SWEETHEARTS OF SONG: A PERSONAL MEMOIR OF ANNE ZIEGLER AND WEBSTER BOOTH (Second Edition)

Anne and Webster looked particularly glamorous for the occasion. Anne was wearing a beautiful evening gown, her fair hair in a chignon, while Webster was in full evening dress, to act as compère for the evening and to sing some drawing room ballads into the bargain. The accompanist for the series was Anna Bender, the official accompanist for the SABC. Anne and Webster received their guests graciously. Anne told Ruth and me to save her a seat in the front row, where she sat between us and played her full part in chatting to us between the items on the programme to evoke the atmosphere of a drawing room at the beginning of the twentieth century.
Over forty years later I still remember Miss Rita Roberts (soprano) singing Christina’s Lament to the tune of Dvorak’s Humoresque, Mr Walter Mony (violin), Miss Anna Bender (accompanist) and finally Webster himself, aged sixty, but still in fine voice singing The Kashmiri Song, The Sweetest flower that blows, Parted, O Dry Those Tears and finally Had you but known with violin obbligato by the excellent Mr Mony, a French Canadian, who became a professor and head of the music department at the University of the Witwatersrand.

I published the first edition of this book in 2006 and have recently published the second edition 13 years later. I have included excerpts from my contemporary diaries, and have drawn on the many letters written to me by Anne and Webster over a forty year period. This edition contains more information about my relationship with Anne and Webster and also includes many extra photographs collected over the years. The book is available as a paperback and as a PDF e-book.

Sweethearts of Song: A Personal Memoir of Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth (Second Edition)

FICTION by FIONA COMPTON

The four novels in the Malcolm Craig series are a mixture of Roman à clef, and biographical-autobiographical novel, in other words, a novel about real life, overlaid with a façade of fiction. The four novels in the Malcolm Craig series are broadly based on fact, but many incidents are purely products of my imagination and do not pretend to be true.

List Price:$16.00 Price: $14.40 You Save: $1.60 ( 10% )Prints in 3-5 business days.

Derek Bailey is one of Britain’s finest tenors. He never forgets Elspeth McPhail, the young Scottish house-keeper who worked for him when he was starting his career in the thirties. Although he becomes famous and successful, his personal life is far from fulfilling. This novel covers Derek’s professional and personal life over a span of forty years including his two unsatisfactory marriages and his five-year affair with a young woman forty years his junior. This book was first written in 1977 and lay, half-forgotten, in a drawer for over thirty years. Fiona Compton took it out and revised it in 2010 and eventually published it. It was her first work of fiction and her first novel.

The review of the novel was written by translator and proofreader, PEARL HARRIS when the book was first published on Aug 21, 2010. Once I started reading Fiona Compton’s romantic novel, I could not put it down. I soon became involved in the emotions and events of the main characters’ lives. Derek Bailey attracts females and trouble wherever he goes, due to his charisma and talent. How the women in his life deal with subsequent events must touch a chord in the heart of every female reader who has ever fallen prey to the charms of a philanderer. The writing style is flowing and the dialogue authentic. Place descriptions set the scene firmly in 20th-century Britain. I particularly enjoyed the Scottish dialect (the author having been born in Scotland, this too is genuine!)and the descriptions of daily life in London. This is no run-of-the-mill romantic novel. Due to the author’s musical knowledge, “I can’t forget you” has a depth and authenticity lacking in most novels of this genre. You will not want to put this book down before discovering what the final outcome of the hero’s romantic entanglements is to be.

List Price:$15.00Price: $12.00 You Save: $3.00 ( 20% )Prints in 3-5 business days.

Although this collection of fifteen short stories is fictional, it reflects Fiona Compton’s wide experience of life. Thus there are stories about singers and accompanists, teachers and pupils, and older people trying to adjust to inevitable changes in their lives. Stories are set in South Africa and Britain, and take place on board ship, in schools, homes, studios or theatres. Several stories are loosely based on particular incidents in her life, but are still fiction rather than fact, such as Dux Scholar, Wise Words in the Chippy, Michelle, By Appointment, and The Song is Ended.

REVIEW:    By Pearl Harris Oct 12, 2015

Each short story in this collection is refreshingly different and will touch a chord in the heart of most female readers. All the characters are masterfully and realistically portrayed. Many of the incidents depicted are those which affect all women at various times in their lives and with which the reader can readily empathise. Some stories bring a chuckle and a feeling of optimism, others a feeling of sadness. All left a lasting impression on me. Fiona Compton’s voice is a charming mix, evidence of her Scottish, South African and musical roots. These stories particularly appeal to me as an expatriate South African, as many of them richly evoke the South African lifestyle. However, all are timeless in their own right and certainly worth reading by both women and men, whatever their nationality.

