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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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Chamber Music - Released November 30, 2007 | Cypres

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

Booklet
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Classical - Released September 7, 2009 | 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.
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Chamber Music - Released January 1, 1997 | naïve classique

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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.
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Quartets - Released January 1, 2008 | CPO

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Classical - Released November 1, 2009 | CPO

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Classical - Released January 1, 2000 | Megadisc Classics

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Classical - Released July 10, 2015 | Metier

Hi-Res Booklet
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Chamber Music - Released June 1, 2005 | Cypres

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Classical - Released June 1, 2000 | Cypres

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Classical - Released December 5, 1994 | Megadisc Classics

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Classical - Released April 12, 2002 | Cypres

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Classical - Released March 28, 2017 | Nettwerk Records

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Chamber Music - Released January 1, 2008 | CPO

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Chamber Music - Released January 1, 2008 | CPO