The First Four Notes

The First Four Notes by Matthew Guerrieri...a marvelous read!(Photo: Random House)
The First Four Notes by Matthew Guerrieri...a marvelous read!(Photo: Random House)

I’m in the midst of reading The First Four Notes by Matthew Guerrieri. The notes in question, three Gs and an E-flat begin Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony:

Geurrieri is a music critic for the Boston Globe, and maintains a pithy blog Soho The Dog.

The book takes these iconic four notes and gives us 300 pages of historical context, some analysis and a lot of insight.

Forget the Fate Knocking at the Door malarkey. We go through Kant, Nietzsche, Hegel, Marx and my Swedenborg can beat up your Swedenborg.

Yeah, I know. This wouldn’t make me hot and bothered either. Sounds like a snoozefest. But Guerrieri is a terrific writer. This magic carpet ride through two centuries is a quick and a stimulating journey.

I’m working on an interview with Matthew Guerrieri and I’ll post the audio once it is finished. Meanwhile, he admires performances by Carlos Kleiber, Toscanini and the zippy John Eliot Gardiner.

The First Four Notes is a scholarly book that is also a wonderful read. Recommended!

Comments