19 May 2011


Last week, I had the great pleasure to photograph the Emerson String Quartet, one of the great music groups of our day. Confession: I have never heard them play live. With good humor they endured my imperious bullying, and we got many great shots which will soon be seen on their new CD for Sony.

It’s such a joy to work with people that are masters of their craft. I think it’s what I like best about my job. And of course, gentle teasing is also a great part of the day. Playing a little country music for the Juilliard mafia is always a must. And of course these things only happen when the real work is done by someone else, in this case, Dirk, Susan, and Katherine.

It turned out that the group was playing at the Met Museum the next night, joining the pianist Menahem Pressler. Only a small amount of begging was necessary to obtain a ticket. The evening opened with Mr. Pressler doing a Beethoven sonata and ended with him and the Quartet playing Dvořák. It is a great joy to see a group of artists that have been doing their thing for decades get up there and so clearly enjoy themselves, and play the pieces as if they had never been played. I was transported.

The complete program:
Sonata No. 31 in A-flat Major, Op. 110 ~ Beethoven
Estampes ~ Debussy
Piano Quintet in A Major, Op. 81 ~ Dvořák

Upon arriving home and digging in my CD collection, I found a version of Schubert played by Mr. Pressler and the Beaux Arts Trio. This is one of my long time favorites, probably due to Kubrick’s adroit use of it in Barry Lyndon.

Who said this music was aging?

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