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Grétry: String Quartets Op 3 / Thaïs String Quartet


Release Date: 02/28/2006 
Label:  Musica Ficta   Catalog #: 8004   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  André Modeste Grétry
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Thaïs String Quartet
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews



GRÉTRY Quartets, op. 3 ? Qrt Thaïs ? MUSICA FICTA MF8004 (53:38)


André-Ernest-Modeste Grétry (1741?1813) was best known for his numerous operas during his lifetime. He wrote little else after hitting his stride, so presumably this youthful collection of six quartets was intended as a group of musical calling cards; no other reason has been adduced for their existence. They take the form of the Parisian Quatuor Read more concertant , in which all four instruments take an active and frequently equal part in the ensemble. Despite this, the shape of each quartet is unique, following the examples of Cambini and Boccherini: one, for example, is in two movements, its first an allegro sandwiching a minuet, while another quartet starts with a slow movement, moves to an allegro , and concludes with a fugue. The musical content in all cases is primitive for its time, far more so than the sophisticated quartets of Boccherini or Brunetti, with the fugue movements in particular on the level of short, competent, but uninspired student exercises. There?s even the possibility they were created as such, though as a whole these quartets aren?t without moderate charm.


The Quatuor Thaïs members adopt a vibratoless tone for these performances. They may also be using original instruments or modern copies, given the sound in particular of the cello and viola, but no information is provided on this. At times, I found their playing harsh and their phrasing wooden, but the more energetic galant movements (such as the central allegro to the First Quartet, and the final allegro to the Fifth) brought energy and thrust to their music-making. They still sound too impersonal, with little give-and-take among all four musicians, but they?re certainly owed points for investigating unusual repertoire.


Sound quality and balance between the instruments is very good; timings are on the short side. Recommended for those interested in the repertoire.


FANFARE: Barry Brenesal
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Works on This Recording

1. Quartets (6) for Strings, Op. 3 by André Modeste Grétry
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Thaïs String Quartet
Period: Classical 

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