On a recent visit to our favourite bookshop, Topping’s in Ely, I picked up a copy of Edward Dusinberre’s Beethoven for a Later Age: The Journey of a String Quartet. (In fact, if you click on the photo, you’ll see my copy on a table in an upstairs window of Topping’s, with the stunning view of the cathedral beyond.)
Dusinberre is the leader of the Takacs Quartet, and his book weaves together a little of the history of the circumstances of the composition of Beethoven’s quartets, some reflections on the quartets and the problems they pose those who play them, and thoughts and anecdotes about the life of a string quartet (and of the Takacs in particular). I found it an absorbing and illuminating read — and at times, very touching in a quietly understated way. Warmly recommended.