Emerson String Quartet | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Emerson String Quartet

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Shostakovich wrote one of the two most important string-quartet cycles of the 20th century (Bartok wrote the other), and in celebration of his 100th birthday the Emerson String Quartet will play the last three works. "These three together pack the greatest punch and present Shostakovich in a way that goes to the greatest depth," says violinist Eugene Drucker. Written during the last years of the composer's life, when he was acutely aware of his mortality, they're predominantly heartbreaking and often eerie--yet at times they can be playful, as in the opening of the 14th and in a jazzy pizzicato section in the middle of the 13th. Drucker says Emerson's CDs of the complete cycle--which won two Grammys in 2000, for best classical recording and best chamber music performance--were recorded live because the group realized "the presence of the audience seems to add even more to this music than to other music." This concert, in one of the best halls in town, is sure to be extraordinary. Mon 7/17, 8 PM, Martin Theatre, Ravinia Festival, Green Bay and Lake Cook Rds., Highland Park, 847-266-5100, $10-$50.

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