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David Finckel and Wu Han. Photo 2013 Lisa Mazzucco.

An Interview with Wu Han and David Finckel: Life after the Emerson Quartet and an Upcoming Concert at South Mountain Concerts

Along with the retirement of the Tokyo String Quartet, the departure of David Finckel from the Emerson Quartet has been one of the most discussed events in the world of chamber music over the past eighteen months or so. As people who have heard their concerts know, both David Finckel and the Emerson Quartet, now with the British cellist, Paul Watkins, in place, are as rich as ever in their contributions to our well-being as humans. Wu Han and David Finckel spoke with me just today about their new post-Emerson life, which allows David to travel and play more regularly with Wu Han as a duo and as a trio with Emerson violinist Philip Setzer, who will join them at the venerable South Mountain Concerts on Sunday, September 29, 2013. They will play Beethoven Op. 1, No. 2, Shostakovich’s Trio No. 2 in E Minor, Op. 67, and Dvořák’s Trio in E Minor, Op. 90, the “Dumky.”

I hope you enjoy our conversation about their past, present, and future as much as I did.

Derek Wilson and Rebecca Brooksher in the Berkshire Theatre Group's production of "Anna Christie." Photo by Abby LePage.

A Singer’s Notes 80: Anna Christie and Mother Courage

Eugene O’Neill’s lyricism catches us out slowly. Rarely sweet, almost tidy, it has stretches I would call “bare bones.” But even these passages enable the silences. Tennessee Williams gives us poems which could be extracted. In O’Neill’s Anna Christie, this is not the method. Only after a while does the singing become audible. It makes you stretch your hearing. This takes actors with great ears, with restraint, with a long view of each individual scene. The whole is the sum of its parts; the parts themselves almost utilitarian. That said, it has a flow which is in no way stiff or self-conscious. There were three superb actors in Berkshire Theatre Group’s production of this play, who heard the music. You might characterize them this way: the father, played by Jonathan Hogan, the overseer; the daughter played by Rebecca Brooksher- a kind of active listener; and Derek Wilson, playing the young man, the extravagant performer.

Adam Huff (Bottom), Brittany Morgan (Titania) in A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Dell at the Mount, Edith Wharton's Home. Photo by Enrico Spada.

A Singer’s Notes 79: Die to Live

Die to Live — says the Priest to the falsely accused Hero at a crucial moment in Much Ado About Nothing, and so ushers in a new perspective in Shakespeare’s comedy. We already hear intimations of it in those lines of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, called “Bottom’s Dream.” The buffoon recalls that he has had a vision “past the wit of man to say what his dream was.”

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