Emerson String Quartet celebrates 30th anniversary

by Laura Romain | 1/11/07 6:00am

Praised by the London Times as "hope for humanity," the Emerson String Quartet will perform a program of Beethoven, Nielsen, Rihm and Brahms to a sold out house on Friday, Jan. 12 at 8 p.m. in the Hopkins Center's Spaulding Auditorium.

Since its formation in 1976, the Emerson String Quartet has become an international sensation, winning seven Grammy Awards, releasing iconic recordings under the Deutsche Grammophon label and touring the world's most prestigious performing arts centers. The Quartet, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this season, consists of violinists Eugene Drucker and Philip Setzer, violist Lawrence Dutton and cellist David Finkel.

This Friday, the Emerson String Quartet will apply its renowned artistic insight and innovation to a compelling selection of classical and contemporary music. The program opens with Ludwig von Beethoven's "String Quartet in F Major, Opus 135." Beethoven's sixteenth string quartet and final substantial work, the piece is serene and relatively succinct, often considered a meditation on mortality.

Danish composer Carl Nielsen's "At the Bier of a Young Artist" assumes the second position in the program. Written in 1910 for the funeral of Nielsen's friend Oluf Hartmann, the piece spans three keys and a broad spectrum of emotional intensity.

Wolfgang Rihm's "String Quartet No. 4," which was completed in 1981 and premiered in 1983, is the most recent composition on the program. With its late-modern tonality, dramatic juxtapositions and expressive dynamic gestures, this work exemplifies Rihm's style.

Brahms's "String Quartet No. 1 in C minor" completes the program. The culmination of two decades of composition, Brahms's first string quartet resounds with his characteristic melodic richness and energy.

The Emerson String Quartet's performanace will be introduced in a pre-performance discussion with Professor Steve Swayne of the Dartmouth Music Department at 7 p.m. in Faulkner Recital Hall.