Cricket, Music and Friendship

As the 2009 Ashes Test Series gets underway in Cardiff, The Reader Reviews…

Cardus: Celebrant of Beauty
A Memoir by Robin Daniels
(Palatine Books)

We have been sent a review copy of an absolutely beautifully produced new book. Cardus: Celebrant of Beauty by Robin Daniels is a book of charm and insight, combining personal memories, biography, a fine selection of Cardus maxims and extracts, and an appraisal of Cardus the man, the friend and the writer.

Nevil Cardus was born in Manchester in 1888. He was the first music critic to be knighted, the most evocative and most often quoted writer on cricket of all time, (Wisden dubbed him ‘the patron saint of the craft of cricket writing’) and one of the great English essayists of the 20th century.

For more than half a century he wrote about music and cricket for The Manchester Guardian, changing the course of writing on cricket. He developed a style of writing that was intuitive, richly felt, evocative of colour and atmosphere and insightful about player or musician.

In a long and remarkable life, Cardus was a friend of famous writers such as JM Barrie and JB Priestley, cricketers CB Fry, Don Bradman; singers Kathleen Ferrier and Lotte Lehmann; conductors Beecham and Barbirolli and musicians Menuhin and Barenboim. The book is filled with a sense of Cardus’s large and warm personality.

Robin Daniels’ loving reflection on the life and work of his friend is testament to his own lifetime’s love of reading:

Unlike the internet, books offer a place to feel, respond and ponder – safely, slowly and inwardly. Reading is not meant to be an end in itself: it need not be just for escape and entertainment, or the passive gathering of information. Reading invites interpretation and close dialogue (with the text and with oneself); it offers a site for thinking about self and others and the world around us. Reading gives us space to alter rigid pathways of habitual thought. It can touch our own emotions, yielding new links or associations and insights.

In his introduction to the book Andrew Flintoff writes: ‘I am glad to recommend this book, especially because Robin Daniels is honouring the memory of his friend by donating some of the royalties to the Lancashire Academy, for the finding and coaching of Lancashire stars of the future … For specialist and non specialist alike, this is a first-class book about a first class writer. Neville Cardus has many imitators but no equal.’

(You can buy Cardus: Celebrant of Beauty A Memoir by Robin Daniels here at our online bookshop.)

by Angela Macmillan

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