Emerson String Quartet

Violin Lawrence Dutton Violin Eugene Drucker Viola Philip Setzer Cello David Finckel

Date and Venue 20 April 2010 @ 8.00pm| Vancouver Playhouse, Vancouver

Reviewer Ed Farolan

Now in their 33rd year this always much anticipated string quartet delighted a Vancouver audience composed mostly of senior chamber music diehards. Their one-evening performance last Monday packed the house, and got the lobby abuzz during intermission, and I believe, sold out their 15 CDs at the lobby's makeshift CD boutique.

This annual concert of Friends of Chamber Music by these Masters of both classical and contemporary rmusic has again been sponsored by Paul and Edwina Heller who have generously supported this ensemble for the past several years.

What impressed me the most with this quartet is its dynamism which is a must when Czech composer Antonin Dvorak's music is performed. A selection from "Cypresses", four movements lasting a total of 11 minutes, was the intro. It was melancholic in tone, as Dvorak, a young man of 24, wrote this collection of 18 songs inspired by his affections for one of his piano students who did not return his affection. Instead, her younger sister ended up marrying Dvorak.

In his programme notes, Emerson's violinist Philip Setzer comments that 12 of the 18 songs were adapted for string quartet. Dvorak's student and son-in-law, Josef Suk, revised 10 of the 12 pieces.

A longer piece followed after "Cypresses": String Quartet No. 10 in E flat major, Opus 51. Around this time Dvorak was enjoying a fluorishing career with the publication of Slavonic dances on or around 1878, and much of this composition was inspired from Polka rhythms of Czech national music. From the serenity of the first movement, Dvorak contrasts the second movement with a scherzo-like melancholic tone and in the finale, a lively movement concluding exuberantly, getting the audience to shout bravos.

© 2010 Ed Farolan