For the Record, Op. 20: Emerson String Quartet 40th Anniversary; Tim Fain - Harrison Violin Works

April 20, 2017, 2:41 PM · Welcome to "For the Record,"'s weekly roundup of new releases of recordings by violinists, violists, cellists and other classical musicians. We hope it helps you keep track of your favorite artists, as well as find some new ones to add to your listening!

Chaconnes and Fantasias: Music of Britten and Purcell
Emerson String Quartet:
Eugene Drucker, violin
Philip Setzer, violin
Lawrence Dutton, viola
Paul Watkins, cello

The Emerson String quartet is celebrating its 40th anniversary season with a number of projects, including this recording that features Britten's String Quartets Nos. 2 and 3 as well as a selection of chaconnes and fantasias from Purcell, including Chacony in G Minor, Z 730 and Fantazia No. 11 in G Major, Z 742. "It’s hard to believe that the music on this CD spans almost three centuries, ranging from Purcell’s surprisingly pungent harmonies to Britten’s distinctive voice," said violinist Eugene Drucker. In addition to being a celebration of its 40th anniversary, this is the ensemble's first feature recording to include cellist Paul Watkins, who joined in 2013.

If you'd rather see the group live, you are in luck if you will be in New York: the Emerson Quartet also will perform at 3 p.m. May 7 in Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium, in a concert featuring Ravel and Berg Quartets and the Brahms Quintet with pianist Yefim Bronfman.

Here is a track from the recording, Fantazia No. 11 in G by Purcell:

Lou Harrison: Violin Concerto, Grand Duo & Double Music
Tim Fain, violin
Michael Boriskin, piano
Post-Classical Ensemble, Angel Gil-Ordóñez conducting.

If you are in the mood for something modern and experimental, violinist Tim Fain is featured in a new recording of two works by Lou Harrison (1917-2003): his Concerto for Violin and Percussion Orchestra (1959) and Grand Duo for Violin and Piano (1988). Notes from Naxos: "Lou Harrison was a composer far ahead of his time. A protean innovator, he espoused 'world music' before it had a name, and this recording documents his pioneering roles as a composer for percussion and as an integrator of Western and Indonesian idioms. The Concerto for Violin and Percussion, both intimate and vigorous, demonstrates his experimental enthusiasm in the use of non-pitched percussion. The Grand Duo for Violin and Piano is a remarkable example of gamelan-infused chamber music while Double Music, co-composed with Harrison's friend John Cage, is a well-known product of their celebrated San Francisco percussion concerts."

Here is a live performance of the concerto's third movement, featuring violinist Tim Fain with the Post-Classical Ensemble:

If you have a new recording you would like us to consider for inclusion in our Thursday "For the Record" feature, please e-mail Editor Laurie Niles. Be sure to include the name of your album, a link to it and a short description of what it includes.


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