Notes and Editorial Reviews
Emerson Quartet. Deutsche Grammophon 423 657-2 [2 CDs], reissued on Deutsche Grammophon 000815602.
The six quartets of Bartók have been well represented on record, far better than the six of Schoenberg or the 15 of Shostakovich. Few have done better with the music than the Emerson Quartet. Making roses out of what must seem, to most who attempt to play the set, more a collection of thistles, the Emerson players show the kind of ensemble polish that caused one European critic to label their performances as “too smooth.... I like my Bartók rougher.” But awkwardness and rhythmic uncertainty, which have made many another group sound rough in this music, should not be confused with expressive edge, which the Emersons
bring to the music in full measure. Their readings are extraordinarily revealing, high intensity, not at all for the faint of heart. The sound quality is excellent throughout. – Ted Libbey, author of
The NPR Guide to Building a Classical CD Collection, reviewing a previous issue on Deutsche Grammophon 423657 now available on Deutsche Grammophon 000815602. Read less
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