1886, 1890, 1978, 1980, 1995, 2006, Music

Franck: String Quartet; Violin Sonata (1978, 1995, 2006) by Fitzwilliam Quartet; Pierre Amoyal, Pascal Roge

I am a sucker for a good string quartet and I like to think that this is a very good string quartet. It’s certainly interesting for its era and, though not as ballsy as so many of the great quartets of the early 20th century, I think it would probably bear comparison with other notable quartets of the late 19th century, especially those by composers more established in chamber music. (It seems Franck did not compose a lot of it.)

I am, as always, perplexed by the selection – the piano quintet would make more sense next to the quartet, would it not? – but beggars can’t be choosers and I like both pieces too much to quibble.


String Quartet in D major (1890)

Having listened to it a few times now, this has got to be one of my favourite Romantic string quartets. Particularly the opening poco lento, which is perhaps my favourite opening to a Romantic string quartet ever. It’s been years since I aggressively listened to “classical” music and so it’s been years since I’ve listened to a lot of late Romantic string quartets but, in the moment, this is a masterpiece, and one I would heartily recommend to anyone interested in the form. And I don’t know how big a fan I am of Franck in general.

Sonata in A major for Violin and Piano (1886)

I listened to this again on another album and wrote:

I have heard the Franck sonata before but perhaps didn’t appreciate it enough as it was set next to his String Quartet, which I really like. It really appeals to me because it has a continuity (for lack of a better word) that you don’t necessarily hear in most violin sonatas. I feel like it’s one of those you really, really have to listen to a lot to fully grasp how wonderful it truly is.

I think this is definitely true because next to the String Quartet, which I adore, it just doesn’t move me. But, apparently, freed from that context, I quite liked it. Given that I am currently listening to it after said String Quartet, I’ll err towards my comments from back in whenever.

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