This review was provided by mjpotenza: Any fan of short stories will enjoy this selection of entertaining tales by Fiona Compton. The author presents women’s viewpoints, emotions, and experiences accurately and uniquely. The women characters are interesting, complex, and sympathetic (the men are mostly cads). One wonders how much is autobiographical. The writing is descriptive and precise. The style flows nicely, making for easy and pleasant reading. The Wedding Singer, Miss Stratton Disappears, and The Sunset Gleams, to name a few, all have the right combination of humour and sadness. In short, these well-written stories are very enjoyable. 

List Price:$15.00 Price:$13.50 You Save: $1.50 ( 10% )Prints in 3-5 business days, Just the Echo of a Sigh and Faint Harmony concentrate on the life and career of famous British tenor, Malcolm Craig and his tumultuous private life. He marries three times, but none of his marriages work out well. Even his third “perfect” marriage to soprano Marina Dunbar who becomes his singing partner, has many problems. The four novels in the Malcolm Craig series are a mixture of Roman à clef, and biographical-autobiographical novel, in other words, a novel about real life, overlaid with a façade of fiction. The four novels in the Malcolm Craig series are broadly based on fact, but many incidents are purely products of my imagination and do not pretend to be true. The first two novels included in this volume are based on my knowledge and research into the lives of “Malcolm Craig” and “Marina Dunbar” before I met them, overlaid with many fictional elements.

Pearl Harris wrote: I thoroughly enjoyed Just the Echo of a Sigh – the first in a series about famous English tenor, Malcolm Craig, and his complicated love life. Obviously written by an author with extensive musical knowledge, the novel transports the reader back to the era in Britain before World War II, with rare glimpses into the lifestyle of those times. Ms. Compton has a rare gift – she brings her characters to life through their dialogue and her fine description. I look forward to reading many more of her novels.

By Pearl Harris, Oct 14, 2015: Having thoroughly enjoyed Just the Echo of a Sigh – the first in this series by Fiona Compton – I could not put Faint Harmony down until the last line. Ms. Compton’s characters are living and breathing – and her knowledge of the musical scene in Britain after the beginning of World War 2 lends authenticity to the description of her characters and of those times. I can highly recommend all 3 novels in this series to readers, with interests especially in music, Britain, South Africa and the not always idyllic lives of the rich and famous.

Love Set to Music/A Song for You and Me (Volumes 3 and 4 of THE MALCOLM CRAIG SERIES)

List Price:$15.00 Price: $13.50 You Save: $1.50 ( 10% )Prints in 3-5 business days.

Love Set to Music and A Song for You and Me, the last two novels in the Malcolm Craig series are set in South Africa from 1956 to 1966. Malcolm Craig and Marina Dunbar settle in the country after problems with the Inland Revenue in the United Kingdom. They open a studio in Johannesburg and start teaching in addition to their theatre work. Despite the “sweethearts of song” image of their marriage, their relationship remains stormy but matters are eventually resolved in a highly unexpected way. These last two novels are largely based on my own private experiences which I have recreated as fiction thanks to my memories, contemporary diaries, and a fair share of imagination. As to the “key” of these novels – some might work it out for themselves but I will never disclose it to anyone as long as I live!

REVIEW: By Pearl Harris
Oct 12, 2015, I highly recommend all 3 novels in this series by Fiona Compton. In her easy flowing style, the author draws the reader into the lives of the various characters and the environment in which their destinies cross. I could empathise with the emotions experienced by the vulnerable young Kate and did not stop reading until the last line. I await the 4th novel in this series…..

By Pearl Harris
Jan 13, 2016 I read the 4th in this series without being able to stop until the very last line. Fiona Compton traces the thoughts and emotions of her various characters realistically and with special insight. Seeing the story unfold from the different viewpoints makes fascinating reading. I highly recommend this competent novelist and hope to see more of her writing in future.

