Vision String Quartet

Music by Maurice Ravel and original compositions inspired by jazz, rock and pop

Description Program Artists

Maurice Ravel mistrusted the traditional canon of rules of sonata form, including in his String Quartet in F major, composed in 1902–03. In the first movement he dispenses with the “classical” contrast between the rhythmic-energetic main theme and the lyrical-melodic secondary theme. Instead, the themes that he introduces differ only imperceptibly from one another. The expected development of the musical material is also only hinted at afterwards. A breathtaking play of colors replaces the constructive development of motifs and themes. The music flows. Never before had a string quartet been composed in such a floating, transient manner. It is practically impossible to recognize anything like an architecture or formal logic in what is heard. Ravel replaced the thematic “work” that had previously been obligatory in the string quartet by a colorful play with the harmonic configurations alternating between tension and relaxation. We hear from moment to moment and leap from one adventure to the next.

At the premiere by the Heymann Quartet on March 5, 1904 in Paris, this led to protests from the bewildered audience and the press. But Ravel was not interested in chance musical events. He declared his intention to create a “constructive musical structure” and develop a convincing musical whole within the traditional framework that was applicable only on the surface. For this purpose he developed a subtle network of interconnections. Central themes recur like tonal “islands” in all of the movements, while the classical period structure – the grouping in four- or eight-bar phrases– is retained almost overly explicitly with lighthearted irony.

When Ravel was once asked about the nature of his music, he replied: "Quite simple, nothing but Mozart." Like with Mozart, it is a deceptive simplicity that is born of the highest level of artistry.

Photo that shows Vision C Tim Kloecker 1B Orig.


Maurice Ravel
String Quartet in F major, op. 35 (excerpt)
I. Allegro moderato. Très doux
II. Vif et agité

Vision String Quartet
Original compositions
from the genres of jazz, rock and pop

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