Maurice Ravel

(1895 - 1963)

String Quartet

(1902 - 1903)


The String Quartet marks the composer’s first important chamber work, and, along with the Debussy String Quartet, is considered to be one of the supreme examples of “Impressionist” string writing.  Clearly modeled on Debussy’s earlier quartet (1893), Ravel’s achievement is both mature and personal.  

Heard here is the second movement, Assez vif, which may be said to bear the imprint of the Javanese gamelan, which Ravel and Debussy heard at the World Exposition held in Paris in 1889 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution. The wealth of foreign and exotic non-Western music that was present at the World Exposition had far-reaching implications for the history of 20th-Century music.