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Debussy, Ravel: String Quartets

Album Summary

>Debussy, Claude : Quartet for Strings in G minor, Op. 10
>Ravel, Maurice : Sonata for Violin and Piano in G major
>Ravel, Maurice : Quartet for Strings in F major
Performers Composers

Notes & Reviews:

The Dante Quartet continue their award-winning exploration of the French string quartet with this disc which includes two of the greatest works of this genre. Both quartets dazzled and disturbed at their first performances. Debussy's fantastic, spiraling variations, resisting orthodox "development" of ideas, is described as reminiscent of Monet in recording the variations of light on the facade of Rouen Cathedral. Traditionalist commentators were shocked, but the exotic beauty of the writing excited many, including the young Ravel. Ravel's quartet is to some extent an homage to Debussy, but, typically, also a work of startling originality. Also included is Ravel's second violin sonata, an intriguing, jazz-influenced work, energetic but with a dark undertow of pain. It was written, as Ravel said, with the aim of, "exploring the basic incompatibility of violin and piano."

"The latest addition to [the Dante Quartet's] growing discography is not about to sound a sour note. In light, however, of the formidable competition among Debussy and Ravel quartet couplings, it's a legitimate question to ask if another version was necessary. The answer is a qualified "yes"...the [Ravel Violin Sonata No. 2] is a non-essential bonus for what is otherwise an award-deserving recording of Debussy's and Ravel's string quartets. This receives the highest recommendation possible." - Fanfare

'The two outstanding masterpieces of the genre by French composers ... The Dantes are one of the finest newish quartets based in Britain ... They are alive to every nuance of these ever-fascinating works' (The Sunday Times)

'One of the UK's finest quartets. They find all manner of shading and delicacy in the Debussy; their Ravel is a miracle of feather-light tone and seamless phrasing ... For sheer refinement, sweetness and unanimity of purpose these performances strike me as exceptional' (Financial Times)

'The shifts of light and shade in Debussy's String Quartet are ear-catchingly etched in by the Dante Quartet ... Ravel's Quartet is ushered in with an ethereal calm that nevertheless has sufficient fibre to sustain the first movement's burst of energy. The quiet musing of the slow movement is set in dramatic contrast with the fiery finale' (The Daily Telegraph)

'Rarement un quatuor a su faire preuve d'une telle souplesse de discours et d'une telle légèreté instrumentale; les Dante sont un soliste ou un orchestre, mais on oublie qu'ils sont quatre. Au-dèla de cet excellent travail de quatuor, ils proposent une palette des coleurs étonnantes, jouant avec des camaïses d'une subtilité incroyable ... Rien que pour le Debussy, un choc, un vrai' (Classica, France)

'A stroke of programming genius ... The Dantes make the oddball central movement of Ravel's String Quartet resonate beautifully and offer an unusually tender, otherworldly account of the Debussy' (Classic FM Magazine)

' 'The Dante Quartet give a full-blooded performance, with no false delicacy ... The transition to the central section of the scherzo in Ravel's quartet fades to a whisper, as preparation for the sublime dream-world ahead' (BBC Music Magazine)

'You will experience in the group's playing some of the most exquisite gradations between dynamic markings you've ever heard... That is just one example among hundreds that make this the most expressive reading I've ever heard... an award-deserving recording... This receives the highest recommendation possible' (Fanfare, USA)

'This is magical wonderland music, with the many available versions no competition' (Liverpool Daily Post)

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Potton Hall, Suffolk, England (03/01/2009-03/03/2009).



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Works Details

>Debussy, Claude : Quartet for Strings in G minor, Op. 10
  • Notes: Potton Hall, Suffolk, England (03/01/2009-03/03/2009)
  • Running Time: 24 min. 21 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Chamber Music
  • Written: 1893

>Ravel, Maurice : Sonata for Violin and Piano in G major
  • Performers: Simon Crawford-Phillips (Piano); Krysia Osostowicz (Violin)
  • Notes: Potton Hall, Suffolk, England (03/01/2009-03/03/2009)
  • Running Time: 17 min. 50 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1923-1927

>Ravel, Maurice : Quartet for Strings in F major
  • Notes: Potton Hall, Suffolk, England (03/01/2009-03/03/2009)
  • Running Time: 29 min. 27 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Chamber Music
  • Written: 1902-1903