Playlist: The Calidore String Quartet's Top 8
In 1974 Avery Fisher, a lifelong lover and benefactor of classical music established Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Artist Program, which includes The Avery Fisher Prize and Avery Fisher Career Grants, the latter to give outstanding instrumentalists significant recognition on which to continue to build their careers. Among the 2018 Career Grant recipients, announced on March 22, is the Calidore String Quartet (chamber ensemble), who are currently on tour in Europe. We asked the members of the quartet—Jeffrey Myers (violin); Ryan Meehan (violin); Jeremy Berry (viola); and Estelle Choi (cello)—to share with us some of their favorite string quartet recordings.
Meet the other 2018 Career Grant recipients: Xavier Foley (double bass); Francisco Fullana (violin); and Drew Petersen (piano)
You can catch a concert by the Calidore String Quartet with The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center on Friday, April 13 at 7:30 pm or the radio broadcast of all performances from the Avery Fisher Career Grant ceremony on Tuesday, April 24 at 9:00 pm on WQXR 105.9 FM and www.wqxr.org.
Debussy String Quartet in G minor, Op. 10, 3rd movement—Quatuor Ebène
The purity of intonation demonstrated in this recording brings Debussy's revolutionary harmonies to life in high definition. The Ebène's interpretation is both natural and incredibly individual, making it one of the classic recordings of this work. —Ryan Meehan
Schubert String Quartet No. 14 in D minor, "Death and the Maiden," 4th movement—Artemis Quartet
This definitive interpretation of one of the most famous quartets in the repertoire exhibits jaw-dropping sonic power, precise clarity in every regard, and some of the most stunning chords ever produced by a string quartet (particularly at the end of the last movement), at times sounding like an entire orchestra. —Ryan Meehan
Beethoven String Quartet in A minor, Op. 132, 3rd movement—Guarneri String Quartet
I still remember walking through the quiet snowy woods in my hometown of Calgary listening to this album for the first time and being so moved by the Guarneri's interpretation of this masterpiece. They capture with such sincerity the roller coaster of emotions that was at the core of Beethoven's writing. It remains one of my favorite recordings of all time. —Estelle Choi
Beethoven String Quartet No. 16 in F major, Op. 135, 3rd movement—Alban Berg Quartet
This is a great example of the Alban Berg Quartet capturing all of the incredible extremes of Beethoven's writing, from his sudden outbursts to his inner reflection. They bring a sensitive, tender care to the third movement of this masterpiece, demonstrating the incredible beauty at the core of Beethoven's final string quartet. —Jeremy Berry
György Ligeti String Quartet No. 1—Hagen Quartett
The incredible sound world of Ligeti is brought to life by the Hagen Quartett in this stunning recording of his first string quartet. The Hagen Quartett exhibits unbelievable virtuosity while capturing the wild, theatrical nature of this work. —Jeremy Berry
Schubert String Quintet in C major, D. 956, Op. 163, 1st movement—Guarneri String Quartet with Leonard Rose
One of the greatest pieces ever written, performed by one of the greatest quartets to grace the stage. The lyrical and singing nature of the interpretation brings this masterpiece to life. —Jeffrey Myers
Beethoven String Quartet No. 12 in E-flat major, Op. 127, 1st movement—Artemis Quartet
From the opening chords of this performance, the Artemis takes the listener on a cosmic journey. The technical precision of this recording is so high that one no longer feels as if one is listening to a string quartet. —Jeffrey Myers
Shostakovich String Quartet No. 10 in A-flat major, Op. 118, 4th movement—Emerson String Quartet
The Emerson's complete Shostakovich String Quartet cycle on DG is a must listen for any chamber music lover. They bring the music to life with incredible depth, virtuosity, and passion. You feel like you are right there on stage with them, experiencing them shine both individually and as a unit. —Estelle Choi
Last Leaf, "Shine You No More"—Danish String Quartet
This collection of Nordic folk music, which includes arrangements and compositions from the quartet members themselves, transports you to the Scandinavian landscapes and leaves you feeling as though you just lived through a cinematic experience. The album unfolds like a well-told story, tying up loose ends by its conclusion. It made a 1:00 am taxi ride home from the airport surprisingly enjoyable! —Estelle Choi
The Avery Fisher Career Grants of $25,000 give professional assistance and recognition to talented instrumentalists who the Recommendation Board and Executive Committee believe have great potential for solo careers. Since 2004, consideration is also given to chamber ensembles. Up to five Career Grants may be given each year. Recipients must be U.S. citizens or permanent U.S. residents. The Avery Fisher Artist Program is committed to all forms of diversity, with award recipients being chosen based on outstanding musical merit.
Eileen Willis is Editorial Director at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.