Fiona Compton/Jean Collen 11 April 2019

Read about the books at: FIONA’S STORE:

BOOKS ABOUT WEBSTER BOOTH AND ANNE ZIEGLER by JEAN COLLEN

Since 2006 I have written and published books about my former singing teachers and life-long friends, the famous British duettists, soprano, Anne Ziegler (1910-2003) and tenor, Webster Booth (1902-1984). The books are available as paperbacks and ebooks. The latest book is a digitised version of their joint autobiography, Duet which was originally published by Stanley Paul in 1951. I am most grateful to John Marwood for proofreading it meticulously. Currently, I am revising and enlarging my first – and most popular book – Sweethearts of Song: A Personal Memoir of Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth. 

All my nonfiction books, written by Jean Collen are available at: https://www.lulu.com/duettists

I began my singing studies with famous British duettists Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth, when I was seventeen. Two years later they asked me to act as studio accompanist for Webster. I completed the ATCL and LTCL singing diplomas and remained friends with them until their deaths.

Since 2006 I have written and published books about my former singing teachers and life-long friends, the famous British duettists, soprano, Anne Ziegler (1910-2003) and tenor, Webster Booth (1902-1984). The books are available as paperbacks and ebooks. The latest book is a digitised version of their joint autobiography, Duet which was originally published by Stanley Paul in 1951. I am most grateful to John Marwood for proofreading it meticulously. I have just revised and enlarged my first – and most popular book – Sweethearts of Song: A Personal Memoir of Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth.

Price:$17.00 Prints in 3-5 business days I published the first edition of this book in 2006. I have now published the second edition and have, in some instances, included excerpts from my contemporary diaries, and have drawn on the many letters written to me by Anne and Webster over a forty year period. This edition contains more information about Anne and Webster than the first edition. It also includes many extra photographs.

The book summarises Anne and Webster’s rapid rise to fame, which is already well documented in their own autobiography entitled Duet. (1951). The book’s main focus is on their lives and careers from 1956 in South Africa, their friendship with me, and their “third” career after they returned home to the UK in 1978.


Do You Remember Anne Ziegler & Webster Booth? (in collaboration with Pamela Davies of Pershore) (2006) This book tells Pamela Davies’ story of her keen admiration of Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth in the forties and early fifties. Shortly after Anne and Webster returned to the UK from South Africa in 1978, Pamela began corresponding with Anne and became good friends with her. The book includes THE BODY OF WORK OF ANNE ZIEGLER AND WEBSTER BOOTH, compiled and edited by Jean Collen. Jean has listed many of their engagements on stage, screen, radio and television from 1924 to 1994.

A SCATTERED GARLAND: GLEANINGS FROM THE LIVES AND CAREERS OF WEBSTER BOOTH AND ANNE ZIEGLER (2008) in 4 volumes. The books are available as paperbacks and epubs.

Price:$10.45 Prints in 3-5 business days. A Scattered Garland: Gleanings from the Lives of Webster Booth and Anne Ziegler was originally published in one volume but because of the additional material I have discovered the work now extends to four volumes: Volume 1: Early days (1920s – 1939) The work includes articles, criticisms, cuttings, and extracts from the online archives of The Times, The Scotsman and The Stage, and other newspapers. In Volume 2, I have included material from New Zealand and Australian newspapers and in Volume 3 there is material from South African newspapers. Occasionally I have supplemented this material with my own notes. All my own writing is italicised. Book 1 contains information about the early days of their careers.

Volume 2: Years at the top in the UK (1940 – 1956) This is the second volume of A Scattered Garland: Gleanings from the Lives of Webster Booth and Anne Ziegler, and includes articles, criticisms, cuttings, and extracts from the online archives of The Times, The Scotsman and The Stage. In this edition, I have included extracts from New Zealand and Australian newspapers from the Booths’ extensive tour there in 1948. Occasionally I have supplemented these articles with my own observations. All my own writing is italicised.

Volume 3 South Africa (1956 – 1977) When I was 17 years old I began my singing studies with Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth in their studio on the eighth floor of Polliack’s Building in Pritchard Street, central Johannesburg, where they taught Singing and Stagecraft. A few years later I became Webster’s studio accompanist when Anne (who was accompanist as well as teacher) had other commitments. I studied with them for five years and did my Associate and Licentiate singing diplomas under their guidance. Despite several years when Anne and I were estranged, we remained friends until Webster’s death in 1984 and Anne’s in 2003. I published the story of my relationship with Anne and Webster on Lulu (http://www.lulu.com/duettists) in April 2006 in a book entitled Sweethearts of Song: A Personal Memoir of Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth. Because Volume 3 concerns my direct relationship with the Booths I have mentioned events briefly if I consider them to be relevant to the story.

Volume 4: Back in the UK (1978 – 2003) and additional information.

