Admirers of the string quartets of Gabriel Fauré, Claude Debussy, and Maurice Ravel will be happy to discover the refined string quartets of Charles Koechlin, a contemporary of those composers who wrote in a rather similar vein. These attractive chamber works, like the rest of Koechlin's oeuvre, are quite obscure and had been unduly neglected until the Ardeo Quartet chose to record them for its debut CD on Ar Re-Se. The String Quartet No. 1 in D major, Op. 51, is dated 1911-1913, though it appears to have gestated since 1902, and the String Quartet No. 2, Op. 57, was mostly composed between 1911 and 1916, though its sketches show some material going back to 1909; both works therefore partake of musical styles developed between fin de siècle Impressionism and the later …….Blair Sanderson @ Allmusic.com
Never mind the Symphonie espagnole and Le roi d’Ys, Edouard Lalo is the last of the great unknowns in 19th-century French music. His mature instrumental works combine the wisdom drawn from his professional playing experience with the familiar flair for rhythm and colour. They are likely to transform any opinion you may hold: it isn’t often that the inspiration of Beethoven was so well digested in France. The first two trios don’t really count as mature, and although they contain fine things, especially in the scherzos, their characteristic soul, sweep and dash are often clumsily handled. With No. 3, form and feeling are as one, the first movement’s surges integral to its progress to a hushed end, while the slow movement builds a powerful span from a sustained melody. Between them comes the irresistible piece better known in Lalo’s later arrangement as a Scherzo for orchestra. These performances have the necessary robustness without stinting on delicacy.
A pupil of Tchaikovsky, whom he replaced at the Moscow Conservatory, Sergey Taneyev was a virtuoso pianist and a teacher of Scriabin and Rachmaninov. Although as a composer Taneyev is best known today for his four symphonies, he also composed a sizeable body of chamber music, including six String Quartets. These beautifully crafted works are marked by technical assurance at every turn, as well as dramatic inspiration and intense lyricism. The masterly five-movement Quartet No. 1, in fact Taneyev’s Fifth, includes two notable slow movements, while the lighter Quartet No. 3 features a graceful theme with eight variations, alternately playful and contemplative.
A pupil of Tchaikovsky, who called him the ‘Russian Bach’, Sergey Taneyev is best known today for his four symphonies, although he also composed a sizeable body of chamber music, including nine complete String Quartets. Quartet No. 9 is a memorably melodic work, while the beautifully crafted Quartet No. 6, his last completed quartet, is rather more austere, though marked by a playful Jig, and even more masterful in construction.
"..For those who know and love the orchestral songs of Debussy, Ravel, and Chausson, these songs by Koechlin will provide hours of pleasure. " 4,5/5~AMG
This recording is the World Premiere of Charles Koechlin's Jungle Book and received the Orchestral Gramophone Award and was, memorably, accepted by the son of the composer. Charles Koechlin loved Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book and set different parts of the book to music at various points in his career. The first of these - The Three Poems - bear the titles: Seal Lullaby, Night Song in the Jungle and Song of Kala Nag, with texts from The Jungle Book. The music, scored during 1904 - 04, is exotic and evocative. The lullaby mimics the gently lapping of waves as the soprano and chorus spin a soothing tapestry of sound. The Night-Song in the Jungle had a cadence that suggests movement (sung by the soprano, tenor, baritone and chorus) and is a song of well-wishing to the animals of the night. The Song of Kala Nag is a lament of an elephant that has been tamed for his old life in the jungle, sung by the tenor. The poem describes a night in the year when all of the elephants gather to dance together and, rather than being somber, the music is triumphant as the elephant recounts his past freedom and vows to have it again.
Following the Artemis Quartet‘s prizewinning Beethoven Quartet cycle on Virgin Classics, the Berlin-based ensemble has recorded Schubert’s last three quartets, works that Artemis cellist Eckart Runge praises for both their “incredible simplicity and purity” and their “almost terrifying modernism”. Awarded both Germany‘s prestigious Klassik ECHO award and France’s Grand Prix de l’Académie Charles Cros in 2011 for their Virgin Classics Beethoven cycle, the members of the Artemis Quartet now release an all-Schubert CD. It presents the composer’s final three string quartets: No 13 in A minor, ‘Rosamunde’ (which draws on his incidental music for Helmina von Chezy’s play Rosamunde); No 14 in D minor, ‘Death and the Maiden’ (with its haunting second movement based on his song Der Tod und das Mädchen), and No 15 in G major.
Born into a humble family in 18th century Italy, Pietro Nardini¡¦s talent for violin playing led him to Livorno to study with the celebrated Giuseppe Tartini, where he reportedly became as good a violinist as his teacher. He travelled throughout Europe and was resident musician at several of its major courts ¡V notably Tuscany, where he was Director of Music. Such was his reputation as an extraordinarily expressive technician that he was asked to play in the presence of King Ferdinand and Queen Carolina in Naples as well as Wolfgang and Leopold Mozart, not to mention other celebrities of the age. His string quartets, initially written for the amateurs of the Florentine public, were widely commercial and published all over Europe, and this is reflected in their simplistic nature.
(…) Les Chants de Nectaire is a perfect example of Koechlin's love of monody and of his comprehensive understanding of the possibilities of the flute. The range of the pieces is deceptively wide - from quiet, almost becalmed meditations to furious, abandoned dances in which the metre is ever changing and sometimes non-existent, while the melodies move from modality and diatonic purity to complex chromaticism, to create a flickering patchwork of moods. The technical demands on the player are enormous (not surprisingly this is the first ever recording of the complete cycle) but Pierre-Yves Artaud is one of the world's greatest flautists, and lavishes all his artistry on these haunting miniatures. - Andrew Clements, The Guardian