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Review: Grammy-winning Emerson String Quartet lives up to its reputation

By Catherine Reese Newton

The Salt Lake Tribune

Published April 29, 2010 10:31 am
This is an archived article that was published on in 2010, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
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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.

Emerson String Quartet

The chamber-music stars shine in an evening of Dvorák.

Where » Libby Gardner Concert Hall, University of Utah

When » Wednesday

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