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Shanghai Quartet Plays Sheng, Aldridge

Charles T. Downey, Shanghai Quartet shows dedication to new music in Freer Gallery of Art concert
Washington Post, March 1, 2014

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Beethoven, String Quartets (op. 59/2-3), Shanghai Quartet
(Delos, 2006)
On Thursday night the Shanghai Quartet returned to its old haunt at the Freer Gallery of Art, whose free concert series the quartet has graced regularly since 1995. Expectations demand that it play a mix of Eastern and Western music and that some new music be included, both of which are the quartet’s specialties. On those two counts, certainly, this concert was a success.

Bright Sheng’s fifth string quartet pushed the musicians to the edge of their abilities, from the brutal “Bartók” pizzicatos in the cello that open the piece and punctuate its sections, a tribute to the Hungarian composer whose “Miraculous Mandarin Suite” inspired the quartet’s subtitle, “The Miraculous.” Frantic pizzicatos and whirring scales did not always line up as they should here, and something about the interpretation revealed the work’s repetitive nature. [Continue reading]
Shanghai Quartet
Music by Sheng, Haydn, Aldridge, Verdi
Freer Gallery of Art

This concert was not, as billed in the program, the Washington area premiere of Bright Sheng's fifth string quartet. The Emerson Quartet, for whom it was written, played it on their Smithsonian Associates series in 2007.

Shanghai Quartet: 2006 | 2005

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