Tuesday, June 8, 2010

REVIEW: Emerson String Quartet in Hong Kong

Well, the Emerson pulled more than just a few strings!

This is another review I wrote for the Time-Out Hong Kong online version. The Emerson String Quartet performed at the Hong Kong City Hall Concert Hall on 4th of June. To read the review, kindly follow the link below. Hope you like it and thank you for visiting my blog.


City Hall Friday June 4

The Emerson performances met the high standards for which they are so well-known: an astonishing synthesis of authority and audacity, precision and poise.

Formed in 1976, the Emerson String Quartet took its name from the great American poet, essayist and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson. Over three decades, the Emerson have made over 40 recordings, won 9 Grammy Awards, 3 Gramophone Awards and the Avery Fisher Prize.

Part of the brilliance of the concert was the programming itself. The Emerson worked their way from the music of the Classical to Romantic, then to Post-Romantic era showcasing their mastery and versatility.

The concert started off with Mozart’s String Quartet No. 19 in C, K465 (Dissonance), the sixth and the last of a series dedicated to Haydn. The piece may not be my favorite but I can’t help but be excited by the way the voices bounced off each other with remarkable dynamics and then came together cohesively.

Dvorak’s String Quartet No. 12 in F, Op. 96 (American), an output during his tenure as the director of the National Conservatory of Music in New York, followed with remarkable success. Great care was taken in all of the markings, while every solo was shaped for utmost expressiveness.

After the interval came Shostakovich’s String Quartet No. 9 in E-flat, Op. 117. This more or less 25 minutes of non-stop, technically poised and controlled playing accumulated intensity that drew one into the composer’s desolate and discomforting world.

The Emerson performances were met with rousing applause and they rewarded the audience with two encores of Dvorak and Beethoven music.

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