Volume 4 covers the last period of the lives of Webster Booth and Anne Ziegler. They returned to the UK in 1978 and were welcomed by fans who remembered them from the forties and fifties when they had been at the top of the tree. I have written extensively about the life of Paddy Prior, Webster’s second wife. She was a very talented performer in her own right. Her divorce from Webster was soon forgotten and he and Anne had great success while her own career remained static. After her brief marriage to Webster, she divorced him in 1938 because of his adultery with Anne. Sadly, the scandal of the divorce was soon forgotten and he and Anne achieved great success in the 1940s while Paddy’s own career remained static. I was glad to hear that she married again in Tasmania some years later.

I have updated the book about British radio and television broadcasts by Webster and Anne, dating from 1927 to 1994. The last broadcast was “The Webster Booth Story” presented by Robin Gregory in 1994, 10 years after Webster’s death. This book is available as a PDF only and may be seen at https://www.lulu.com/duettists.

Extracts from My Teenage Diaries. (1960 – August 1963)

I kept regular diaries when I was a teenager. These diaries cover the period from 1960 when I was in my final year at school until August 1963 when I turned 20. They deal largely with my singing studies and relationship with Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth, my piano studies with Sylvia Sullivan, my close friendship with Ruth Ormond (a fellow pupil of the Booths) and other activities at that time. They cover the time when I was Webster Booth’s studio accompanist at the age of nineteen – a memorable period of my life. I continued my diaries until the end of 1965 when I left Johannesburg and went to the UK. Sadly the diaries from 1963 until the end of 1965 were destroyed.

I have updated the book about British radio and television broadcasts by Webster and Anne, dating from 1927 to 1994. The last broadcast was “The Webster Booth Story” presented by Robin Gregory in 1994, 10 years after Webster’s death. This book is available as a PDF only and may be seen at https://www.lulu.com/duettists.

Webster Booth and Anne Ziegler: Excerpts from ‘Gramophone’ & Discography” (2009) It is made up of articles and reviews about the recordings made by Webster Booth and Anne Ziegler (1929 to the present). The discography section has been completely revised and updated and includes an almost complete discography of their solo and duet recordings and some of their surviving radio broadcasts.

The third edition of this book contains criticism & articles about recordings made by Webster Booth & Anne Ziegler from Gramophone (1929 to the present day). The book includes an almost complete discography of their solo and duet recordings in 78rpm, LP and CD formats, and some of their surviving radio broadcasts.

Price:$12.50 Prints in 3-5 business days. Duet, the autobiography of famous British duettists, Webster Booth and Anne Ziegler, was originally published by Stanley Paul in 1951. Sixty-five years later I have digitised the book and made it available as a paperback, epub and pdf book.

My sincere thanks to John Marwood who proofread the book most painstakingly for me. Webster and Anne tell the exciting story of their rise to fame, and their sensational romance. After Webster’s divorce from Paddy Prior, his second wife, he and Anne married and became the most popular duettists of their day, earning them the deserved title of “Sweethearts of Song”.

📷 📷 📷 📷 📷By Fiona Compton May 31, 2016 I read this book many years ago and am delighted that it has been digitised and once again available to those who are interested in reading about the illustrious careers of tenor Webster Booth and soprano Anne Ziegler. Although the book was written in part by a ghost-writer, the tone of the alternate chapters written in turn by Anne and Webster captures the personalities of both writers – Webster’s writing is more measured and thoughtful than Anne’s enthusiastic, spontaneous writing.

Webster Booth had one of the finest British tenor voices of the twentieth century and had a distinguished career in oratorio and recording in his own right. Anne Ziegler had a pleasant light soprano voice and a charming personality, but she was never in the same vocal class as her husband. This book is entitled Duet, so the emphasis of the book is on the work the couple did together as romantic duettists in musicals and films and on the radio, TV, concert and variety stage.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book but I would have liked to have heard more about Webster’s distinguished solo singing career. No doubt this book was responsible for giving people the idea that Webster was merely a romantic duettist in partnership with his wife, doing nothing more than singing light songs together with her. Despite this reservation, the book moves at a lightning pace and is most enjoyable. I recommend it highly.

