents and his father in particular.
After reading this I felt I met only Zubin Mehta the conductor and not the human being. It is more like a technical biography than the one that is written to share. I wish he could write another biography and this time from the heart.
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