sat 22/02/2020

Emerson String Quartet, Queen Elizabeth Hall | reviews, news & interviews

Emerson String Quartet, Queen Elizabeth Hall

Emerson String Quartet, Queen Elizabeth Hall

Many a visceral thrill from the legendary New Yorkers

(Right to left) Steve Buscemi, Steve Martin, Laurel and Hardy, otherwise known as the Emerson String Quartet
Could you get a more American string quartet than the Emersons? They dress like Yanks. They play like Yanks. They're even shaped like Yanks. There's Steve Martin on viola, Steve Buscemi on cello, Laurel and Hardy on violins. The night started in true Stateside fashion, an announcer indicating the Emersons would be conducting a Q&A session from the stage after the concert. I can't imagine anyone took them up on the offer. Because, for all the trials and tribulations of their recital last night at the Queen Elizabeth Hall (some good, some bad), this wasn't a performance that needed explaining.

Choppiness and instability from pros like these has its visceral thrills

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Aw, c'mon, Igor, don't be so goddamned cynical about the Q&A. We public like articulate musicians, so if they were prepared to be personable, and not just to sell another CD, good on them. We need more of this - ie conductors briefly introducing programmes, like Petrenko and Nelsons, to make the audience feel part of it - not less. Your opening image was typically superfluous, too. Why all the flim-flam when what you've actually got to say is perfectly valid.

Of course, if Stan Laurel's on violin, they're only 75% Yank. What a con!

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