Infinite Voyage / Hannigan, Chamayou, Emerson Quartet

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The title of this album evokes not only the life-long journey of all these musicians, but also a lasting friendship between soprano Barbara Hannigan and...

The title of this album evokes not only the life-long journey of all these musicians, but also a lasting friendship between soprano Barbara Hannigan and the Emerson String Quartet. One of the greatest string quartets of the last four decades, the Emersons will disband in October 2023.

Barbara and the Emersons were determined to record Schoenberg's Quartet No. 2 since they started performing the work together in 2015. "The sheer sonic scope of this work takes us on a voyage into previously uncharted territory" say the Emerson musicians. "It's like a tall, gnarly tree to climb (all the way to another planet, it seems), yet one with deep and emotional roots", continues Barbara Hannigan. "The soprano’s fin-de-siècle primal scream at the end of the 3rd movement, begging to be relieved of love, is a heavy hitter."

Melancholie is a rare and intimate work by the young Hindemith, "a gem of a piece" that the Canadian soprano has wanted to explore for many years. The fascinating Quartet Op. 3, composed by Berg in 1909 as he was finishing his apprenticeship with Schoenberg, features the quartet on its own. And to round out the album, pianist Bertrand Chamayou joins Barbara and the Emersons for another deeply moving encounter by way of Chausson's heartbreaking Chanson perpétuelle.

REVIEW:

This is the final release from the legendary Emerson String Quartet, disbanding nearly five decades after it was formed as a student group. Here, the group takes on monuments of 20th century music, mostly works that it has never recorded before. There are thorny works by Berg and Schoenberg, each on the edge of atonality; the Second String Quartet No. 2 of Schoenberg dispensing with a key signature altogether in the finale. The last two movements of this work feature a vocalist, and the precise, tense singing of soprano Barbara Hannigan makes a perfect foil for the Emerson. There are some little-known songs for voice and string quartet by the young Paul Hindemith, and a fascinating Chanson perpétuelle of Ernest Chausson, which fits the Infinite Voyage theme of the album even if it may not at first seem to be appropriate musically. All in all, this release will hang in listeners’ minds for a good long time, which is exactly what is desired from a valedictory release. Infinite, indeed.

-- AllMusic.com (James Manheim)



Product Description:


  • Release Date: September 08, 2023


  • UPC: 3701624510001


  • Catalog Number: ALPHA1000


  • Label: Alpha


  • Number of Discs: 1


  • Period: 20th Century


  • Composer: Alban Berg, Arnold Schoenberg, Ernest Chausson, Paul Hindemith


  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Emerson String Quartet


  • Performer: Barbara Hannigan, Bertrand Chamayou



Works:


  1. Melancholie, Op. 13

    Composer: Paul Hindemith

    Ensemble: Emerson String Quartet

    Performer: Barbara Hannigan (Soprano)


  2. String Quartet, Op. 3

    Composer: Alban Berg

    Ensemble: Emerson String Quartet


  3. Chanson perpétuelle, Op. 37

    Composer: Ernest Chausson

    Ensemble: Emerson String Quartet

    Performer: Barbara Hannigan (Soprano), Bertrand Chamayou (Piano)


  4. String Quartet No. 2, Op. 10

    Composer: Arnold Schoenberg

    Ensemble: Emerson String Quartet

    Performer: Barbara Hannigan (Soprano)