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Fauré; Magnard - String Quartets

Ysa e Quartet , Alberic Magnard , Gabriel Fauré Audio CD

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1. String Quartet, Op. 16, in E Minor - Quatuor Ysaye
2. String Quartet, Op. 121, in E Minor - Quatuor Ysaye

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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rare French Art!... 15 Feb 2007
By Good-Bye to All That - Published on Amazon.com
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Albéric Magnard's father was editor of Le Figaro (the French daily newspaper roughly equivalent to The Wall Street Journal) during the important period of the last quarter of the Nineteenth Century.
As such, Magnard fils was educated in a rich environment of culture, literature, and ideas, thereby inculcating in him a serious and sober mind of immense gravitas which is explicitly reflected in his art.

Magnard's e-minor String Quartet of 1903 perfectly represents its author's austere and noble ethos.

Magnard's uttrance inflects the Beethovenian vein refracted through the prism of hyper-Romanticism. He wrote five major chamber works, and the Quartet holds an important place in his oeuvre.
It's in four movements and runs approximately :40mins.:
(I)-by turns hysterical, ethereal, and lugubrious, invokes the urgency of Brahms' c-minor Quartet and Schönberg's d-minor Quartet;
(II)-ebullient waltz-like episodes with tasty pizzicato and overall light string writing;
(III)-obliquely lyrical in the early-Schönbergian vein;
(IV)-triumphant, even sprightly, ending lightly with an affirmative note.

Bonus disc also features Faure's airy SQ--the epitome of Parnassian clarity and balance.

Magnard was truly a visionary and talented musician who, had he lived a little longer, would now be considered one of France's greatest artists--and thereby one of Western civilization's great artists.

His demise was absolutely dramatic as his art.
Versions differ slightly, but it seems fairly certain that in the first month of the European General War, just days before the decisive Battle of the Marne (9-15 Sept. 1914), Magnard patriotically assumed the rôle of franc-tireur, shooting with his rabbit-gun at some Germans on his estate north of Paris, and as a result was burnt to death inside his own home (3 Sept. 1914).
Magnard: Symphonies 1-4
Albéric Magnard: Symphonies Nos. 3 & 4
Alberic Magnard: Sonate pour Violon et Piano, op. 13/Trois Pieces pour Piano, op. 1/En Dieu mon Esperance
Albéric Magnard, Gabriel Fauré: String Quartets
Alberic Magnard | Guillaume Lekeu: Violin Sonatas
Caplet/Magnard: Wind Quintets
Chausson: String Quartets; Roussel: String Quartets [United Kingdom]
Piano Quintet in F Min / Complete String Quartets (1, 2, 3)
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A magnificent quartet 27 Jan 2011
By M. Servetus - Published on Amazon.com
One can spend a lifetime attending concerts without ever encountering a symphony by Magnard; that may be forgivable, as the cost of a symphony concert is such, that predictable programs seem to be required to attract the large audiences that will pay for at least a portion of the salaries of musicians, not to mention the inflated fees of soloists and conductors. What is unforgivable is that chamber music concerts are generally as unimaginative as symphonic ones. Yes, Beethoven and Mozart and Schubert are gods, but shouldn't it be possible to be able to listen in a concert hall to chamber works such as Magnard's extraordinary quartet? Written a couple of decades after Hugo Wolf's only quartet and just a few years before Schoenberg's op. 7, Magnard's shares the complexity, the passionate nature, the intricacy of those works, as well as of early-late Beethoven, that is, of quartets opp. 127 and 132. The members of the Quatuor Ysaye play with commitment and impecable technique. To repeat: this is an extraordinary piece; this is, in fact, a recording that will not disappoint anyone interested in late 19th and early 20th century music.

I have not listened to the recordig by the Artis Quartet, but I hope that just as they reissued the BIS recording of the Magnard symphonies conducted by Thomas Sanderling, Brilliant Classics will one day reissue the Magnard chamber music compilation issued in 4 CDs by Accord. The Artis, I may add, has made splendid recordings of Wolf and Karl Weigl, among others.
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