All my fiction books, written under the pen name of Fiona Compton, are available at: https://www.lulu.com/spotlight/fiona_compton

SWEETHEARTS OF SONG

Front cover small-01Four years ago, I received a lovely letter about the book from a gentleman in Ireland. I share it with you  on the fourteenth anniversary of Anne’s death.He had recently read my book, Sweethearts of Song: A Personal Memoir of Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth. He attached various photos of Penrhyn Bay, North Wales which he had taken during his trip. Ashampoo_Snap_2015.10.07_16h06m30s_002

    • Part of his note reads as follows:

  • “All thanks to you, I spent a really moving day rambling the highways and byways of Penrhyn Bay. To be standing outside Anne and Webster’s house was an extraordinary feeling and for me a real privilege. Looking at the house, and then walking on the beach, all the time internally hearing their wonderful music, and feeling a real sense of gratitude to them both for all the joy they brought to countless millions over the years with their unique gifts, their unique talents. And yes, as I looked out on Penrhyn Bay, and then further East to Rhos on Sea, Colwyn Bay, Llanddulas and Abergele, I would see in my mind’s eye, the beautiful Anne in her youth, as well as her undoubted beauty in her later years. It is, as you well know, a spectacular landscape: Snowdonia to the South, the Ormes to the West, and to the North the Irish Sea stretching as far as the eye can see—–all quite something, and a beautiful and moving backdrop to remember both Anne and Webster. 
So once again, many thanks, not only for your wonderful book but also for a memorable windswept day in Penrhyn Bay.”

It was good to know that my book had given him pleasure and had motivated him to pay a visit to Webster and Anne’s final home.
Jean Collen 13 October 2017.
  •  

A Scattered Garland: Gleanings from the lives of Webster Booth and Anne Ziegler

I published  A Scattered Garland: Gleanings from the Lives of Webster Booth and Anne Ziegler in one volume in 2006. Because I found out so much more additional information I have updated the book which now extends to four volumes. These books are available as paperbacks and ebooks.

         

By Jean Collen View this Author’s Spotlight

I published  A Scattered Garland: Gleanings from the Lives of Webster Booth and Anne Ziegler in one volume in 2006. Because I found out so much more additional information I have updated the book which now extends to four volumes. These books are available as paperbacks and ebooks:

Volume 1: Early days (1920s – 1939)  early days small
Support independent publishing: Buy this e-book on Lulu.
Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.

Volume 2: Years at the top in the UK (1940 – 1956)

1940 TO 1956 FRONT COVER SMALL
At the Top

Support independent publishing: Buy this e-book on Lulu.
Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.Volume 3 South Africa (1956 – 1977)Support independent publishing: Buy this e-book on Lulu.

Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.

South Africa small
The Booths in South Africa

Volume 4: Back in the UK (1978 – 2003) and additional information

Back in the UK small

Support independent publishing: Buy this e-book on Lulu.

Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.

These volumes include articles, criticisms, cuttings, and extracts from the online archives of The Times, The Scotsman and The Stage, and other newspapers. In Volume 3 I have included material from New Zealand and Australian newspapers and in Volume 4 there is material from South African newspapers. Occasionally I have supplemented this material with my own notes. All my own writing is italicised.

 Author of

Author of “A Scattered Garland”.

 

DUET by WEBSTER BOOTH and ANNE ZIEGLER

https://clyp.it/rbifk0dz/widget

Click on the above link to hear a recording of Webster Booth and Anne Ziegler singing one of their most popular duets, Will You Remember? (Sigmund Romberg)
I have digitised Duet, the autobiography of Webster Booth and Anne Ziegler, published by Stanley Paul in 1951. It is available as a paperback and an epub book at: My Lulu bookstore

db432-2016-03-18_103821

The introduction to the book reads as follows:

England’s most popular duettists, who have sung in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and America, and are loved by millions of radio fans, have written their love-story together.

The provincial choirboy and the little Liverpool pianist have come a long way. Webster Booth ran away from an accountant’s stool to tour England at £4 a week and sing on the piers. Anne Ziegler’s father was ruined on the cotton market, so she sang in restaurant cabaret. They met playing the lovers in “Faust” – and fell in love. But he was married already.

Concert-party struggles, pantomime rivalries, fun and peril in early films, adventures at Savoy Hill and parts in stage “flops” were followed by great successes. She was hailed as “Radio’s Nightingale”, and as a leading lady in New York and London, a film star and BBC favourite. He sang at the Albert Hall and Covent Garden, starred in the West End and on films and radio. They went half round the world together, singing.

There are two-fisted criticisms and fascinating glimpses behind the scenes in film-land, stage-land and the mad and magic world of music. The authors laugh at themselves, each other and the world as they take you with them – this boy and girl who made good in one of real life’s most moving romances.

