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An ideal effort from the Emerson String Quartet

CLASSICAL

Britten and Purcell, "Chaconnes and Fantasias" performed by the Emerson String Quartet (Decca Gold)

Henry Purcell and Benjamin Britten certainly aren't the only composers whose affinities are discernible across a divide of three centuries. When you're talking about Purcell and Britten the cause is helped in no small measure by Britten's 20th century delight in arranging some of Purcell and Purcell's status as one of the most forward-thinking and beautiful composers of his era. (Among Purcell's great fans at the end of his own life was Igor Stravinsky.)

Britten's Second String Quartet dates from 1945, the 250th anniversary of Purcell's death and alludes to Purcell diredctly. Britten's Third Quartet is from 1975 was his final work and was first performed publicly posthumously. The Emerson is an ideal quartet to be performing this music which means that just about everything about this disc is ideal.

3 1/2 stars (out of four)

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