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The Emerson Quartet are at their peak as they add new depth to Mozart.
Repertoire: ‘Prussian’ String Quartets Nos. 21-23
Artist: Emerson String Quartet
Label: Sony 8869793598-2
The Music: If Mozart’s ‘Haydn’ Quartets (Nos. 14-19) embrace some of his most striking invention, the ‘Prussian’ Quartets (Nos. 21-23) are supreme masterworks of sublime poetic inevitability.
The Performances: To mark 35 years of playing together and its first album for Sony, the Emerson Quartet has turned its focus on three of the greatest quartets ever composed. There was a time when the Emersons’ Mozart was more about sparkling brilliance and textural cleanliness than interpretative fantasy, but nowadays they are more inclined to take their time and imbue their classicism with greater humanity and affectionate warmth. Particularly in the glorious 21st, one senses that this is music that they not only admire but are deeply moved by.
The Verdict: Judging from this fine new disc, the Emerson Quartet is still right at the top of its game, but with a new wisdom and expressive freedom that is captivating.
Want More? Try two of Mozart’s ‘Haydn’ Quartets to hear the Emerson Quartet at their most flawlessly imposing (Dg, 445 5982).