Stories » Emerson String Quartet shines in Haydn's 'Sunrise' & Shostakovich / Pittsburgh Post Gazette

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Emerson String Quartet shines in Haydn's 'Sunrise' & Shostakovich / Pittsburgh Post Gazette

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The Emerson Quartet, which opened Chamber Music Pittsburgh's season in Carnegie Music Hall Monday, was formed in 1976, with the above violinists and violist Lawrence Dutton. Cellist Paul Watkins joined the ensemble in 2013. The group's unanimity and high technical accomplishment was immediately evident in the opening Haydn Quartet (Op. 76, No. 4).

It's nicknamed the "Sunrise" Quartet because it begins with the lower strings sustaining a chord while the first violin plays a rising melody that blossoms into a sprightly theme that dominates the opening movement. Intonation must be perfect and the pulse precise to make the effect, which was certainly the case on Monday. The Adagio movement, equally exposed, conveyed an eloquent simplicity. The folk-like character of the Minuet and Finale that followed was meshed with classical elegance and restraint.

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