I am an extremely smart, well-educated man. However there are aspects of refined culture that always seem to escape me. Example: I recently took a wine tasting tour in France. "What can you say about this one?" I was asked. "Um, it's good?" "Yes, but notice how the tannins aren't too rich in the front but the finish is clear in the back? And the notes of black current, honey and tobacco smoke?" "I taste grape."
I'm exaggerating, but this is what I want to shout during most movie scenes featuring classical musicians practicing a piece. It sounds fine, then the teacher comes in and shouts, "No! You have to FEEL it, to understand what the composer was saying about heartache and despair!" And then the teacher proceeds to play it in pretty much the exact same way.
It drives me crazy and, to be sure, it happens in 'A Late Quartet,' but, luckily by this point of the film you are quite in tune with the different characters -- know them, even -- and are willing to let it slide. Frankly, a great deal of 'A Late Quartet,' a gossipy soap opera for the NPR-set, is forgiven because of its marvelous cast.