WORKS: String Quartet No. 3; String Quartet No. 4; String Quartet No. 9; String Quartet No. 12
PERFORMER: Véronique Dietschy (soprano)Parisii Quartet
CATALOGUE NO: V 4781
Milhaud may well be our century’s most prolific composer, but he is known for just a fraction of his output. This disc is a real discovery: Milhaud approaches the quartet medium with great imagination, the recording is excellent and the Parisii Quartet plays splendidly.
The Quartet No. 12 (1945) has an immediate appeal, its tender lyricism created in homage to Fauré’s centenary. The music comes vividly to life, from the serene slow movement to the bustling finale. The Quartet No. 4 (1918), composed in Brazil, was among the pieces which linked Milhaud to the light, witty style of Les Six. Yet the central Funèbre movement extends beyond the vivacity of the remainder. The Quartet No. 9 (1935) has a wide-ranging expressive style, and the Parisii’s virtuosity makes it clear that the exuberant finale unifies the whole.
The Quartet No. 3 (1916) is an extraordinary affair, composed in memory of Milhaud’s friend Léo Latil, who had been killed in action. The second of the two elegiac movements features a soprano singing extracts from Latil’s diary, and Véronique Dietschy has the ideal voice. The performance is suitably devotional in its tender restraint. Terry Barfoot