“Chaconnes and Fantasias” features music of two of Britain’s most famous composers: Henry Purcell (1659-1695) and Benjamin Britten (1913-1976). Four of Purcell’s Fantasias and his Chacony in G minor appear alongside Britten’s String Quartets Nos. 2 and 3. Although born 250 later than Purcell, Britten was heavily influenced by his predecessor. For example, the final movement of Britten’s String Quartet No. 2 is based on Purcell’s Chacony.
The Emerson Quartet was formed in 1976, and they took their name from the American poet Ralph Waldo Emerson. They were one of the first string quartets to have the two violinists alternate in the roles of first and second violin. Over their forty years of existence, they have recorded more than 30 albums, won nine Grammy Awards, and received the Avery Fisher Prize. Last fall, Deutsche Grammophone reissued the complete recordings of the Emerson Quartet in a 52-disc box set.
The Emerson Quartet has appeared regularly at Interlochen during the summers since 1987. They are currently on tour throughout the United States and Europe.