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Brahms: Piano Quintet, The String Quartets
     

Brahms: Piano Quintet, The String Quartets

by Emerson String Quartet, Leon Fleisher
 
Rich, warm, ripe, and full of wisdom, the Emerson Quartet's 2007 recording of Brahms' three string quartets for Deutsche Grammophon is not only the finest recording of the group's 30-year career, but the recording that confirms its title as America's Greatest Quartet. Here, the Emerson's mastery of ensemble playing is complete. With its easy

Overview

Rich, warm, ripe, and full of wisdom, the Emerson Quartet's 2007 recording of Brahms' three string quartets for Deutsche Grammophon is not only the finest recording of the group's 30-year career, but the recording that confirms its title as America's Greatest Quartet. Here, the Emerson's mastery of ensemble playing is complete. With its easy interplay, impeccable balances, and effortless tempo rubato, the Emerson has the vital cogency of a great jazz quartet. Beyond the technical, the Emerson's wholly unified interpretations are overwhelming. In these late romantic masterpieces, the Emerson catches Brahms' unique fusion of passion, intellect, and sentiment to perfection, expressing his mixture of aggression, expression, and nostalgia with sensitivity and understanding. Easily as good as the finest recordings of the works ever recorded -- the Budapest's, the Alban Berg's, the Quartetto Italiano's -- the Emerson's Brahms quartets should be heard by everyone who loves the works and loves great performances. Would that one could say the same of its recording of Brahms' "Piano Quintet" with pianist Leon Fleisher! Unfortunately, while his performance is likewise full of warmth and wisdom, Fleisher is no longer up to Brahms' technically demanding piano part, and his limitations make it impossible for the Emerson to deliver the same quality performance as the quartets. Still, for the high quality of the quartets -- and for the luxurious beauty of DG's sound -- the Emerson's set is still well worth hearing.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - James Leonard
Rich, warm, ripe, and full of wisdom, the Emerson Quartet's 2007 recording of Brahms' three string quartets for Deutsche Grammophon is not only the finest recording of the group's 30-year career, but the recording that confirms its title as America's Greatest Quartet. Here, the Emerson's mastery of ensemble playing is complete. With its easy interplay, impeccable balances, and effortless tempo rubato, the Emerson has the vital cogency of a great jazz quartet. Beyond the technical, the Emerson's wholly unified interpretations are overwhelming. In these late romantic masterpieces, the Emerson catches Brahms' unique fusion of passion, intellect, and sentiment to perfection, expressing his mixture of aggression, expression, and nostalgia with sensitivity and understanding. Easily as good as the finest recordings of the works ever recorded -- the Budapest's, the Alban Berg's, the Quartetto Italiano's -- the Emerson's Brahms quartets should be heard by everyone who loves the works and loves great performances.
Gramophone - Harriet Smith
For an ensemble who have been together longer than most marriages, they still sound remarkably fresh, vigorous and pleased with life. Technical finesse has always been a given with this group, and as ever their playing has a sureness and ease that leaves most ensembles behind.
BBC Music Magazine - Calum MacDonald
A highly competitive collection of these works, expounded with great fire and complete command of their intricacies and subtleties, as well as their big moments.... Fleisher proves an ideal partner in the Quintet, a breathtakingly authoritative performance.
Philadelphia Inquirer - David Patrick Stearns
The Emerson Quartet's big sound and vigorous temperament is perfectly suited to the composer's three string quartets, but the prize is pianist Fleisher.... He triumphs over his 1963 Juilliard Quartet recording, not just with his fingers but with his profound understanding of how much this music can mean.
Dallas Morning News - Lawson Taitte
[Grade: A-] [A] particularly elegant version of the quintet.... The Emerson makes the formidable Brahms quartets positively endearing.
Newark Star-Ledger - Bradley Bambarger
1/2 The Emerson is superior in precision.... With Fleisher enjoying his Indian summer, the American team also produces more drama in the Piano Quintet.
Audiophile Audition - Laurence Vittes
The Emersons have provided a virtual orgy of Brahms that, in its precise elegance and light-handed passion, sets a brilliant new standard for recordings of this repertoire.... Fleisher...adds both a masterful gravitas and a luminous, life-giving energy and purpose.
The Guardian - Andrew Clements
The Emersons are at their most persuasive in the passages when Brahms gives them a licence to press his music as hard as their instincts suggest.... Fleisher's playing is wonderfully authoritative - life-enhancing on many levels.
Daily Telegraph - Richard Wigmore
Playing with their trademark fire and rhythmic acumen, the Emersons give a wonderfully vital performance of the B flat Quartet.... From the tense, brooding opening [of the Piano Quintet] to the finale's volcanic coda, they give a thrilling, commanding performance.
Raleigh-Durham News & Observer - David Perkins
[Fleisher's] piano sounds like the voice of God speaking to Job.... Thrilling playing, and the Emerson String Quartet performs with all its mature wisdom and rich sound.... There are few miracles these days; we should celebrate one when it happens.

Product Details

Release Date:
05/08/2007
Label:
Deutsche Grammophon
UPC:
0028947764588
catalogNumber:
000871802
Rank:
48784

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. String Quartet No. 1 in C minor, Op. 51/1
  2. String Quartet No. 2 in A minor, Op. 51/2
  3. String Quartet No. 3 in B flat major, Op. 67
  4. Piano Quintet in F minor, Op. 34a

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