While the Beethoven string quartets are to chamber music what the plays of Shakespeare are to drama, even seasoned concertgoers will welcome guidance with these personal and sometimes enigmatic works.
This collection offers Beethoven lovers both detailed notes on the listening experience of each quartet and a stimulating range of more general perspectives: Who has the quartets' audience been? How were the quartets performed before the era of sound recordings? What is the relationship between "classical" and "romantic" in the quartets? How was their reception affected by social and economic history? What sorts of interpretive decisions are made by performers today?
The Companion brings together a matchless group of Beethoven experts. Joseph Kerman is perhaps the world's most renowned Beethoven scholar. Robert Winter, an authority on sketches for the late quartets, has created interactive programs regarded as milestones in multimedia publishing. Maynard Solomon has written an acclaimed biography of Beethoven. Leon Botstein is the conductor of the American Symphony Orchestra as well as a distinguished social historian and college president. Robert Martin writes from his experience as cellist of the Sequoia Quartet. And the book is anchored by the program notes of Michael Steinberg, who has served as Artistic Advisor of the San Francisco Symphony and the Minnesota Orchestra.
Robert Winter is Professor of Music at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is author of Music for Our Time (1992) and co-author of The Beethoven Sketchbooks (California, 1985). Robert Martin is Assistant Dean of Humanities and Adjunct Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Los Angeles.
"Reading The Beethoven Quartet Companion made me want to listen to the quartets again from a new sociological as well as musical perspective. It is an invaluable guide not only for professional and amateur musicians but also for anyone who is curious about culture and wants to find out more."—Yo-Yo Ma
"These essays are the most readable, useful, and well-informed commentary available today on these masterworks. Michael Steinberg's 'program notes' to each quartet, directed at once to the musical beginner and to the expert, are as eloquent and persuasive as popular writing about music can get. . . . His essays are followed by equally expert and accessible contributions by other masters on The Master, providing literate music lovers with the context and equipment for a richer enjoyment and clearer understanding of these sixteen unique conversations among two violins, a viola, and a cello."—David Littlejohn, author of The Ultimate Art: Essays Around and About Opera
"A fine collection of essays to assist the music lover in the seemingly endless quest to illuminate the Beethoven string quartets."—Arnold Steinhardt, The Guarneri String Quartet
"This book delivers on the implied promise of its title—it provides a lively, readable, and wide-ranging introduction to the quartets. Readers at many levels of experience will find it profitable."—Lewis Lockwood, author of Beethoven: Studies in the Creative Process