My first quartet concert. I’m nervous as a foal.

I know nothing about Beethoven, have no idea

his first quartet is such a deal for him…             .

(‘To Be Played with the Utmost Delicacy’)

Read Ruth’s essays on music here.

Music is a vital part of Ruth’s life and family, who are all dedicated amateur chamber musicians. She has always sung in choirs, has a regular singing group, and has played the viola from childhood.

She has written many essays about classical music and presented radio programmes about it, but her choices on Michael Berkeley’s Private Passions, 1998, and Desert Island Discs, 2009, in addition to opera and chamber music, included folksong, Muddy Waters, a mantinada from the island of Crete, and Melina Merkouri singing The Boys from Peiraeus.

She has said that in another life she would love to be an opera director. And she wishes she had spent a lifetime learning the oud.

She begins her biographical collection on Beethoven with a poem about the way her parents met – playing music.