Juilliard’s Debussy

Juilliard’s French music

  • Debussy, Ravel, and Dutilleux: String Quartets

This CD brings together a series of French string quartets which are extraordinary in their own right:


  • String Quartet in G minor, Op. 10


  • String Quartet ‘Ainsi la nuit’


  • String Quartet in F major

Performed by the Juilliard String Quartet


Debussy’s String Quartet in G minor Op.10 of 1893 is demonstrative of the composer’s exposure to Javanese music at the Exposition Universelle of three years earlier, and also shows the Russian influence of Borodin, which can be heard in the slow movement.

When Ravel composed his own String Quartet in 1902–3, which he dedicated to Gabriel Fauré, similarities were found between this and Debussy’s: these include the four-movement structure of both and the second movement sounds. However, thanks to his beautiful melodies for both the cello and the violin, Ravel managed to create a turning point in his career with this innovative composition.

Dutilleux’s quartet is written in an entirely different style, with each movement built up around a single tone. Ainsi la nuit offers a unique style, with the composer contrasting the influences of Gregorian chant, the night sky and the sounds of nature to create a very creative piece.

The critically acclaimed Juilliard Quartet is one of the most recorded string quartets of all time. The ensemble has led an active life of international tours and has performed in some of the world’s most prestigious concert halls.

Gramophone Magazine wrote:

  • “Technically, the playing is impeccable, with perfectly matched tone and texture in all three works.”

Here is the Quartet, playing Beethoven:



And next, here is the Shanghai Quartet playing Ravel String Quartet at the 2008 Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. Weigang Li, Violin, Yi-Wen Jiang, Violin, Honggong Li, Viola, Nicholas Tzavaras, Cello ( I could not locate a recording of this by the JSQ)



Tags: Juilliard String Quartet, Ravel, Debussy, Dutilleux

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