By  on October 10, 2007

"Live! From Montreux," a deluxe, 1,583-page look back at the 41-year-old music festival, will try to grab shoppers with a shock effect: A crimson pair of plastic hands will serve as bookends for the $800, four-volume set written by Claude Nobs, the Montreux Jazz Festival's founder.

"It's about applause — the feeling of being in the audience, excited about the bands," said Marc Balet, designer of the bookends that will hold the special edition set of 5,000 and designer of its pages and cover art, which are being printed in Milan and published by London-based A Publishing Co. Ltd. for distribution in New York, Los Angeles and Tokyo, beginning Nov. 5.

One finger of the right hand in each of the bookends bears a plastic ring in the form of a flower with white-and-red petals and brown pistils, a floral motif repeated inside the large, sans serif, block cover type splashed across the four volumes. (The palm sides of the right hands are accented by ring bands.)

"The flower idea came from Montreux itself; it is bucolic and beautiful, right on the [eastern shore of] Lake Geneva," Balet explained. Flowers were also used to "soften up the idea of the intensity" of the festival environment, he said, balancing the languid sense of the locale with the energized performances portrayed in "Live!"

Originally envisioned as a one-volume chronicle timed to coincide with the festival's 40th anniversary, the expansion of "Live! From Montreux" into the four-volume set is not unlike the growth of the event itself — from a three-day, $8,000 gathering to a three-week, $16 million extravaganza. Tracking down 20 or so photographers who have worked Montreux, including Daryl Pitt, Giuseppe Pino and Jean-Pierre Leloir; collecting about 20,000 of their photographs, and selecting the 1,800 images being published on the edition's Japanese matte art paper lengthened the time line.

In the four-volume set, Nobs divides the tale of the music event he directs into 10-year stretches, which are accented by the appearance of the type-and-flower design in four color combinations: pink, orange and rust; blue, silver and white; acid green, red and yellow, and green, blue and teal. "Each page revives some kind of souvenir," Nobs said. "It's like I was lying on a couch, talking to an analyst."

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