René Lavand is without equal in his chosen field. He has held audiences around the world spellbound with his poetic and emotional style of presentation. Over forty years ago René Lavand, "the one-armed magician from Argentina," created a sensation on The Ed Sullivan Show. Since then he has devoted his life to refining and performing his own brand of close-up magic. Luminaries such as Dai Vernon, Slydini, Juan Tamariz and Ascanio have referred to him as one of magic's great treasures and an artist of the highest degree.
This book is the culmination of that lifetime of work. Now under one cover are René's first two books Slow Motion Magic I and II as well as the never-before published Volume III. Additional routines have been culled from existing sets of Spanish language lecture notes and of course it includes René's trademark routine with three bread crumbs and a tea cup as seen on The World's Greatest Magic television special. All of this great material has been re-translated from the original Spanish manuscripts and with the assistance of videotape and live demonstrations, each routine has been completely rewritten. Finally, 225 line drawings by Homer Liwag were added to further clarify this wealth of material.
You will be astounded by the techniques that René has created which allow him to perform these miracles but as he never fails to point out at his lectures, "... it is possible to perform these effects with two hands as well." His theories on presentation and methodology serve as valuable lessons to all magicians. If you never perform a single trick from this book, Magic From the Soul still stands as an important work for those who are interested in magic as a performing art.
Not to be overlooked is the first chapter of this book; a short biography of René that is illustrated with numerous photographs. Here is a book to inspire any true lover of mystery written by a man who has earned the right to call magic an art. $45
A PEEK INSIDE MAGIC FROM THE SOUL
Not every magician is going to perform René's more difficult routines but there is no reason why every serious magician cannot benefit from his thought-provoking theories on presentation and the creation of magic. For that reason we reproduce here two short essays that we hope will inspire you to think of magic not simply as tricks, but rather as a fine art.]
THAT WHICH IS SIMPLE
The human brain often complicates things. Fu Manchu told me that on one occasion he had the honor of performing magic for Einstein. He showed him his "Thief of Baghdad" routine and then asked the genius if he could explain it. Einstein's solution to this elegantly simple trick was the most complicated and impractical method you could possibly imagine. The actual solution never occurred to him.
Laymen already perceive our tricks as being complicated. There is no need for us to complicate them further. We should strive to offer our audiences simplicity. Let us not exhaust their minds with excessive words or motion. Let us retain the beauty of simplicity. This is our goal. Of course, arriving at simplicity is not easy; it is a paradox.
Beethoven based the entire movement of a symphony on just four notes. Perhaps you think that to accomplish such a feat you have to be Beethoven. You could be right, but at least we can strive to emulate him.
THE IMPORTANCE OF PAUSES
Every routine, act or performance requires appropriate pauses. They are extremely important, but how dangerous they can be.
I feel that the pauses in a magical composition are as important as those in a musical composition. Music is not just the art of combining sounds, it also involves combining silence. Every routine needs to have harmony as well as silence, which I will call pauses. If these pauses are not in precisely the right place, they will ruin the melody and harmony.
But... I repeat, they can be dangerous!
I have a friend who visits me occasionally, joining my circle of friends who get together to share a meal. Usually, after an abundant feast and generous amount of wine, in order to allow time to digest, the conversation is interrupted and there is a general silence. I am fascinated by extended silence; especially when in the company of true friends. We are together, we contemplate, we are aware of our shared affection and understanding- what more do we need?
Azorin, "The Style" as he was called, tells a short story about two friends who would get together every Saturday to play chess. They never exchanged a word. People around them enjoyed watching their silence as much as they enjoyed watching their game. One afternoon, one of the men arrived, sat down, moved the first piece and waited... his friend did not arrive. The lone player quietly began to cry.
Azorin recounts that his friend had died. Only in death did his friend fail him... and they never exchanged a single word!
A shared passion goes beyond words, and a prolonged silence is not disquieting when the friendship is deep. Keep in mind that our audiences do not share our passion nor deep friendship. They are only spectators. Out of respect for them, measure your pauses very carefully.