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Chamber Music - Released September 6, 2019 | CPO

Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Choc de Classica
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Chamber Music - Released March 23, 2018 | CPO

Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Gramophone Editor's Choice
French music has often been enriched by musicians from abroad who have breathed new life into national styles, like the Florentine Jean-Baptiste Lully (Giovanni-Battista Lulli, in fact) who invented musical tragedy, the grand motet or the French overture; or indeed César Franck, the Liégeois to whom France owes the renewal of the symphony and of chamber music, and who fostered a whole school of young French musicians. César Franck's String Quartet in D Major, one of his last works, is the first great string quartet of the modern French school, and it opened the way for Debussy and Ravel. First performed in 1890 to a very enthusiastic reception at the Société Nationale de Musique, today it is somewhat overlooked by quartet musicians, although no-one can really say why, because it is a strong piece which fits very well as part of the repertoire. Specialising in the Russian repertoire (Shostakovitch, Weinberg) and having performed the débuts of several contemporary works (Greif, Mantovani and Rihm) the Danel Quartet has worked with the Amadeus and Borodin Quartets. Thanks to a very colourful expressive range, and deeply subtle nuances, the musicians of the quartet are able to find here both the elegiac and the tragic within Franck's two works. On the famous Quintet in F Minor, which is more often recorded, Finnish pianist Paavali Jumppanen melds perfectly into the ensemble, as part of a very rewarding dialogue. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Quartets - Released September 6, 2011 | CPO

Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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Classical - Released November 30, 2007 | Cypres

Distinctions Choc du Monde de la Musique
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Classical - Released January 1, 2005 | Alpha

Booklet
There's a lot to be said for chronological order, to wit, it's instantly comprehensible. Shostakovich, for example, composed his 15 string quartets in chronological order starting with the youthful and excited First Quartet and ending with his aged and just about dead Quartet No. 15. And while it may be interesting to hear a set of the complete quartets in which chronology is disregarded, the listener is necessarily left looking for another comprehensible order. In this set of the complete quartets by the Quatuor Danel, the works appear in no particular order. Disc three, for example, opens with the penultimate and almost fatal Quartet No. 14, follows with the autobiographical and almost suicidal Quartet No. 8, and ends with the maniacal and almost atonal Quartet No. 12, an order that defies chronology along with comprehensibility. In lieu of an overriding order, the Quatuor Danel's sequence forces the listener to attend each performance individually. This is not altogether a good thing because there's also a lot to be said for ethnicity. While the Franco-German Quatuor Danel was trained by the Borodin Quartet in the secrets of Shostakovich quartet playing, it is still a quite distinctly Gallic-sounding ensemble. There is a nimbleness to its tone and a weightlessness to its sonorities, a sense of tart sweetness in its lyricism, and a touch of dry irony in its phrasing that relocates these truly, deeply, profoundly Soviet works smack dab in the middle of Europe. For those used to the extremely expressive and passionately pessimistic Borodin Quartet performances, the Quatuor Danel's performances may seem decidedly lightweight. For those looking for an alternative to excruciating existential agony, however, the Quatuor Danel's performances are an interesting alternative way to hear Shostakovich. Fuga Libera's sound is detailed, but a bit dim and a tad gray. © TiVo
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Classical - Released January 1, 2005 | Fuga Libera

There's a lot to be said for chronological order, to wit, it's instantly comprehensible. Shostakovich, for example, composed his 15 string quartets in chronological order starting with the youthful and excited First Quartet and ending with his aged and just about dead Quartet No. 15. And while it may be interesting to hear a set of the complete quartets in which chronology is disregarded, the listener is necessarily left looking for another comprehensible order. In this set of the complete quartets by the Quatuor Danel, the works appear in no particular order. Disc three, for example, opens with the penultimate and almost fatal Quartet No. 14, follows with the autobiographical and almost suicidal Quartet No. 8, and ends with the maniacal and almost atonal Quartet No. 12, an order that defies chronology along with comprehensibility. In lieu of an overriding order, the Quatuor Danel's sequence forces the listener to attend each performance individually. This is not altogether a good thing because there's also a lot to be said for ethnicity. While the Franco-German Quatuor Danel was trained by the Borodin Quartet in the secrets of Shostakovich quartet playing, it is still a quite distinctly Gallic-sounding ensemble. There is a nimbleness to its tone and a weightlessness to its sonorities, a sense of tart sweetness in its lyricism, and a touch of dry irony in its phrasing that relocates these truly, deeply, profoundly Soviet works smack dab in the middle of Europe. For those used to the extremely expressive and passionately pessimistic Borodin Quartet performances, the Quatuor Danel's performances may seem decidedly lightweight. For those looking for an alternative to excruciating existential agony, however, the Quatuor Danel's performances are an interesting alternative way to hear Shostakovich. Fuga Libera's sound is detailed, but a bit dim and a tad gray. © TiVo
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Chamber Music - Released November 1, 2009 | CPO

