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Inside Beethoven's Quartets: History, Performance, Interpretation Hardcover – May 30, 2008

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press (May 30, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674028090
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674028098
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 8.2 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,267,118 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Beethoven's string quartets have been baffling and enchanting academics, musicians, and listeners for almost two centuries. This in-depth guide to three of them combines the scholarship of Lewis Lockwood, one of the world's leading authorities on Beethoven, with the insights and experiences of the Juilliard String Quartet, brilliant and knowledgeable exponents of his work. (London Review of Books 2008-06-05)

Not every quartet has access to masterclasses, but this book may be the next best thing...The included scores are marked with valuable annotations by the Juilliard members--not merely bowings but also flexibilities of tempo, kinds of bow-stroke, extra expression marks such as brillante and tempo pesante. Many problems inherent to Beethoven's style are discussed, none more debatable than his use of subito piano...On the included CD the Juilliard perform the three movements plus a preliminary version of the Opus 18. This superbly produced book is enthusiastically recommended to all musically literate readers, and is absolutely essential for quartets studying these particular works. (Philip Borg-Wheeler Classical Music (editor's choice) 2008-07-19)

In each essay, Lockwood moves deftly from a broad characterization of the period when the quartet was written to detailed analysis of the movement in question...The transcribed five-way conversations will constitute, for most readers, the core of the book. The conversations reveal a mix of personalities, the wealth of experience that the participants draw on, and an absorbing attention to detail. Readers will find themselves referring often to the scores and eventually, with pleasure, to the recordings. We owe gratitude to Lewis Lockwood and the Juilliard Quartet for this fine book. (Robert L. Martin Chamber Music 2008-11-01)

About the Author

Lewis Lockwood is Fanny Peabody Research Professor of Music, Harvard University.

?Joel Smirnoff is a member of the internationally renowned Juilliard String Quartet and on the faculty of The Juilliard School in New York City.

Ronald Copes is a member of the internationally renowned Juilliard String Quartet and on the faculty of The Juilliard School in New York City.

Samuel Rhodes is a member of the internationally renowned Juilliard String Quartet and on the faculty of The Juilliard School in New York City.

?Joel Krosnick is a member of the internationally renowned Juilliard String Quartet and on the faculty of The Juilliard School in New York City.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By JMB1014 on April 25, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This is a wonderful book based on an exciting concept. The Juilliard Quartet and renowned Beethoven scholar Lewis Lockwood have combined their talents to bring a new level of appreciation to Beethoven's string quartets. They analyze, discuss and perform first movements from three quartets, one from each of the three traditional groupings of early, middle and late quartets: the Op. 18, no. 1; Op. 59, no. 1 and Op. 130. Also included is the "Amenda" (first) version of the first movement of the Op. 18, no. 1. For each selection, there is a section of the book devoted to a brief overview of the entire quartet, movement by movement. This is followed by a thorough discussion of the movement in question, by Lewis Lockwood. Then comes a fascinating discussion among Lockwood and the members of the Juilliard Quartet, ranging across such topics as the tempos, Beethoven's decisions to include or delete repeats, relationships to other components or aspects of the quartet, and parallels among other works by Beethoven or even other composers. Although I am not highly literate in musical matters, I was able to understand and enjoy most of the discussion. Following the discussion is an annotated score for the entire movement being considered. On top of these features, the book includes a CD of the Juilliard Quartet performing each of the movements, including the "Amenda" version. The reader can follow the analysis or discussion with the score and listen to the music simultaneously. There are also footnotes and an index. I cannot imagine a better way for an ordinary person to become thoroughly immersed in Beethoven's string quartets apart from having artists and experts like these appear live in one's home.

Harvard University Press deserves real credit for this outstanding concept and handsome volume.
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