The title ‘Dawn to Dusk’ represents some of the contrast between the two works: Ravel’s string quartet can be seen as his first substantial musical statement, while Janácek completed the quartet ‘Intimate Letters’ only a few months before his death. Maurice Ravel wrote only one string quartet, but it is one that dramatically expanded the coloristic boundaries of the genre. Completed in 1903, while Ravel was still a student, he dedicated the work to his teacher, Gabriel Fauré. Over time, Ravel’s quartet has become known as one of the most innovative and vibrantly dynamic quartets in the repertoire.
The opening statement of the first movement is deceptively simple: an easy ‘walking’ theme, even and balanced, that sets the mood for the entire movement. The second theme, played in octaves by the violin and viola, expresses a poignant, hushed sense of longing. What makes Ravel’s style so poetic is this constant sense of veiled statement, similar to the indirect statement of metaphors in poetry. The second movement’s ternary form is marked by the use of pizzicati in the outer sections, a choice that is certainly inspired by the Debussy string quartet.
You can adjust all of your cookie settings by navigating the tabs on the left hand side.