Notes and Editorial Reviews
I'm not a big fan of the quartet version of the original orchestral work, and the Emerson Quartet really throws down the gauntlet in this regard. Not only do these players adopt some very deliberate tempos in movements such as "Sitio", "Mulier, ecce filius tuus", and "Consummatum est", but they also include a quartet transcription of the wind-band introduction to Part 2 of the work's oratorio version (my other preferred way to enjoy it). Strangely enough, though you might think that the last thing we need is yet another slow movement, it all works surprisingly well. Surely it helps that the group has taken care to compare the quartet arrangement with the orchestral original and to include some of the missing
subsidiary musical lines otherwise assigned to the orchestra's wind section, resulting in a slightly richer texture overall.
More to the point, the playing has such concentration, such beauty of tone, and most importantly such firm rhythm (so difficult to achieve without undue exaggeration in slow music), that the sequence of movements never bogs down in monochromatic reverie. Okay, so the final "earthquake" isn't exactly going to rock your world, but long before you reach that point you will likely be convinced and amazed at the variety and contrast that the Emerson players wrest from this pocket version of the piece. In short, if this is what you're looking for, there is none better, and the sonics are first class.
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com Read less
Works on This Recording
Seven last words of Christ on the Cross, Op. 51/H 3 no 50-56 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Eugene Drucker (Violin),
Philip Setzer (Violin),
Lawrence Dutton (Viola),
David Finckel (Cello)
Emerson String Quartet
Written: 1787; Eszterhazá, Hungary
Date of Recording: 2002
Venue: Academy of Arts & Letters, New York City
Length: 69 Minutes 3 Secs.
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