As I said in my post on the CDs, I was reading this book as I went along. This is the type of book I enjoy reading because it gives an almost blow-by-blow description of what’s going on in the music.

Also, de Marliave (who was a French army officer and music expert who lived about 100 years ago) is such a fan of these quartets, that his enthusiasm just makes you want to listen to the music and hear the same things he does.

However, the problem I had was that I had real difficulty reading this while listening to the music. Maybe it’s because I hadn’t heard the quartets before, and it’s difficult to listen to them and follow along with his book at the same time.

I think to use his book properly, I would need to get a copy of the music score of these quartets and, with that in hand, work out what he’s talking about. So his analysis of the pieces, while thorough, just wasn’t easy enough to be followed along with while simply listening to the music.

However, I’ll certainly hang on to this book, because I think in the future, I would like to explore the world of the quartets a bit further. And when I do, Marliave’s book will prove immensely helpful. But for absolute beginners, I don’t think the ideal book exists, from what I’ve been able to find out. Maybe I should write one . . . I think Rachel might have a thing or two to say about that, though.

4 out of 5.

One thought on “Book Review: Beethoven’s Quartets (Joseph de Marliave)

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