Debussy - Ravel - Webern: String Quartets
Released in 1994, this album provides an interesting snapshot of differing compositional styles of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Although often referred to as early Impressionists, Debussy and Ravel both rejected the label. Debussy’s Quartet (1893) and Ravel’s (1903) were the only string quartets either man composed. Ravel’s was modeled on Debussy’s, although their musical ideas have little in common, though both opted for second movements with pizzicato (or plucked strings) to the fore. In contrast to the Romantic or Impressionist nature of these French works, Webern’s String Quartet (1936) is a serial composition based on a note row. It premiered in the US in 1938 and was the last piece of chamber music Webern published before his death in 1945. The Hagen Quartet play all three pieces with a lovely sympathy for their different moods and colors.