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Chamber Music - Released January 1, 2008 | CPO

This release is the fourth in a series devoted to the complete string quartets of Mieczyslaw Weinberg, a Polish-born Jew who fled the Nazis in 1939. He landed in Minsk, then in Tashkent, then finally in Moscow, where he found himself in danger once again from the aging Stalin's anti-Jewish purges. His life was probably saved by an appeal from Shostakovich, who had become his mentor. Weinberg is usually classed as a follower of Shostakovich, and his music was until recently little heard in the West; it has now been championed by the Quatuor Danel, a Russian group resident in Britain. Annotator David Fanning (the notes are given in German, English, and French) makes a good case that the influence, in the realm of the string quartet at least, went from Weinberg to Shostakovich rather than the other way around, and Shostakovich's attitude toward Weinberg seems to have been one of genuine admiration. At any rate, as the music of Eastern Europe and Russia is recognized for its engagement with the currents of world history rather than suffering devaluation from self-serving modernism, Weinberg deserves another look. These quartets do inhabit the same stylistic universe as those of Shostakovich, but Weinberg was no clone. The most immediately attractive work is the String Quartet No. 5 in B flat major, Op. 27, composed in 1945. By that time Shostakovich had already begun to back off from his edgily humorous early idiom, but Weinberg apparently absorbed it during his first years in the Soviet Union; at the center of the work lies a blistering scherzo that could have come out of one of Shostakovich's stage works of the 1920s. The outer movements are melodic and a bit less dissonant than those of Shostakovich. The String Quartet No. 9 in F sharp minor, Op. 80, is from 1963, with structures that resemble the tight sonata forms of Shostakovich's works of the period. The final String Quartet No. 14, Op. 122, was written after Shostakovich's death. It lacks a key designation and has only metronome markings for tempo indications. It's a gloomy work, tightly constructed, with the dark tone of late Shostakovich much in evidence; one might do better with the range of emotions and literary reference in the works of the master himself here, but there's a lot to chew on in this late quartet. With enthusiastic and plainly lovingly rehearsed performances from the Quatuor Danel and fine sound from Cologne's Studio Stolbergerstraßse, this can be recommended to anyone who likes Shostakovich's quartets or is interested in the general Russian scene. © TiVo
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Quartets - Released January 1, 2007 | CPO

Even though the dominant figures of Soviet music were Dmitry Shostakovich and Sergey Prokofiev, it has become clear that the work of a third composer, Polish-born Mieczyslaw Weinberg, should be ranked as equally significant. His reputation has rapidly increased in the west due to a growing number of major recordings that confirm his standing, and his impressive compositions are valued by some critics as every bit the equal of any of the better-known modernist masterpieces. In light of the renascence of Weinberg's music, CPO has begun a project with the Quatuor Danel to record the 17 string quartets, and this first volume shows promising signs that the whole series will be required listening. The String Quartet No. 4, Op. 20 (1945), was a product of World War II and it reflects the turmoil of the time, while the String Quartet No. 16, Op. 130 (1981), is a brooding, introspective work of Weinberg's late period, comparable in its fatalistic mood to some of Shostakovich's dark explorations. The Quatuor Danel plays with taut muscularity, and the tension of Weinberg's fiercely dissonant counterpoint is sustained in each quartet through the group's controlled energy and penetrating tone. The close miking may make listening a little disagreeable -- especially when the players' breathing is audible -- but the musical value of these performances is high and listeners should be prepared to concentrate on this album without distractions and to face it without concern for comfort: this is bracing music, indeed, but well worth the effort. © TiVo
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Quartets - Released January 1, 2008 | CPO

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Chamber Music - Released January 1, 2006 | CPO

From the 1930s until his death in 1991, Ahmed Adnan Saygun was a significant figure in modern Turkish music. His four string quartets are among his best-known compositions in the West, and they are presented with extraordinary vitality and emotional depth on this 2006 double-disc by the Danel Quartet. Aesthetically, Saygun looked to the ideas and attitudes of Europe, partly in sympathy with Kemal Atatürk's efforts to modernize the culture of the young Republic of Turkey, but also because of his own cosmopolitan inclinations; yet in his practice, Saygun adapted peasant songs and traditional dances as the raw material for his sophisticated chamber music. As a result of his folkloric borrowings, his string quartets strongly resemble Bartók's masterpieces in the genre, particularly for their haunting melodies, bitingly dissonant counterpoint, propulsive rhythms, and irregular meters. However, Saygun's works are not on a par with Bartók's in artistry or originality, and though the music has a seriousness that may recommend it to devotees of modern chamber music, the four essays here are a mixed lot. The String Quartet No. 1, Op. 27 (1947), and the String Quartet No. 2, Op. 35 (1958), are earnest attempts at finding a voice, but they are not fully developed, either as personal statements or cogent musical forms; and the String Quartet No. 4, Op. 77 (1990), is a fragment that offers some worthwhile music, though it feels too directionless and developmentally stymied. The String Quartet No. 3, Op. 43 (1966), is Saygun's finest effort, not only for its virile confidence, vibrant energy, and striking clarity, but also in its surprising array of extended techniques and sparkling colors. Of the four, only this work sustains interest from beginning to end and leaves the listener feeling completely satisfied with the experience. By itself, the String Quartet No. 3 is worth the price of the whole set. CPO's sound is excellent, especially in the separation of the parts and in capturing the Danel Quartet's subtlest nuances of dynamics and tone. © TiVo
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Chamber Music - Released January 1, 2008 | CPO

