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Last on

Thu 16 Apr 2009 11:30 BBC Radio 4

30 minutes
First broadcast:
Thursday 16 April 2009

Musician George Kennaway recalls the life of the 19th-century cellist Auguste van Biene, who was discovered while busking on the streets of London and went on to play the lead in over 6,000 performances of just one play, The Broken Melody.

George, himself a cellist and who carries something of an obsession for this forgotten phenomenon, goes in search of his lost hero. It involves a family reunion at Golders Green Sephardic Cemetery, a once-in-a-century run through of this Victorian melodrama by a group of long-suffering friends, and some very dusty archives which reveal a self-publicist who would fit rather well into 21st century showbusiness.


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