25.12 / mo / 19:00—20:00

MusicAeterna Orchestra Soloists | Debussy and Ravel Quartets

Private Philharmonic Triumph

Olga Volkova – first violin
Ivan Subbotkin – second violin
Nail Bakiev – viola
Miriam Prandi – cello 

On the programme:
Claude Debussy (1862–1918)
String Quartet in G Minor, Op. 10 (1893)
Animé et très décidé
Assez vif et bien rythmé
Andantino, doucement expressif
Très modéré — En animant peu à peu — Très mouvementé et avec passion

Maurice Ravel (1875–1937)
String Quartet in F Major (1903)
Allegro moderato – très doux
Assez vif – très rythmé
Très lent
Vif et agité

The chamber programme of the musicAeterna Orchestra soloists will feature two rarely performed quartets in which impressionist composers experiment in genre that is not typical of them.

Debussy and Ravel, the masters of colourful orchestral and piano canvases, wrote only one quartet each. Debussy turned to this genre at the age of 30 under the impression of meeting the Belgian virtuoso violinist Eugène Ysaÿe, to whom he dedicated the quartet. The composer created the piece around the time of working on his orchestral Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun, which became a kind of manifesto of musical impressionism. At the same time, the quartet shows only some signs of the new style. Being, probably, the only work of Debussy in the traditional four-part form, it is based on the late Romantic language and continues the quartet traditions of Frank and Brahms. The tempo designations of the parts include the words 'with enthusiasm' and 'with passion', uncharacteristic of Debussy's subsequent work. Critics, the composer's contemporaries, found in the quartet similarities with 'new Russian music', referring to Tchaikovsky. However, Paul Dukas wrote: 'Debussy’s String Quartet bears all the hallmarks of his style <...> Debussy shows an especial preference for sequences of sonorous chords and for dissonances, which although these are never harsh. <…> [His] melody flows as though gliding over a luxurious, artistically designed and wonderfully coloured carpet, from which all shrill and jarring tones have been banished.'

Maurice Ravel wrote his quartet while studying at the conservatory in the class of Gabriel Fauré, hoping to receive the Rome Prize for it, which would allow him to work in Italy. The examiners did not appreciate the works, but the quartet was a great success at the public premiere. To a certain extent, Ravel followed Debussy's patterns (and the senior colleague spoke very favourably about the quartet presented to him), namely, the four-part form, the classical structure, fresh and unusual techniques of sound production, and a special unity of instruments. It has been written about Ravel's composition: 'The quartet can be considered as a unique instrument of sixteen strings awakened by one bow.' The same characteristic could be attributed to Claude Debussy's quartet, written ten years earlier.