Felix Mendelssohn: String Quartet No. 1; Brahms: String Quartet Op. 67; Dvořák String Quartet No. 14, Op. 105. The Emerson String Quartet, Sunday, October 2, 2022, Koerner Corridor.
Counted among the many chamber-circuit major-leaguers for greater than 40 years, the Emerson String Quartet has determined that the 2022-23 season will likely be its final. On Sunday, the veterans bade farewell to Toronto in Koerner Corridor with a program made in roughly equal measure of mellow music and music made to look so.
Their strategy created an fascinating paradox in Mendelssohn’s Quartet Op. 12, completed when the composer was 20 however sounding on this event just like the retrospective gaze of an octogenarian. The Allegro non tardante marking of the principle part of the primary motion was taken at one thing extra like moderato.
However, to proceed with the Italian lesson, the taking part in was convincingly espressivo all through, as heat tone made amends for the shortage of velocity. The full of life center part of the Canzonetta shimmered, and the thematic procedures of the finale have been properly elucidated. Would Mendelssohn, by many accounts an advocate of quick tempos, approve? Effectively, I cherished it.
The Emerson Quartet was one of many first to toggle violinists within the first and second chair. Through the years I acquired a marginal desire for the ensemble sound with Eugene Drucker on high (as in Mendelssohn). This isn’t to say that Philip Setzer didn’t carry a discerning if understated contact to Brahms’s Quartet Op. 67 and Dvořák’s Op. 105.
Lawrence Dutton projected handsomely within the third motion of the Brahms, the place the viola, somewhat unusually, takes the lead. Paul Watkins, the Welsh cellist who joined the in any other case American group in 2013, didn’t have many in depth solos however set the scene with an acceptable sense of drama within the finale of the Dvořák.
This autumnal work, the composer’s final with no program or libretto, occasioned many interludes of candy repose. One thing of the knowledge and expertise of the gamers could possibly be gleaned from the orderly phrasing of the opening of the gradual motion and the rhapsodic fashion of the extra complicated music that ensues.
There was an encore: the melancholy seventh of Dvořák’s Cypresses as organized for quartet. Did we want one other choice from Central Europe and Nineteenth-century? Effectively, this was a valedictory event. Credit score is owing the Royal Conservatory of Music for making it occur.
The substantial crowd, made largely of listeners who have been middle-aged or higher, responded positively. Quiet prevailed, a couple of coughers however. One fanatic shouted “properly performed” after the primary motion of the Brahms, which in reality featured the roughest taking part in of the live performance. I assume as a critic, I’m not within the strongest place to advise individuals to maintain their opinions to themselves.
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