From the Rhône to the Seine
String Quartet in F major
String Quartet in G minor op. 10
In homage to the 85th anniversary of the death of Maurice Ravel
and the 160th anniversary of the birth of Claude Debussy
It is often said that the string quartet is one of the most demanding forms of classical music. It is often approached by composers in mastery of their abilities and at the height of their creative careers. Debussy and Ravel, however, are exceptions to the rule, each writing a masterpiece in the excitement of their early years.
A contemporary of the Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune, Debussy's Quartet in G minor, Op. 10 borrows the cyclical form from César Franck while at the same time being attentive to the most diverse influences, which he assimilates perfectly. What might appear to be a composite is actually a miracle of balance and poetry.
When the young Ravel presented his Quartet in F major to the elder Debussy, the latter said to him: "In the name of the gods of music and in my name, don't touch your Quartet". Debussy had immediately recognised the extreme refinement of Ravel's language with its unique blend of classicism and novelty. The miracle of Ravel's Quartet never ceases to enchant us.