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06-02-2009 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Paul S
San Diego, California, USA
Posts 2,052
Joined on 10-12-2006

Post #: 1
Post ID: 10693
Reply to: 10693
Ravel's String Quartet; Remarkable!
fiogf49gjkf0d
Last night as I prepared to go to sleep, I double-checked the volume setting on the small clock radio I keep bedside.  It is actually a pretty cool little radio (Kaito KA1107), and I have intended for some time to get better headphones or earbuds for it, since its built-in speaker is so tiny, and of course it needs 2 channels to deliver stereo.

Anyway, as I switched on the radio, I was immediately smitten by a most amazing performance of a composition I did not know: Ravel's String Quartet, played here by the Cleveland Quartet.  I quickly found and put on my cheap earbuds then lay back to absorb as much as I could.

What a piece!  I forgot all about sleep and stayed awake and alert while I listened to all of it; and when it was over I lay awake for quite a while longer, thinking about it.

No doubt I am odd man out here, as others could not have overlooked this gem as I have done, up to now!

Paul S
06-21-2009 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,283
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 2
Post ID: 10867
Reply to: 10693
Ravel Trio....
fiogf49gjkf0d

Yep, it is a wonderful work. I heard it but kind of overlooked it but your mentioning made me to review my attention. BTW, Ravel has even greater work: The Trio for piano, violin and cello is.  I juts was playing my live recording  from WGBH’s studio and they played the whole work

http://www.bostontrio.com/

A truly great trio particularly for the weather that we have today in Boston. If you can play 88/24 then I can upload the recording for you.

The Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
06-21-2009 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Paul S
San Diego, California, USA
Posts 2,052
Joined on 10-12-2006

Post #: 3
Post ID: 10872
Reply to: 10867
Stone-age Man vs. Modern Music
fiogf49gjkf0d
Romy, thanks for the tip.  One of the great joys in my life is being bowled over by a work and/or performance with which I am not familiar, such as the Cleveland's Ravel Quartet in F.  I will have to find a CD or LP of the Boston's Ravel Trio, or maybe I can find a more rinky-dink format, since I still have not figured out the computer music yet, apart from Flash Player, etc.  And since I have gone from volunteering to working full time for a non-profit, it looks like my system will be pretty much frozen for the foreseeable future.  But based on the considerable worth of the Quartet in F, I will make every effort to hear Ravel's "even greater work"!

I can't help but wonder how the young Ravel even came up with this stuff!  I can understand that the Quartet drew mixed, mostly negative reviews in its day, as it was obviously "ahead of its time".  But one would think it would be even popular today.  Oh, well, I have it now!

Best regards,
Paul S



06-26-2009 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,283
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 4
Post ID: 10924
Reply to: 10693
Harlem Quartet plays Ravel’s String Quartet in F
fiogf49gjkf0d

A few days back the Harlem Quartet broadcasted LIVE their meeting in WGBH's Fraser Performance Studio

http://www.harlemquartet.org/

Here is the live mp3 podcast of the event. Envy people, we have in Boston 4 times per week like this….

http://streams.wgbh.org/online/play.php?xml=clas/cmd090624harlem.xml&template=wgbh_audio

It was an interesting take…

The Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
06-27-2009 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Paul S
San Diego, California, USA
Posts 2,052
Joined on 10-12-2006

Post #: 5
Post ID: 10926
Reply to: 10924
It's Not That I'm Not Happy For You...
fiogf49gjkf0d

Well, I could take another chance to bitch about San Diego programming and the "reception-less" Black Hole I now live in, but instead I will say that I have mixed feelings about "pop" combos "popularizing"  "classical" music.  And since the work itself is so great, I would wish for anyone getting their cherry popped on this work that they hear instead the Cleveland or older Juilliard 4-tets; playing truly worthy of the score.

Ironic, but as I grow older I am both more tolerant and less prone to get confused about what really moves me than I was even a few years back.  I am actually warmed by good local-level efforts, if not truly smitten by them.

While I would absolutely go out of my way to hear this Harlem version live, I would not seek out and spring for the original recording, or pay big bucks to get up close.

Of course, I probably wouldn't have said anything at all if I weren't actually envious of Boston's musical options...

Best regards,
Paul S

06-27-2009 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Paul S
San Diego, California, USA
Posts 2,052
Joined on 10-12-2006

Post #: 6
Post ID: 10932
Reply to: 10926
Cleveland vs. Juilliard: La Tache vs. DRC?
fiogf49gjkf0d
I managed to get a hold of a decent demo copy of RCA LSC-2413 (stereo), which features the 1960 iteration of the Juilliard Quartet playing the perennially-conjoined Ravel and Debussy String Quartets.  Despite the Juilliard's reputation of fast play, i would not cite this as the major difference between the performances.  Rather, I would note what I will at first call simply "texture" as the major difference.

The Cleveland group makes fuller use of two elements that the Juilliard plays down (or does not play up), namely bass and "division".  While Juilliard's Robert Mann (1st violin) plays the most consistent lines through their performances, cellist Claus Adam is barely perceptible at times.  In stark contrast, Cleveland's Paul Katz uses his very deep and raspy cello to great advantage to skitter around down there while the ensemble plays "Who's got the button?" with the lines, and the entire Cleveland ensemble is pitched considerably lower; in fact, unusually so.

Likewise with dynamics.  Juilliard is more subtle.  Their longer strokes do not exactly float, but they do tend to "envelop" the texture more than the Cleveland, who are downright brash at times, although never "out of control" or in over their heads.  And it is the same with the plucked sections.

All in all, I like very much both versions, but I would have to give a strong nod to the instruments used by the Cleveland, which I just found out were Paganini's own Stradivari, on loan from the Corcoran Gallery.  And actually, this winds up explaining a lot, I think.

Back to a greenhorn remark I made a couple of posts up the thread, "Where did the young Ravel get this stuff?".  Well, just maybe he got it from Debusy, whose string quartet preceded Ravel's by 10 years.  The simpler melodic/rhythmic structure and "fuzzier" tableau of Debussy's work is perhaps less "distinctive" today.  But it certainly better illustrates the evolution of the "genre", and it very certainly sheds a good deal of light on Ravel's similar work.

Paul S
06-28-2009 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,283
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 7
Post ID: 10940
Reply to: 10926
It's elemental, Watson
fiogf49gjkf0d
 Paul S wrote:
While I would absolutely go out of my way to hear this Harlem version live, I would not seek out and spring for the original recording, or pay big bucks to get up close.
 You do not need to pay “big bucks” or “go out of your way”. The link that I posted above has mp3 podcast of the entire Harlem’s 1 hour and if you like what they did I have 88/24 version.
 
The Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
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