for Pleasure is getting hold of some great digital material
nowadays to supplement the trusty analogue back catalogue.
Chilingirian Quartet is one of the best British quartets of the
last 30 years or so. They have recorded fairly extensively for
British labels, including CRD, Chandos and Hyperion. Their EMI
discography is not huge, but it includes these 1983 performances
of the Debussy and Ravel quartets as a foretaste of their later
successes for Hyperion with Chausson and D'Indy,
the Debussy and the Ravel quartets receive bold, strong readings
from the Chilingirians. The Debussy is especially ardent and
virile, not at all the delicate wash you may expect. There is
tenderness in the slow movement though. Philip De Groote's gutsy
cello is especially distinctive, a rock solid voice that underpins
Ravel receives a more conventional reading. The famous pizzicato
second movement is light and sprightly, with strong rhythmic
pointing. Levon Chilingirian's tone in the big sweeping violin
statement in this movement is not as sweet as some, but his
intensity is winning. Tempi are well chosen throughout and ensemble
performances compare well with my reference recording from the
Alban Berg Quartet, also on EMI.
The Chilingirians do not match their Austrian colleagues in
sheen and sheer dazzle, but they do not aim to. Their readings
of these quartets are more red-blooded, making these performances
excellent alternative accounts for the library, though they
remain idiomatic enough to be a good recommendation for new
for Pleasure has taken these excellent performances, and framed
them with some complementary tracks from the same composers.
The Debussy quartet is preceded by a tiny work for flute. Debussy
wrote Syrinx as incidental music to Psyché, a
play by Gabriel Mourey. Designed to evoke Pan's flute, it receives
a strong rather than a languid performance from Philippa Davies.
the other end of the disc comes the glitter and shimmer of Ravel's
Introduction and Allegro. At its heart this is a showpiece
for harp and Markus Klinko and his six supporting artists from
the Orchestre de l'Opéra de Paris Bastille do not disappoint.
the Classics for Pleasure price, this is a bargain.