Cavani Quartet
Bartok & Ravel


Annie Fullard & Susan Waterbury, violins

Erika Eckert, viola
Merry Peckham, cello

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Track Listing

Maurice Ravel (1875-1937)

Quartet in F major
1. Allegro moderato
2. Assiz vif – Tres rythme
3. Tres lent
4. Vif et agite

Bela Bartok (1881-1945)
Quartet No. 4
5. Allegro
6. Prestissimo, con sordino
7. Non tropo lento
8. Allegretto, pizzicato
9. Allegro molto

Cavani plays Ravel, Bartok in excellent recording debut
by Donald Rosenberg, The Cleveland Plain Dealer
July 1994

The Cavani String Quartet, faculty quartet-in-residence at the Cleveland Institute of Music, makes its recording debut with a winning disc of 20th century masterpieces. The Ravel and Bartok works couldn’t exist in more distant musical worlds, a reality the Cavani players realize to irresistible effect.

In the Ravel, the ensemble presents its artistic credentials in a performance marked by suave tonal resources, keen interplay of voices and rhythmic resiliency. The tenderness that pervades much of the piece receives warm shading by the Cavani, whose elegant corporate personality is also alive to the quick changes of character in the second movement, with its playful pizzicato activity, and finale, in which buoyancy and nervous energy are joined.

Bartok’s Quartet No. 4 finds the Cavani musicians exploring a score of mesmerizing power and darkness. Unlike Ravel’s finesse and sunny coloration, the Bartok is catapulted by striking dramatic contrasts, philosophical musings and aggressive gestures. The work is cast in a five part form (fast, scherzo, slow, scherzo, fast), with the central mystical movement providing the expressive anchor.

The piece’s technical requirements have caused angst in more than its share of interpreters, but the Cavani seizes Bartok’s pungent, often brooding writing with bone chilling intensity. The players, including former member Erika Eckert, provide crisp detailing in the whirlwind writing of the opening and closing movements, and the harsh pizzicatos of the second scherzo come across with gunfire clarity.

The Bartok a la Cavani is an edge-of-the-seat affair: like the players, listeners might be perched in a similar location while taking in this performance. Azica, a Cleveland recording company, has captured the Cavani vividly in both works, allowing us to savor every note within the framework of the overall structures.