31 MAY 1930, Page 32

Herr Niemann's Life of Brahms has been followed by another,

also frcan a. German, Richard Specht, translated by Eric Blom and published by Dent (21s.). Specht knew the Master during the last ten years of his life, through those peaceful days in- Vienna. Without this' experience, as the author says, " I should scarcely have succeeded in • drawing my portrait, had I not been- in time to enjoy the good fortune of feeling the pressure of the master's firm,- stumpy -hand,' to hear the rusty and creaking voice, to listen to his wholly world-remote, unvirtuosic, self-absorbed playing, and to be in contact with his humanity." This privilege, with free access to letters and docennents, haS• 'enabled the biographer to give • a'- detailed portrait that is absorbingly interesting. The blood of human life flows through it, and the reader shares the days and years, the trials and triumphs, of one of the most self-contained characters that the world of music has ever produced.