Music, art and atmosphere

Picture the Taj Mahal, its majestic columns soaring skyward, its bulbous domes so exotic. Go no farther than Glendale to escape to such a foreign place, the Brand Library and Art Center.

Leslie C. Brand, an early Glendale developer, built this mini-Mahal for himself in 1904, clearly infatuated with the East Indian Pavilion he'd seen at a world exposition. Today bookshelves and desks crowd the former estate's interior. But, devoted to art and music, the public library's contents have the power to transport you. Traffic, time clocks and dirty dishes fade away while you leaf through Chopin sheet music or "The Letters of Michelangelo." Grazing from counterpoint to criticism to calligraphy, only the finer things matter, fluorescent lights notwithstanding. And the world comes to a dead halt in a record room — record as in vinyl — complete with turntables and headphones. Just try not to sing out loud to the scratchy strains of Mitch Miller folk songs you learned at 6.

Sure, other shelves offer the new and the practical. Film scores share space with guides such as "Anyone Can Make Big Money Buying Art." But medieval minstrels beckon to be researched in the room with the graceful glass cabinet containing hand-wrought violins. Who needs money, anyway, when there's art and music?


— Zan Dubin Scott

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