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Barry Brenesal
Fanfare, November 2012

The First String Quartet of 1927 is music of immense vitality, recalling Ravel most in its bookend movements, with Roussel hovering over the scherzo. The slow movement is the most original thing in the work, essentially a three-voice fugue of solemn splendor. The Sonatina was composed in 1930, and premiered to great success the following year. Its first two movements are respectively pastoral and melancholy, while its third moves between a scampering, manic theme…and one reminiscent of the second movement. It is light yet technically astute, and unfailingly inventive.

The unconventional Second String Quartet…is notable throughout for its extensive use of counterpoint, right from its fugato opening. In three movements, the first is a ruminative piece of great beauty. The motoric second combines the functions of a large-scale moderato with the pacing and attitude of a scherzo. The lengthy finale begins with a solemn solo recitative…of great power. This leads to a haunting adagio, but the bulk of the movement is a dynamic allegro that launches from a tarantella-like rhythmic cell—only to return dramatically to the cello recitative and its following adagio two minutes before the quartet’s affecting conclusion.

…I have praise for the warmth of the Stanislas’s playing, both quartet and ensemble, and its transparent textures.

With good sound, this one’s highly recommended. © 2012 Fanfare Read complete review

Bob McQuiston
Classical Lost and Found, September 2012

…French composer Jean Cartan’s…early death at twenty-six…deprived the world of an extremely promising musician. Most of his meager output is chamber music, which is sampled on this recent Timpani release.

…there’s a neoclassical transparency throughout the sonatine (sonatina) for flute and clarinet of 1930.

…the second string quartet of 1930–1…has a contrapuntal and chromatic sophistication that surpasses all of the composer’s earlier efforts, making it Cartan’s masterpiece.

All the musicians here are with the Stanislas Ensemble…Its members achieve a new standard of excellence with their performances of these quartets. Their attention to detail and dynamics brings out all the nuances of Cartan’s tightly knit scores.

Flautist Olivier Sauvage and clarinetist Philippe Moinet distinguish themselves in both of the wind selections. They’re joined by equally talented oboist Pierre Colombain, hornist Pierre Riffault, bassoonist Nicolas Tacchi and pianist Catherine Chaufard in the Introduction et Allegro.

Made at the Salle Poirel in Nancy, France, the recordings present a well-focused soundstage in a warm acoustic with the instruments ideally placed and balanced. Vivid strings, fluid winds, and a well-rounded piano tone make for a generally musical sounding disc. © 2012 Classical Lost and Found Read complete review

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