“Daniel Kossov – Pictures of an Outstanding Musician Part 3: The Calling” by Rosemary Tingley

Rosemary Tingley
Advance Press (2020)
ISBN 9780987478313
Reviewed by Sheri Hoyte for Reader Views (06/2020)

Rosemary Tingley brings her distinctive trilogy to its conclusion in, “Daniel Kossov – Pictures of an Outstanding Musician Part 3: The Calling.” While this story will most certainly be enjoyed by enthusiasts of the classical music world, it’s also an inspirational story that will be enjoyed by fans of biography and memoir.

Daniel Kossov is a creative genius. Born into the music world – music is the very essence of his being. Kossov holds himself and others to impeccably high standards. His instinctive ability to know how any given piece of music is supposed to sound leaves him prone to dissatisfaction as he endeavors toward perfection, often succumbing to deep depression. He is the very definition of being misunderstood and his attempts to enlighten others often create strife in his personal and professional relationships.

In this final book of the series, Tingley seeks to dig deeper into the psyche of Daniel Kossov. Who is the man behind the music? It’s clear from the very start this is a formidable challenge as her subject is not an easy man to get to know or even very approachable at times. Given that Tingley is a personal friend of Kossov, one might think it easy to write about him. Yet, while reading, I found myself relating to Tingley’s task at hand as figuratively trying to squeeze blood from a turnip. Even so, Tingley’s gentle manner and sheer admiration for Kossov enables her to indeed, give us a glimpse inside the man, and it is because of her relationship with Kossov that she is able to provide the reader with a unique perspective.

The way Tingley presents her story, offering narrative that is as personable as it is informative, endears the reader to Kossov. Tingley relays her message through vignette type stories, each chapter recalling a particular time in Daniel’s life that exposes more of what drives him. I enjoyed the firsthand experiences and found myself in awe of Kossov’s instinctive abilities. Tingley’s writing style is genuine and charming, every word connecting the reader personally with her subject. Also interspersed throughout the biography are original poems by the author that further support Kossov’s story. The beginning of her poem, Pledge, sums things up perfectly:

“I must have meaningful work to do
Or my life is worthless
To do what God would have me do
To follow the Spirit rich and true
My secret heart does know it.”

The final section of the book is the most gripping, in my opinion. Kossov and Tingley have a heart to heart and connect in a way they seemingly had never done before, its authenticity bringing the trilogy, “Daniel Kossov: Pictures of an Outstanding Musician” to a most satisfactory conclusion.

As an aside, I learned much about the author as well through her interactions with Kossov.  Perhaps she might consider writing her memoir one day.

2 thoughts on ““Daniel Kossov – Pictures of an Outstanding Musician Part 3: The Calling” by Rosemary Tingley

  1. I have been friends with Rosemary Tingley and Daniel Kossov for many years. I shared the first desk of the first violin section of the West Australian Symphony Orchestra with Daniel when he was concertmaster of the orchestra for a short time. Daniel is truly one of the finest musicians I have ever had the pleasure of working with and music simply bleeds from every pore in his body and is expressed clearly through every phrase he creates in his playing or, these days as well, conducts from the podium. Daniel started out as a child prodigy on the violin, attended Curtis Institute in Philadelphia, and then became our concertmaster here in Perth Western Australia. Everywhere he performs he gets raving reviews and I must agree with everything expressed by Sheri Hoyte in her review of Rosemary Tingley’s 3rd book about Daniel. Daniel can be difficult as a person and as a musician and I will explain further that, sometimes that can be an admirable trait. I will explain what I mean in a very short account which Rosemary may not have ever learned about Daniel.

    I once asked Daniel if he had ever gotten so upset at another musician that he actually hit the person. His answer was yes he did once. That begged the question, well why did you do that and who was it that you hit? He said he once hit his mother with his bow. If you know what a violin bow is, it is a very delicate device used in the right hand of a violinist to draw the sound out of the strings and you certainly can’t hurt or damage a person if you hit them with your bow, but you could break your bow. So, my next question for Daniel was who did you hit with your bow and his answer was that he hit his mother, who was his pianist accompanying Daniel as he played a solo. Of course, my next question was why did you hit her and his reply was because she made a mistake. I then asked him how long ago he did that and he said when he was 6 years old.

    Another little story from when I shared the front stand with Daniel in the orchestra. We were rehearsing some extremely difficult passage in some piece of music and I made a mistake. When I did it again he leaned over to me and said, “that’s twice now”. I acknowledged that he was correct about that and then said, “and there may be third and a fourth time coming.” I don’t mean to say Daniel never made mistakes, we all do especially in first violin sections but that is why we practice so much.

    I can safely say that no one in the West Australian Symphony Orchestra will ever forget Daniel Kossov and what an amazing violinist and musician he is. It was a great pleasure to sit next to Daniel every day and to hear so much fine musical creativity come from his contribution to music making. I will always wish the best of everything for Daniel in his personal future and in his continued music making. As far as Rosemary Tingley’s books go, each builds on the previous and you simply can not go wrong in reading the Trilogy as a whole and as intended.


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