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One of the great American musical groups at the top of their game. The six Bartok Quartets are easily some of the most adventurous pieces of music of the 20th Century, and the quartet tackles them with the perfect combination of technical virtuosity and a superb sense of the complicated emotions that Bartok brought to his music. The recent announcement that David Finckel is leaving the group reminds me of how grateful I am for the recordings they've made.
While others have complained about the "too-perfect" playing of the Emerson Quartet, I would point out that Bartok - and is quartets in particular - are not easy music. They require some monster musicians to pull off successfully, and Emerson does that on each and every track.
If you're looking for the complete works of a major 20th-century composer in the genre of string quartets, this and the 15-quartet Shostakovich should be your first two purchases. Well worth the money.
Interesting music, good group, little more challenging than most music. The 1st quartet would make the perfect soundtrack for the silent movie Nosferatu-which also is/was about 1000 times more scary and interesting than all the silly "zombie" stuff out today.