Intimate Voices

Intimate Voices

by Emerson String Quartet



The title of this album could refer to any number of the Emerson String Quartet's prior recordings: The phrase "intimate voices" practically defines the quartet repertoire from Haydn to Shostakovich and beyond. Here, of course, it's borrowed from the subtitle to Jean Sibelius' wonderfully frosty String Quartet in D Minor (1908-9), a masterpiece of chamber music from a composer best known for his orchestral works. Written between his Third and Fourth Symphonies, the score is strikingly original both in its austere sonorities and its arching form, with two scherzos surrounding a poignant -- and intimate -- slow movement. To open this pan-Scandinavian program, however, the Emersons offer Edvard Grieg's dramatic, extroverted String Quartet in G Minor (1878) -- the least intimate of the album's voices. The musicians really dig into the passionate outbursts of the opening movement while also emphasizing the rustic edges of the dance-influenced portions that follow. (Incidentally, this performance is worth stacking up against the Emersons' recording of Claude Debussy's String Quartet, a work that borrowed a great deal from Grieg.) It's gratifying to find this supremely talented group turning its attention at last to the Grieg and Sibelius works, gems of the quartet repertoire that are too seldom heard -- and finding room on the program, too, for Carl Nielsen's brief, elegiac At the Bier of a Young Artist. (Dare we hope for a complete cycle of Nielsen's four quartets from the Emersons? Stranger things have happened.) The musicians seem to find the Nordic climate quite agreeable, for their sojourn there has resulted in an essential addition to their very impressive discography.

Product Details

Release Date: 04/11/2006
Label: Deutsche Grammophon
UPC: 0028947759607
catalogNumber: 000634002


  1. String Quartet No. 1 in G minor, Op. 27
  2. Ved en ung kunstners baare (At the Bier of a Young Artist), for string quartet & double bass, FS 58
  3. String Quartet in D minor ("Voces Intimae"), Op. 56

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