Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Guy Ropartz - String Quartet No. 1; Fantaisie brève (Quatuor Stanislas)


Composer: Guy Ropartz
  1. String Quartet No. 1 in G minor: I. Lent - Modérément animé
  2. String Quartet No. 1 in G minor: II. Vif
  3. String Quartet No. 1 in G minor: III. Assez lent
  4. String Quartet No. 1 in G minor: IV. Vif et animé
  5. Fantaisie brève, sur un thème unique sur le nom d’Albéric Magnard: I. Prélude
  6. Fantaisie brève, sur un thème unique sur le nom d’Albéric Magnard: II. Fugue
  7. Fantaisie brève, sur un thème unique sur le nom d’Albéric Magnard: III. Sérénade
  8. Fantaisie brève, sur un thème unique sur le nom d’Albéric Magnard: IV. Finale

Quatuor Stanislas
Laurent Causse, violin
Bertrand Menut, violin
Paul Fenton, viola
Jean de Spengler, cello

Date: 2007
Label: Timpani



Uniquely the Timpani catalogue carries ten discs devoted exclusively to Ropartz. By the end of 2009, with the release of Leng-Lessing's version of the Third Symphony it will be eleven. Four discs are devoted to Ropartz's chamber music including three dedicated to the complete string quartets: 2 and 3 (1C1099); 4, 5  and 6 (1C1115).

The present disc completes the quartet cycle with two efforts from 1892-93 when the composer was only 28-29. As the fulsome notes by Mathieu Ferey and Benoît Menut point out, the First Quartet was written only a few years after Franck's sole quartet and d'Indy's First Quartet. The Ropartz is dedicated to d'Indy. It is a big ebullient work, bursting with invention yet far from iconoclastic. It stands somewhere between Franck, Beethoven and folk-nationalism. There is a very moving and inward Assez lent (III) and a wildly lurching mood-tornado of a finale - almost a Gallic Francesca da Rimini.  The Stanislas has a piercing, resinous and poignant sound rather than anything luxuriant. This seems to suit the music very well. The Fantaisie Breve is also in four movements but much shorter. They are, by turns, tragic and torpid, Bachian fugal-prayerful, bucolically pleasant with the suggestion of Dumka and finally a bustling and ultimately thoughtful finale. The theme is bound up in the name of the composer Albéric Magnard who was as close to and as trusted by Ropartz as Holst was to and by Vaughan Williams.   Both works are so lavishly open-handed with invention that one is reminded of the young Sibelius for whom ideas sprang forward in almost frightening profusion. 
The last and pleasing piece in the jigsaw of Ropartz's string quartets.

-- Rob Barnett, MusicWeb International

More review:


Guy Ropartz (June 15, 1864 – November 22, 1955) was a French composer and conductor. His compositions included five symphonies, three violin sonatas, cello sonatas, six string quartets, a piano trio and string trio (both in A minor), stage works, a number of choral works and other music including a Prélude, Marine et Chansons for flute, harp and string trio, often alluding to his Breton heritage. He self-identified as a Celtic Breton. His musical style was influenced by Claude Debussy and César Franck. Ropartz was also a writer of literary works, notably poetry.


Founded in 1984, the Stanislas Quartet was named after Stanislas Lescinsky, King of Poland and the last Duke of Lorraine, who made Nancy his renowned capital. Alone or as part of a larger group, the Stanislas Quartet and Ensemble became one of the more interesting French ensembles, notable for the quality of their interpretations as well as the originality of programming. Each year, they have a concerts-series in Nancy with  an enthusiastic and ever increasing public. The Stanislas Ensemble and Quartet has already recorded  over twenty  compact discs, warmly received by international critics.


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