Saturday, May 7, 2022

concert review: Emerson Quartet

It was overcast, even drizzly, in the City last night, unlike the increasingly warm weather at home, as I found when I headed there for this concert.

The Emerson Quartet have been performing together for 46 years with only one change in personnel, which makes them one of the most senior such ensembles currently on the boards. I'd thought they were on the verge of hanging it up, but the program notes indicated they have a lot of future tours planned.

They played two repertoire works whose fame is nevertheless vastly overshadowed by that of their own slow movements, taken out of context and played separately: Borodin's Second Quartet, source of the "Nocturne," and Barber's sole Quartet, source of the "Adagio for Strings."

Unfortunately for whatever reason, I was in no mental shape to appreciate a concert such as this, and it was that, rather than the choice of work following intermission, which caused me to bail at that point and head home. The Emersons gave the most remarkable warm lyricism to the rough and tumble outer movements of the Barber: if they could do the same thing to the Bartok First which followed, it would be a truly amazing thing.

But not for me. I just wasn't up to it.

At least I was able to make the whole wearisome journey (25 minutes wait for a BART train, due to system delays) on my newly-acquired senior-citizen transit card, which I'd bought on my Thursday outing from the service center at the downtown station, they not being available at the regular account-refill vendors.

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