How do four instrumentalists with strong individual tastes and temperaments manage to forge a distinctive approach to the music they play? This extraordinary book ushers readers into the workshop of one of the world's most accomplished string quartets. In rich and probing conversations with their longtime friend and musicologist and conductor David Blum, the members of the Guarneri String Quartet, both individually as a group, tell what it is like to play together.
"This is a book about the artistic credos of five superb musicians. It is literate, well crafted, readable, and holds one's interest from beginning to end. Arnold Steinhardt (of Guarneri Quartet fame) provides an excellent forward. the author tries to get inside his subjects and describe what makes them the artists they are."—McClain, American Record Guide, September/October 2000.
- Publisher's Weekly
These intelligent conversations will be greeted enthusiastically not only by string players and serious musicians but also by advanced listeners. A musicologist and conductor, Blum knows from experience what crucial questions to ask about the medium and its practice. The members of the Guarneri Quartet discuss their backgrounds, training, cooperative efforts, problems with specific repertoire, and reactions to composers and conductors, as well as such detailed matters as bowing, intonation, vibrato, pizzicato, dynamics and the use of the left hand. Enhanced by hundreds of music examples and a detailed analysis of Beethoven's Opus 131, this is arguably the best book on the subject and one of the most important books on music issued in recent years. Performing Arts Book Club selection. (June 4)
In a series of lively discussions, intelligible to any music lover who ever played a stringed instrument, members of the Guarneri Quartet not only reveal the close ties that exist between players who have worked together for over 20 years but, on a more sophisticated level, provide an undogmatic blueprint for studying and rehearsing string quartets, complete with musical examples. The book's final pages explore, measure by measure, the Quartet's approach to practicing Beethoven's Opus 131. Repertoire is discussed superficially; choice of editions and performing styles of different eras are not discussed at all. Nevertheless, amateur to professional chamber musicians will find this book invaluable, especially since there are virtually no others on the subject. Recommended for music libraries. Performing Arts Book Club selection. Philippa Kiraly, Cleveland