The music of Mieczyslaw Weinberg, who fled the Nazis and endured persecution from Stalin (although, as annotator David Fanning points out here, he regarded the Red Army as his savior), has increased sharply in popularity. Weinberg is part of Shostakovich's stylistic universe and, although the relationship was never a formal one, said that he regarded himself as Shostakovich's pupil. Yet he was no clone. Jewish motifs play a role in some of his music, and in the string quartets here, especially the String Quartet No. 12, Op. 103, Bartók is as important a model as Shostakovich. Hear the Presto movement of that symphony (track 7), with its motivic cells closely packed around a central note, interspersed with hammered repetitions of a single tone. It's an extraordinary piece, and the multinational Quatuor Danel brings the requisite taut intensity. The other two works are lighter in tone, with the String Quartet No. 17, Op. 146 (composed in 1986), diverging quite a bit from the hopeless jocularity of many of Shostakovich's late pieces. It matches up quite well to the String Quartet No. 2, Op. 3, written in the early months of World War II but seemingly oblivious to the chaos that had erupted all around the composer (by the time he wrote it, he had fled his native Warsaw for Minsk). Weinberg himself seems to have recognized the connection, for he revised the quartet heavily near the end of his life. It begins in an almost neo-classic manner before becoming submerged in contrapuntal complications. Different as they are in mood, all three works are immediately recognizable as the work of the same creative figure, making this a reasonable first pick for those interested in Weinberg's music. Another major plus is the Westdeutscher Rundfunk (West German Radio) engineering for the CPO label, accomplished at the Stolbergstrasse Studio in Cologne, and capturing the physicality of the string quartet without overdoing the non-musical sounds in the least. An excellent conclusion to the Quatuor Danel's Weinberg cycle. © TiVo
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Chamber Music - Released January 1, 1997 | naïve classique

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Classical - Released June 1, 2005 | Cypres

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Chamber Music - Released July 10, 2015 | Metier

Hi-Res Booklet
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Classical - Released December 5, 1994 | Megadisc Classics

Belgian composer Patrick De Clerck likes to begin each new composition "with a clean slate" -- he generally does not rely on realizing old sketches or recycling formal plans and he has openly expressed his disavowal of the self-plagiarism that Alfred Hitchcock pointed out that inevitably leads to what we call "Style." When expert Belgian chamber ensemble Quatuor Danel decided it wanted to record some of the chamber music De Clerck had composed, some adjustments had to be made -- rather than a neat cycle of numbered string quartets such as Bartók or Schoenberg produced, De Clerck offered them a quartet, quintet, trio, and a piece for violin and piano, Già. In keeping with his contrariness in instrumentation, De Clerck's formal development schemes, other than in the case of the single-movement Già, are individual; two of the larger works are stated in five movements and the third in six, some short and some long, and none of them follow typical sonata-allegro-styled models. Curiously, almost in seeming defiance to these carefully contrived layouts, the effect of these pieces is a kind of unanimity of form, as though they were single-movement pieces. While there are occasional outbursts of ire, De Clerck's music is not hostile in tone and it owes nothing to the serial-derived style common to European academies -- it has qualities of mystery, atmosphere and dramatic tension, yet is tempered by a wry sense of humor. It does bear some sympathy toward the Baltic school of holy post-modernists such as Arvo Pärt, and at times the more languid side of the post-romanticism of Sibelius; however, De Clerck's music probes its own depth of expression and gives far more back on its own than it derives from others. De Clerck's music is involving, somewhat quirky, and occasionally joyous in mood; however, for all of its emotional variability it is clearly stated -- textures, while never "minimal," are neither very thick; overall he favors a clean line of argument. Quatuor Danel, joined by pianist Jean-Marie Bardèche in the Pianokwintet, delivers an ideal performance of De Clerck's music, and Megadisc's recording is just right -- intimate and close, with a hint of atmosphere gently applied enough to take the edge off the instruments but not so much that it adds an artificial distance. For those who enjoy high quality contemporary music, Megadisc's Quatuor Danel: Patrick De Clerck should prove highly satisfactory. © TiVo
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Classical - Released June 1, 2000 | Cypres

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Classical - Released January 1, 2000 | Megadisc Classics

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Classical - Released January 1, 1996 | Nettwerk Records