The links are as follows:

Paperback:

DUET by Webster Booth and Anne Ziegler

E-book (Epub)

DUET by Webster Booth and Anne Ziegler.

John Marwood, a member of The Webster Booth-Anne Ziegler Appreciation Group on Facebook wrote the following interesting review of the book:

I’ve just read Duet, Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth’s autobiography, published by Stanley Paul & Co. in 1951.

My plan was to read it over several days, but once I’d started, I could not put it down.

In the opening chapter Webster says that ‘Someone must begin even a duet. The die is cast and I am the victim – though, no doubt, the ladies will have the last word!’

The first chapter and all subsequent odd numbers are simply headed ’Webster’; and all the even ones are headed ‘Anne’.

The last chapter of the 25 is headed ‘Webster and Anne’; and so the autobiography ends neatly with a joint effort – a duet.

The remark by Webster about ladies sets the tone. It is light, witty and amusing. There is no chapter without entertaining anecdotes.

Apparently the book was ghost-written by the late Frank S. Stuart [Frank Stanley Stuart]. Frank was adept at presenting amusing tales that were based on factual events. Mention is made of precise events in diaries, so I imagine both characters lent their diaries to the writer and spent many hours relating tales, adventures and anecdotes about the past. The two personae sound entirely plausible.

I was surprised by the strong anti-war remarks in the book; and it seems the ghost-writer was a pacifist. Apparently Webster and Anne were not happy with these remarks, and it seems surprising that the publisher allowed them to remain. Only 6 years after the end of the terrible world conflagration many readers must have felt uncomfortable about some of these remarks.

The book was published 5 years before the couple left for South Africa. It is pity we never get to hear them speaking about their years there, but perhaps 1951 was when they were at the peak of their fame. We read of the couple’s delight to be told that Queen Mary had herself picked out their act as a favourite one which she wished to hear at a Gala Variety to mark her eightieth birthday. We read of other encounters with the royal family.

It is a tale of fun and glamour, tails and crinolines, a most entertaining story – a must-read for everyone who remembers the couple, or for anyone who has just discovered them recently.

John Marwood

I might add that John Marwood proofread the digitised copy most meticulously. I am very grateful to him for his help.

Here is a short review of the book, published in The Age, an Australian newspaper, on 16 February 1952.

16 February 1952 - The New Age
Review of “Duet” (1952)

Review by Fiona Compton: 

By Fiona Compton
May 31, 2016
I read this book many years ago and am delighted that it has been digitised and once again available to those who are interested in reading about the illustrious careers of tenor Webster Booth and soprano Anne Ziegler. Although the book was written by a ghost-writer, the tone of the alternate chapters written in turn by Anne and Webster captures the personalities of both writers – Webster’s writing is more measured and thoughtful than Anne’s enthusiastic, spontaneous writing. Webster Booth had one of the finest British tenor voices of the twentieth century and had a distinguished career in oratorio and recording in his own right. Anne Ziegler had a pleasant light soprano voice and a charming personality, but she was never in the same vocal class as her husband. This book is entitled “Duet”, so the emphasis of the book is on the work the couple did together as duettists on the concert and variety stage. I thoroughly enjoyed the book but I would have liked to have heard more about Webster’s distinguished solo singing career. No doubt this book was responsible for giving people the idea that Webster was merely a romantic duettist in partnership with his wife, doing nothing more than singing light songs together with her. Despite this reservation, the book moves at lightning pace and is most enjoyable. I recommend it highly.

Jean Collen

5 May 2016.

DuetDuet by Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Webster Booth and Anne Ziegler were my singing teachers in Johannesburg. While I was studying with them I acted as Webster’s studio accompanist when Anne (who usually played the piano for students) had other engagements. We became good friends, a friendship which lasted until they died – Webster in 1984, and Anne in 2003.

I first read “Duet” when Webster brought it into the studio and gave it to me to read. I was fascinated by the lively story of their rise to fame, their romance which was fraught with difficulties because Webster was married to Paddy Prior already, and their popularity as duettists during the forties and early fifties.

This book was written when they were at the height of their fame, some years before they had income tax difficulties and eventually moved to South Africa in 1956. Perhaps it was as well that the book ended before they experienced any hardship.

I have always tried to keep Anne and Webster’s singing and illustrious careers before the public. I am sure that anyone who reads their autobiography will get a good idea of their charming personalities from reading this fascinating book. Several people who have read it recently, have described it as “unputdownable”. I hope whoever reads this review and is tempted to read the book will share that opinion of it!

View all my reviews