March 18, 2012

The Parrenin Quartet - exploring the world of Martinet.

Back over to the Radio Transcriptions of Radio France this week. A radio studio recording circa 1957 (no exact dates on the labels, I'm sorry to say) by The Parrenin String Quartet playing the music of 20th century composer Jean-Louis Martinet.

His Variations For String Quartet written in 1946. The Parrenin Quartet were one of the pioneering performing ensembles in France in the 1950's and 1960's. I am not sure they recorded this work commercially and I highly doubt this broadcast recording has been available in any form.

Like a lot of contemporary music from this period, it can take some getting used to. Not helped is the fact the original discs were damaged in spots with some pretty nasty scratches to contend with, and I'm not certain if this piece has gotten much in the way of exposure since it's 1946 premier. Suffice to say Martinet was a prolific composer who only died two years ago (at the age of 98) and had been active for a very long time and made a substantial contribution to the music world.

Not all listening is easy the first time around, but if you stick it out, the benefits can be substantial.

And so ends the weekend.

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