Haydn String Quartet in C, Op. 54 No. 2; Ravel String Quartet in F; Menuet sur le nom d’Haydn (arr. Snyder); Menuet antique (arr. Snyder); Menuet in C sharp minor (arr. Snyder); Stravinsky Concertino
Orchid Classics ORC100085 63:02 mins
Ravel’s tantalising stylistic confluence of ancient and modern comes bubbling to the surface in the Tesla Quartet’s captivating account of his only String Quartet. Whilst lacking nothing in espressivo intensity and Gallic charm – those magical opening phrases are experienced as a series of tender musical pulsations – the Tesla ensure that Ravel’s flights of textural ingenuity are also subtly highlighted. Everything appears to emerge from a heat-haze, with plenty of flesh on the Assez vif’s pizzicatos, exquisite tremolandos that insinuate the pictorial and a slight cushioning of the finale’s more eruptive climaxes, captured in exemplary sound by technical dream-team Andrew Keener and Simon Eadon. Providing the icing on the cake are three Ravel minuet bonuses, expertly arranged by the quartet’s leader Ross Snyder.
The Tesla prove equally persuasive in the second of Haydn’s Op. 54 quartets, successfully avoiding the potential interpretative pitfalls of over-projecting Haydn’s avuncular creative personality or falling back on all-purpose, neat-and-tidy classicism. Everything appears to evolve naturally out of what has gone before with a radiant warmth and affection that proves increasingly contagious on repeated listening. They even appear to have found a way of making the motoric impulses of Stravinsky’s 1920 Concertino sound imposingly congenial. An outstanding recording debut.