And summer’s lease hath all too short a date...—Shakespeare,Sonnet XVIII

Yehudi Menuhin—and his small but potent family—have never lacked for publicity. The barrage of words began in the mid-1920s, when Menuhin (born in New York in 1916) burst upon the musical world, first in San Francisco, then in New York, and finally in Europe. From the first his playing was felt to possess an unearthly quality, and Albert Einstein, for one, thought that it was a proof of the existence of God. A younger sister, Hephzibah (1920-1981), was a brilliantly gifted child pianist; the youngest sister, Yaltah (born 1922), was also a considerable talent at the piano. The Menuhin parents, father Moshe (1893-1982) and mother Marutha (born c. 1891), both Russian-Jewish immigrants by way of Palestine, were notable personalities as well: Moshe in his later years became an outspoken, not...


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