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CLASSICAL  February 2008

CLASSICAL February 2008

Subject:

Re: The Life - and Death - of a String Quartet

From:

William Hong <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Moderated Classical Music List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 15 Feb 2008 09:11:35 -0800

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (38 lines)

The article Janos Gereben links to has a comment from Arnold Steinhardt
of the Guarneri Quartet.  Of course Steinhardt, besides writing "Violin
Dreams" (reviewed in very positive terms here recently by Steve Schwartz)
also wrote of his experiences with the Guarneris in an earlier book,
"Indivisible By Four."

This is a very good read for anyone who is interested in how that
string quartet came to be, and how the Guarneris managed to stay
together for more than the three decades at the time the book was written.
In addition are many insights to some of the giants of music in the 2nd
half of the 20th century that both Steinhardt as an individual and the
Quartet encountered, from Pablo Casals to Artur Rubinstein to Jacqueline
du Pre--in this way it well complements "Violin Dreams."

Whether "Indivisible By Four" can be said to be representative of long
term experiences within all string quartets is debatable, perhaps.  One
thing I can say is that based on my younger son's continuing experiences
as part of a string quartet for over two years now, much of Steinhardt's
writing rings absolutely true--the inevitable disagreements, competition
and discouragements--but also the bonding and ultimately the fun of
playing chamber music together in something other than a one-night gig
basis.

Granted, the complication that the Guarneris were actually making a
living out of Quartetting doesn't apply in the case of our four families.
But the one exception that Steinhardt's book doesn't deal with so much,
however, is the added complication of a quartet that's dealing with all
those things mentioned above, PLUS that of raging adolescent hormones.
Now that's a book that could be written by any of a large multitude of
"string parents"....

Bill H.

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