Indivisible by Four by Arnold Steinhardt


One of the most pleasing and entertaining books I’ve read in ages. It
is a story (there are potentially four of them) of the Guarneri String
Quartet. A lovingly written telling of the violinist’s education, the
events that lead to the formation of this long-lived quartet, and
Steinhardt’s view of their life as a quartet. So many familiar names of
musicians, jokes, music festivals, descriptions of beloved pieces of
music made it especially enjoyable. Early on, he describes with great
enthusiasm two of my favorite pieces of music — the Schubert double
cello quintet and the Beethoven string quartet (I know it as #14, but
now perhaps I’ve learned to think of it as Opus 130). His description
of other pieces — the Smetana quartet, among others, makes me want to
listen to them, book in hand.

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