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

Arts & Culture » Theater Critic's Choice

Emerson String Quartet


Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe


During its 30 years as an ensemble, the Emerson String Quartet has emulated its namesake--Ralph Waldo--by boldly establishing a distinct style. The musicians alternate first and second violin positions, play standing (with the cellist on a small podium), and deliver ensemble perfection that's truly athletic. This program sandwiches Terra Memoria, by Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho--her second quartet, dedicated "for those departed" and premiered by the Emerson at Carnegie Hall on June 17--between two late Beethoven quartets. The concert opens with his Quartet no. 16 in F, op. 135, which gets one of the best performances in the Emerson's recording of the cycle: their propulsive, unsentimental style suits Beethoven's delinquent rhythms, yet they still manage a profoundly searching slow movement. The concert ends with Quartet no. 13 in B-flat, op. 130, played with its original last movement, the imposing Grosse Fuge. The Emerson's recording of this movement (published, and often performed, separately) gives coherence to Beethoven's craggy writing but misses some of its savagery. a 8 PM, Martin Theatre, Ravinia Festival, Green Bay & Lake Cook Rds., Highland Park, 847-266-5100, $10-$50.

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Reader Revolutionary $35/month →  
  Rabble Rouser $25/month →  
  Reader Radical $15/month →  
  Reader Rebel  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  →