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HUMANITIES 339 his seventieth birthday), 'Shattering a Few Myths' about Gould is of particular note. Here, for example, the often held assumption that Gould was largely self-taught is challenged, as Beckwith maintains that Alberto - Guerrer6~-with whom Gould andBeckwithstudied piano, had considerable influence on Gould's playing, including Gould's preference for sitting low in front of the piano. Here, as in various texts throughout the book, Beckwith injects personal sentiments. This is most evident in the final section of the book, 'Sounds Like ...' in which he describes his gradual loss of hearing, the ramifications of this loss, and his ways of coping with this most difficult deprivation. Throughout these two texts, Beckwith blends personal observations with discussions of other acoustic perspectives, and his strong opinions against Muzak. With its collectionof diverse texts, and its combinationofdifferent levels of commentary, analYSiS, and storytelling (borrowing an etlmomusicological expression), Music Papers is eminently readable as well as informative. Most important is that Music Papers reveals Beckwith's wide-ranging knowledge and ever-present attention to detail, his enormous commitment and contribution to all aspects of Canadian music, his sense of humour, as well as a profoundly human spirit. (GORDON E. SMITH) Gabor Szilasi PhotographieslPhotographs 1954-1996. Text by David Harris Published for Vox Populi by McGill-Queen's University Press 1997· 144· $34.95 Gabor Szilasi is one of Canada's most important photographers. An almost entirely self-taughtdocumentaryphotographer who in tum became a gifted teacher, Szilasi has spent a career making portraits of people and their domestic environments, urban sprawt architectural £ac;ades, and the homes and faces of his artist friends. This book accompanies a retrospective exhibition of Szilasi's photographs held at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in the fall of 1997- It includes an introduction by Franck Michel, the exhibition's curator, a longer text by photographic historian David Harris, and a selection of Szilasi's images. Born in Budapestin 1928 to a middle-class family, Szilasi fled to Canada in 1956 with his father, the only other member of his family to survive the Second World War. Szilasi had started to take photographs in Hungary, including images of the uprising, and once in Canada - he spent a short time in Quebec City before settling in Montreal - he dedicated himself entirely to the medium, acquiring his craft and knowledge through workshops, lectures, and friends. Within three years, he was working as a commercial photographer and teacher; in 1970, he began to document the people and places of Montreal and rural Quebec. Szilasi works primarily in b1ack and white with a large-format (4 x 5 ) camera. These two elements produce a deliberate and formal image rather 340 LEITERS IN CANADA 1998 than a spontaneous one, and are in keeping with the long tradition of documentary photography that insists on a seemingly unmediated, unstylized , cool and detached view of its subject. Szilasi's portraits in this mode are psychologically complex, his sitters often photographed within a domestic space that adds a layer of meaning to the expression we can read in the face or body.His belief that character is shaped by environment led him in the late 19705 to make diptychs juxtaposing a black and white image of the sitter and a colour picture of the clusters of objects that compose his or her domestic environment. These images reveal, among other things, the immediate situation ofclass and culture that the face alone might only suggest. Like most practitioners of this tradition - the Americans Paul Strand and Walker Evans are the models here - Szilasi conveys the essential dignity of his subjects and by association, of all humanity. His later work includes a photographicjourney along the fac;ades ofMontreal's St Catherine Street, intensely seen records of 'vernacular architecture/ commercial signs, and urban thoroughfares. These show the same kind of attention to a tightly organized composition, as well as the telling detail. Szilasi's eye for the objects and set of relations that define the history and culture of a place is Wlparalleled. This book is a fine introduction to the story of Szilasi's career. David Harris's essay provides a solid foundation for assessing the work. Harris...


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