Well known for the intensity and profundity of its interpretations, the Quatuor Danel has made a name for itself on the international classical scene (winning such awards as the Diapason d’Or, Choc du Monde de la Musique, and CD of the Month in BBC Music Magazine) in the great cycles that form the basis of the quartet literature, from Haydn, Beethoven and Schubert to Weinberg. Since Russian composers occupy a key position in the Danels’ repertory, it was logical for them to champion the quartets of Shostakovich by recording them complete in 2005. Today Alpha Classics reissues this boxed set, which is among the reference recordings of the composer’s works.
The reissue of keyboardist Claude Bolling's recordings of the 1960s may prompt a positive reevaluation of his contributions. Bolling has been known, at least outside France, mostly for the flute-and-piano works he composed for Jean-Pierre Rampal; his recordings with Rampal hit a certain popular groove and stuck with the formula. They were undeniably appealing in a simple way, but they became fatally overexposed. Bolling's earlier recordings reveal more imagination in his treatment of the relationship between jazz and classical music. Take for example this 1965 album, recorded in Paris. It's one of the few successful jazz treatments of Mozart, who is notoriously resistant to jazz treatment. The difficulty comes as a result of Mozart's reliance on harmonic rhythm, or the speed of the rate of change of the harmonies in the music. This feature seems impossible to capture in jazz, which heavily relies on regular chord changes, but Bolling's solutions here, making use of a classic jazz sextet, are brilliantly imaginative.
After its first two recordings, devoted to Schubert then Beethoven, highly praised and recommended by the critics (both ffff in Télérama, recommended by The Strad…), this eclectic, innovative quartet is now celebrating its tenth anniversary by tackling the string quintets of Mozart and Brahms. These two scores, representative of the culmination of a career in the case of Brahms and, for Mozart, the end of a life, are sustained by vigorous inspiration and frothing energy.
Czech quarter: two classics, a rarity and a treasure as dear to Nicolas Derny as to Georges Zeisel: the terrible Quartet "From my life" by young Vlach, LP Electrola unpublished on CD.
Alexandre Boely (1785-1858) was a French organist, pianist, and composer. Born into a musical family that worked in Paris and Versailles, he apparently never got the classical style out of his blood, even as Romantic music overtook Europe. His comparatively conservative tastes and distain for mainstream trends seems to have hindered his career and and relegated him to obscurity. However, one thing is certain from this recording, the man knew how to write interesting and even stirring chamber music.
With the rise of Romanticism, the topics of opera changed from the mythological fantasy of Baroque operas to the fairytale fantasy which graced the French stage long before Romanticism reached other European nations. Initiated by the Palazzetto Bru Zane, this project is built like a universal fairytale, inspired by Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Bluebeard, and others, as set to music by French composers of the Romantic period, alternating between famous composers such as Offenbach and Rossini and little known masters like Viardot, Silver, and Isouard. This imaginary opera was conceived and transcribed by Alexandre Dratwicki for piano quartet and two singers- a soprano and a mezzo, the roles of which are performed here by Jodie Devos and Caroline Meng.