Button rightly notes that, despite his fame as a performer, Bream remains largely an enigma.
"Child is father to the man" rings true in Bream's case.
Bream is famous not only for promoting lutenist-composers of the Elizabethan era, but also for commissioning guitar music from composers of his own time, and Palmer includes extended discussions about Bream's work with Benjamin Britten, William Walton, Maxwell Davies, and others.
In his conversations with Palmer, the mature Bream outlines the basic structure of his recitals: selections of Elizabethan lute music, works by Johann Sebastian Bach transcribed for guitar, classical and romantic works for guitar, at least one challenging and usually astringent contemporary piece, and then a reward to the audience in the form of a group of Spanish or South American pieces.
In the end, Bream himself, before and after more than three decades of adulthood, emerges as the most interesting subject illuminated by comparison.
The dozens of photographs in Palmer's book propel the reader to the world of a forty-eight-year-old Bream as if by fastforward.