Magazine article Gramophone

Franck: String Quartet

Magazine article Gramophone

Franck: String Quartet

Article excerpt

[G]

Franck

String Quartet. Piano Quintet, Op 14 (a)

(a) Paavali Jumppanenpf Danel Quartet

CPO (F) CP0555 088-2 (77' * DDD)

These performances by the Quatuor Danel are deftly poised on a knife's edge between sensuousness and rigour, as the most memorable interpretations of Franck's music so often are (cf Monteux's Chicago recording of the D minor Symphony). Indeed, something about the opening few minutes of the String Quartet--the incisive attacks and sonorous yet sinewy tone reminds me of the the Borodin Quartet in its 1960s line-up with Dubinsky, Alexandrov, Shebalin and Berlinsky. There's the Danel's careful attention to texture, too: note the way the three lower strings neatly glue their chords together so that every note is sustained for its full value, just the way Franck asked for it in marking the passage molto sostenuto.

Such textual fidelity is laudable, of course; it's the vivid characterisations that makes these performances extraordinary. In the first movement alone, for example, there's the sudden, pensive melancholy of the fugal passage at 6'10"; the whispered confessional at lO'Ol"; and the heartrendingly tender coda at 11 '40". …

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