The Thing I've Played with the Most: Professor Anthon E Darling Discusses His Favourite Instrument


172 pages
ISBN 0-920151-35-3
DDC 780'.207





Illustrations by Mike Duncan
Reviewed by Desmond Maley

Desmond Maley is the music librarian at the J.W. Tate Library,
Huntington College, Laurentian University, and editor of the CAML


In my 14 years as a reviewer, I have never encountered a book guilty of
such sloppy editing. The errors are relentless and appalling.
Collectively they stand as an indictment not only of the author, David
Walden, a music professor at Ryerson University, but also of Sound And
Vision as a publisher of musical humor.

The premise of the book is rather interesting. Instead of rounding up
the usual anecdotes about the great composers, Walden dons the hat of
Professor Anthon E. Darling, a curmudgeonly small-town piano teacher in
“Chezlee, Ont.” Darling’s humorous recollections of his
travails—such as the botched piano student recital—do have a ring of
truth about them. He also presents his personal view of the piano’s
history, repertoire, and artists. The chapter on piano technique
includes black-and-white reproductions of photographs of
finger-stretching exercises at the keyboard.

Unfortunately, the “lecturing” prose style—particularly the
excessive use of capitalization of words—made me feel like I was being
bludgeoned about the ears. The jumbled layout adds to the impression
that this was a first draft rushed disastrously into print.


Walden, David E., “The Thing I've Played with the Most: Professor Anthon E Darling Discusses His Favourite Instrument,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 30, 2024,