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The Rosendorf Quartet

Nathan Shaham
The Rosendorf Quartet are four German Jews, members of the symphony orchestra founded in 1936 in Tel Aviv, who together play chamber music until the outbreak of World War II. Only one of them, the second violin, chooses to stay in the country. His colleagues, refugees from Hitler's Germany, go into exile. Each of the members of the quartet tells his story in the first person. Kurt Rosendorf, the first violin and founder of the quartet, would like to believe that a musician's true homeland is music. Having had to leave his Christian wife and his daughter in Berlin, he finds it hard to adjust to life in Palestine and tries to live "outside history and geography." The viola is played by Eva Staubenfeld, who during her temporary sojourn in Palestine seeks to satisfy both her hunger for eternal music and her sexual desires. Bernard Litovsky, the cellist, is tired of wandering and longs for firm ground and a sense of belonging. In addition to these, there is the viewpoint of Loewenthal, who accompanies the musicians from the beginning, uncovering the complex relationships that evolve among them.

Shaham is a master, and just as the instruments in a quartet can conflict and contrast but blend into a single sound, so the themes this artist explores merge into a total vision of balance and sanity.

What is the persistent strength and interest of Shaham's central concerns.
New Yorker

Shaham's study of refugees trying to live for music during a historic moment of supreme disaster and hope is chamber music of a high order.
Kirkus Reviews

The Rosendorf Quartet
Title The Rosendorf Quartet
Author’s Last Name Shaham
Author's First Name Nathan
Language(s) English, German, Italian, Chinese, Czech, Russian, Spanish
Genre novel
Publisher (Hebrew) Am Oved
Year of Publication (Hebrew) 1987
Publisher 2 (Hebrew) Am Oved/ Yedioth Ahronoth
Year of Publication 2 (Hebrew) 2011
No. Pages 303 pp.
Book title - Hebrew (phonetic) Revi'iyat Rosendorf
Representation Represented by ITHL


German: Frankfurt, Dvora/Alibaba, 1990; pback: Frankfurt, Insel/Suhrkamp, 1994
English: New York, Grove Weidenfeld, 1991; pback: New York, Grove Press, 1993
Russian: Jerusalem, Biblioteka Aliya, 1994
Chinese: Guangzhou, Flower City, 1995
Czech: Prague, Paseka, 2001
Italian: Florence, Giuntina, 2004
Spanish: Buenos Aires, Leviatán, 2014

This Land We Love
English: New York, Sabra Books, 1970

The Other Side of the Wall
English: Philadelphia, Jewish Publication Society, 1983

They'll Be Here Tomorrow (play)
English: Jerusalem, World Zionist Organization, 1957

The Anglers (play)
English: Tel Aviv, Council for Art and Culture, (date unknown)

Missing Persons (play)
English: Jerusalem, Kol Israel, 1960
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