Debussy, Attahir, Ravel
Quatuor Arod face two pinnacles of French string quartet music, and emerge triumphant. The pinpoint pizzicato detail and featherlight textures in the second movement of Ravel’s String Quartet in F Major demonstrate high levels of finesse in the Arod’s playing, and their fiery attack in the hyperactive finale (“Vif et agité”) combines with a rare rhythmic discipline and transparency. The muted introspection in the “Andantino doucement expressif” of Debussy’s String Quartet in G Minor is poetically captured, while the shifting dynamic shadings of the final movement are etched with enviable exactitude. Between these two masterpieces, the Arod include Al’ Asr by the French composer Benjamin Attahir, a 23-minute piece based on verses from the Quran. Its astringent concluding fugue draws a performance of piercing incisiveness from the Arod players, capping this grippingly communicative recital.