A highly readable and accessible bar-by-bar, theme-by-theme guide to the monumental quartets of Beethoven. All 16 quartets and the Grosse Fuge are dissected and examined. Rather than simply deconstructing the formal technicalities of the pieces, Joseph De Marliave concentrates on mood and general effects, with illustrations of Beethoven's major themes allowing the reader to follow their development from the point of view of a listener. Comprehensive background detail is included for all works, including quotations, remarks from Beethoven himself, and opinion from contemporaries and patrons. A complete and authoritative study of an important body of work.