A belated review of ‘Out of Silence’

7th March 2023 | Books, Reviews | 2 comments

My 2010 book Out of Silence has received a decade-late review in American Record Guide – in the nicest possible way. Their reviewer Bruno Repp had written a long article about lesser-known piano music he thought readers would enjoy discovering. He ended with this item:

‘I would like to conclude by recommending a book. But a book is not music, so why include it here? Well, in a way, this one is. Susan Tomes is the distinguished Scottish chamber music pianist who formed the backbone of Domus and the Florestan Trio and has published six books. Her Out of Silence (Boydell, 2010) is the third and consists of short essays on a variety of topics related to her performance activities. They are thoughtful and modest but perspicacious.

Books by musicians tend to be of three kinds: anecdotes, technical advice and opinions about teaching and interpretation. Tomes is not opinionated; she is a seeker, not a finder. She writes about events and observations that have informed her artistic development. I feel her musicianship has also influenced the way she writes. Her perfectly composed essays are like Bagatelles, Impromptus and Intermezzos of creative writing – music through the eyes.’

American Record Guide, Sept/Oct 2021, reviewed by Bruno Repp


  1. James

    Thank you, Susan, I’m very pleased that your book was noticed and reviewed so positively.
    Coincidentally I’ve just been listening to the new recording of Schubert’s E flat Trio, with Lars Vogt, et al. I was intrigued and pleased that they selected the original and longer, better finale. For me it doesn’t come close to your own recording with the Florestan, though it is pleasant enough. I think the main reason I didn’t warm to the recording was the slow, gentle recording of the 2nd movement. It lacks the icy grip of the beloved Hyperion recording.

    • Susan Tomes

      ‘Icy grip’, yes! Slow and gentle doesn’t sound quite right. It’s that characteristic Schubertian mixture of lyrical/dramatic, or is it happy/sad, or wistful/energetic? Anyway, it’s a mood with many ingredients.


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