There aren't many household names in chamber music, but the Emerson String Quartet has as strong a claim to that status as anyone. Wednesday night, the nine-time Grammy-winning quartet showed off its unerring musicality and finely honed teamwork in an all-Dvorák evening presented by the Chamber Music Society of Salt Lake City.
The program included nine movements from Dvorák's early 12-song cycle "The Cypresses," which the composer later arranged for quartet. (A 10th "Cypress" was tossed in as an encore.) The songs' titles -- "Death Reigns in Many a Human Breast," "When Thy Sweet Glances on Me Fall" -- give a clue to their quaint musical content. The Emerson's delivery was sweetly sentimental but never cloying.
The performers -- Eugene Drucker and Philip Setzer, trading off violin parts; violist Lawrence Dutton; and cellist David Finckel -- also presented a pair of mid- and late-period Dvorák quartets, Op. 51 and Op. 106, making for a well-rounded evening. The players' collective tone was warm and vibrant; a sense of freedom and spontaneity in their phrasing belied their at-times uncanny cohesiveness. The sizzling final pages of the Op. 106 quartet brought the Libby Gardner Hall crowd to its feet.
The chamber-music stars shine in an evening of Dvorák.
Where » Libby Gardner Concert Hall, University of Utah
When » Wednesday