* Notes *
Since Angelika Kirchschlager canceled her Berkeley recital for yesterday afternoon, I stayed in San Francisco and heard an evening performance of the Emerson String Quartet instead. They began with a spirited rendition of Mozart's Quartet in B-flat Major, K. 589, the playing was sumptuous without being too showy. In contrast, Beethoven that came next, Quartet in F minor, Op. 95, was rather more strident but still sublime. The last movement was particularly vehement. Webern's Six Bagatelles, Op. 9 were light and amusing, though the audience's distaste for the Second Viennese School was palpable. Ravel's Quartet in F major was a good foil, being lusher and prettier than the Webern. The percussiveness of the second movement was great fun, and it was clear what a fine rapport the performers had with one another. The performance ended with an encore of the eleventh song in Dvořák's Cyprise, transcribed for string quartet.
* Tattling *
The audience was highly respectful of the Mozart and Beethoven, only a few people whispered between movements. Someone was roundly hushed during the Webern. As far as I could tell, there was no electronic noise of any kind during the performance.