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Sound Escapes - String Quartets of Debussy, Ravel & Thomas Adès (b.1971) / Signum Quartett

Album Summary

>Debussy, Claude : Quartet for Strings in G minor, Op. 10
>Adès, Thomas : Arcadiana, for string quartet, Op. 12
>Ravel, Maurice : Quartet for Strings in F major
Composers
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Notes & Reviews:

It is a plea for the direct experience of a music that had become fed up with the constraints of traditional forms. Debussy's music especially reveals characteristics that justifiably move it into the proximity of Impressionist painting, as it produces moving paintings, landscapes of sound, soundscapes in the narrowest sense of the word that can draw the listener into the middle of the picture. Maurice Ravel's String Quartet, completed in 1903, had to be and was compared with Debussy's quartet. At the same time, it can be seen here how Ravel's musical diction - based on Debussy's - prepared the way for French Modernism. Like only few of his colleagues, the Briton Thomas Adès, born in 1971, is capable of fusing traditional elements from music history, including obvious references to existing compositions, with modern sound production into an individual style appealing directly to the listener.

American Record Guide, September/October 2015
The Signum Quartet shows they are capable of a very beautiful sound. The quartets of Debussy and Ravel are played with warmth and sensitivity, as well as a strong sense of line. Stephen Estep notes in Signum's album of Bartok, Berg, and Schnittke are both fine readings. My favorites are the Guarneri for Debussy (see overview, Sept/Oct 1997) and Jupiter for Ravel (Mar/Apr 2014).

Thomas Ades was born in 1971, six days before me. His seven-movement Arcadiana was written in 1994, and for such a youthful work it is very impressive. He employs a varied palette of harmonic and instrumental color, including dense chromaticism, atonality, impressionist harmony, and extended techniques, especially glissandos and sul ponticello. He makes use of quotation, sometimes subtle, sometimes direct. Often these elements occur in the form of a collage, recalling the postmodernism of 20 years ago. I was captivated each time, always noticing something new and always drawn in emotionally. It's good.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Klaus-von-Bismarck-Saal, Köln (12/02/2013-12/13/2013).



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Works Details

>Debussy, Claude : Quartet for Strings in G minor, Op. 10
  • Notes: Klaus-von-Bismarck-Saal, Köln (12/02/2013-12/13/2013)
  • Running Time: 24 min. 3 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Chamber Music
  • Written: 1893

>Adès, Thomas : Arcadiana, for string quartet, Op. 12
  • Notes: Klaus-von-Bismarck-Saal, Köln (12/02/2013-12/13/2013)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 36 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Form: Chamber Music
  • Written: 1994

>Ravel, Maurice : Quartet for Strings in F major
  • Notes: Klaus-von-Bismarck-Saal, Köln (12/02/2013-12/13/2013)
  • Running Time: 25 min. 38 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Chamber Music
  • Written: 1902-1903