Mostly on the Road

by Richard Brookhiser

I went to an evening of Mostly Mozart last night, to hear the Emerson Quartet (joined by Martin Frost for Mozart’s A major clarinet quintet). The Emerson is my favorite quartet since the Guarneri hung up their bows. The Guarneri had a lighter (critics would say thinner) sound; the Emerson is rock solid, and almost equally nimble.

But I was struck by what the program said about their summer schedule. They have been to Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, and Japan, plus various gigs in the U.S. and Canada, from Portland to Cape Cod. I know we have airplanes, and I know Liszt was a trouper in his day. But to a veteran of (far smaller) presidential campaigns and book tours, this seems hellish. Hats off to the hearts and fingers that can make such sweet sounds even so.