Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Maurice Ravel, Claude Debussy, Joaquin Turina|
The Hollywood String Quartet
Genres: Dance & Electronic, Classical
Listen to Samples
Gorgeous music, beautifully played
Alan | New York, NY | 10/21/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I bought this CD sort of by mistake as a used-CD sale. On the cover I saw "Hollywood String Quartet" and the list of composers. I figured that the Hollywood played the Ravel and Debussy quartets and brief pieces by the other three composers.
When I got the CD home and realized my mistake, I was at first disappointed. But this CD has become a particular favorite. I don't know how I lived for so long with no recording of the Ravel Introduction and Allegro, but I'm very glad to have one now. I'd heard the piece before, of course, and this is a beautiful performance.
And the Debussy Danse Sacree et Danse Profane is such a gorgeous piece. Again, how did I live without this music?
The briefest piece on the CD is the Turina "La Oracion del Torero (The Toreador's Prayer) and it's a lovely miniature, with tender playing from the Hollywood.
The Villa-Lobos quartets are generally fascinating and should be played by more groups. The Sixth is one of the best and the Hollywood brilliantly captures its various moods -- yearning, energetic, astringent, mournful, melancholy, determined.
The Creston quartet is brief, less than 20 minutes. A tense, driven allegro is followed by an alternately playful and slightly spooky scherzo. A hushed, tender, exquisite slow movement is followed by a grand yet playful fugue. This piece really blows me away. Why is it virtually unknown? Though conservative, this music has a real voice.
All the recordings are mono. The sound is good but there is some slight distortion and I can't pretend it's state of the art. But this CD is a wonderful collection of both well-known and little-known music, beautifully performed. Grab it while you can.
J. Yeagley | 11/26/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"These recordings are monaural but I absolutely love the sound. Very close, warm, velvety, and reminiscent of old movies where gorgeous music played a prominent role in setting the mood. The Hollywood String Quartet's playing was flawless, and really communicated. They were wonderful musicians. They really knew how to record, too...they probably did more of it than most since they were employed as studio musicians for years by 20th Century Fox and Warner Brothers. So, don't worry about the recordings being old and mono, their actual sound was beautiful and your ear will quickly filter out the little bit of noise left after remastering.
As for the compositions, the Villa-Lobos is not only out of this world but out of print and maybe that explains why it isn't played as much as it should be. It's one of two string quartets from his nationalistic period, and has an especially sublime adagio. Think warm tropical nights and classic glamour.
The String Quartet Op. 8 by Paul Creston is the first one of his compositions I've heard. He was a remarkable man. The son of Italian immigrants, he had to leave high school after only two years to contribute to his family's income, but he was determined to be a composer and taught himself everything from books. In his time he was ranked with Copland. Some describe his compositions as "safe" sounding, but I think this string quartet is not. While it isn't a-tonal it still brings on interesting harmony, quirkiness, and a lot of fun. It is also out of print.
This quickly became one of my favorite string quartet CDs."