Originally published on January 4
In the days of LP, a familiar coupling was the String Quartets of Debussy and Ravel. With the introduction of compact disc there became room for Dutilleux’s Quartet as well. This Hyperion release replaces the Debussy with Stephen Hough’s ‘Les Six rencontres’, six short movements of variety and appeal written for the Takács players, from vigour to charm and embracing whimsy, an assortment that makes for enjoyable listening. Henri Dutilleux’s ‘Ainsi la nuit’ is abstract and suspenseful, gripping in its darkness and restless energy, following which Ravel’s Quartet sings and dances about daytime; in this reading the lyricism of the first movement is turned expressively and urbanely, if also agitated, then the pizzicatos of the second are rhythmically buoyant offset by bittersweet reflection, something developed in the sunset slow movement and countered by the zesty Finale. The Takács members (Dusinberre, Rhodes, O’Neill, Fejér; February 2022) are in top form very well recorded and presented. Hyperion CDA68400 is released on January 6.