Novelist Willa Cather in 1936 (photo by Carl Van Vechten) and violinist Yehudi Menuhin in 1937 (photo from Wikipedia).

In Thursday’s (1/4) New York Times, Joshua Barone writes, “Early in 1935, a blizzard blew through New York City. The storm was so fierce, it virtually emptied Central Park. But Willa Cather spent her morning there, sledding with the violin prodigy Yehudi Menuhin and his sisters. Afterward, they all went to … an intimate lunch—just the family, the violinist Sam Franko and Cather, along with her companion, Edith Lewis. ‘It was a lovely party …,’ Cather, the author of American classics like My Ántonia and Death Comes for the Archbishop, wrote to her friend Carrie Miner Sherwood. ‘Inside, perfect harmony!’ This idyll gets a passing mention in Benjamin Taylor’s brisk new biography, ‘Chasing Bright Medusas: A Life of Willa Cather,’ though it was one of many in the yearslong friendship of Menuhin and Cather, two titans of 20th-century culture—he a musician and she a writer whose works exude a passion for music. Their relationship was an unlikely one. Menuhin was a famous child with a busy performance schedule; Cather, several decades older, was in retreat from the modern world and skeptical of celebrity … Yet across generations and backgrounds, they formed a deep bond. She gave him a literary education, while he fed her love of music.”