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Ravel & La Tombelle: String Quartets

97709 - Ravel & La Tombelle: String Quartets

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The Mandelring Quartett’s new, two-part recording project is dedicated to French repertoire. Part 1 presents Maurice Ravel’s string quartet, a stroke of genius by its 27-year-old composer marking a new chapter in French chamber music, as well as Fernand de La Tombelle’s almost contemporaneous refined and colourful Op. 36 quartet – a real discovery!more

Maurice Ravel | Fernand de La Tombelle

"The Mandelring now adds another outstanding recording. [...] On the one hand, the interpretation is marked by fervor, ardor, and tense; [...] on the other hand, transparency, sophistication, and sensuality are not lacking." (Pizzicato)

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​Although Maurice Ravel, in his string quartet, explicitly refers to the quartet written ten years earlier by his colleague, Claude Debussy, he opts to follows his own, new path and arrives at a distinctive Ravelian tone: colourful, refined and saturated with that flair of the artificial which also characterises his beloved porcelain and glass artworks, ornamental shrubs and bonsai trees. At the same time, the quartet is meticulously constructed and so rich in ingenious details that it offers room for discovery even after repeated listening.

A great unknown and certainly one of the most fascinating protagonists of French musical life in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries is Fernand de La Tombelle: pianist, organist, writer, astronomer, visual artist, author of a guide on a traditional recipe involving foie gras and truffles, passionate cyclist - and prolific composer: his œuvre comprises more than 500 works, including a large number of chamber music works. His string quartet written in 1895 is rooted in the Viennese classical tradition and yet is unmistakably French: highly expressive, harmonically colourful and extremely elegant at the same time - a work that makes one want to discover more by La Tombelle!

Reviews

Fono Forum
Fono Forum | Juni 2021 | Elisabeth Richter | June 1, 2021

Die Informationen über Fernand de La Tombelle (1854-1928) sind spärlich, und erst in letzter Zeit kümmern sich neugierige Musiker um dasMehr lesen

Die Informationen über Fernand de La Tombelle (1854-1928) sind spärlich, und erst in letzter Zeit kümmern sich neugierige Musiker um das keinesfalls zu verachtende (Oeuvre des seinerzeit mehrfach ausgezeichneten Komponisten und Organisten sowie Juristen aus einer französischen Adelsfamilie. Seine Mutter – immerhin Schülerin von Liszt und Thalberg – war seine erste Lehrerin.

La Tombelles Streichquartett von 1894 atmet einerseits den Duft des französischen Impressionismus, bedient sich aber auch traditioneller Satztechniken. Andererseits hört man eine Nähe zur deutschen Spätromantik. Nicht selten denkt man an die schwüle Atmosphäre und den visionären Ton von Schönbergs Sextett „Verklärte Nacht", das jedoch erst fünf Jahre später entstand. Das Mandelring Quartett sorgt im dichten Satz-Gewebe immer für Durchsichtigkeit und für Konturen mit markanten Akzentuierungen. Es kristallisiert durch gestisch-klares Spiel wichtige Linien heraus.

1902 blickte Ravel mit seinem einzigen Streichquartett noch weit stärker als La Tombelle in eine neue Klangwelt und löste damit in Paris auch Kontroversen aus. Debussy war begeistert, Faure, der Widmungsträger, kritisch. Mit ungeheuer feinen Antennen für das Leichte, Luftige, Duftige, für den Hauch des Rätselhaften nähert sich das Mandelring Quartett Ravels genialem Stück. Jede Sekunde zeigt die intensive Auseinandersetzung. Zwingend sind die wellenartigen Steigerungen aufgebaut. Man „riecht" förmlich, wie das Quartett für die reich „duftenden" und schillernden Farben dieser Musik die richtigen Nuancierungen erspürt. Die Strukturen werden durch abgestufte Artikulationen ganz plastisch. Flirrende Tremoli, klirrende Pizzicati und ein dennoch immer homogener Klang entführen auf berührende Weise in den Zauber dieses Quartetts.
Die Informationen über Fernand de La Tombelle (1854-1928) sind spärlich, und erst in letzter Zeit kümmern sich neugierige Musiker um das

Audiophile Audition
Audiophile Audition | May 7, 2021 | Gary Lemco | May 7, 2021 | source: https://www.auda...

The various instrumental colors from the Mandelring players seem to merge and melt into a mesmeric haze, a transparent sound we haven’t heard since the Quartetto Italiano played this great work fifty years ago. Mehr lesen

Aus urheberrechtlichen Gründen dürfen wir ihnen diese Rezension leider nicht zeigen!
The various instrumental colors from the Mandelring players seem to merge and melt into a mesmeric haze, a transparent sound we haven’t heard since the Quartetto Italiano played this great work fifty years ago. 

www.musicweb-international.com
www.musicweb-international.com | Tuesday May 4th | Roy Westbrook | May 4, 2021 | source: http://www.music...

The Mandelring Quartet are most familiar to me for their superb complete cycle of the Shostakovich quartets, and their late Schubert quartets, both onMehr lesen

The Mandelring Quartet are most familiar to me for their superb complete cycle of the Shostakovich quartets, and their late Schubert quartets, both on fine SACDs on the Audite label, which generally has a fine chamber music catalogue, among other genres. Here the Mandelring offer French music, I think for the first time on disc. The much-recorded Ravel quartet is here coupled with a rarity, the sole string quartet of Antoine Louis Joseph Gueyrand Fernand Fouant de La Tombelle, a name, (or perhaps I should say names), new to me. I note though that Bru-Zane have given him a three-CD survey in their fine series exhuming forgotten but worthwhile works of French Romanticism, and the CD catalogue also has some songs and chamber pieces.


La Tombelle had a major career as a pianist and organist, touring all over France in the latter role, and composed over 500 works. That sheer fluency can be heard here, in his quartet written at age 41 in 1895, and winner of a prize for outstanding chamber music from the Académie des Beaux-Arts. It is dedicated to Vincent d’Indy, one of La Tombelle’s co-founders of the Schola Cantorum, also in 1895, a private music academy with a focus on one of La Tombelle’s enthusiasms, early music. It is a fairly big work playing for half an hour, and just interesting enough to regret that like Ravel, Debussy, Franck, Fauré, Chausson and Dutilleux, La Tombelle left only one example of the genre.

La Tombelle’s quartet is broadly designed on the template of a Viennese classical work, with four movements, the first the most substantial, a brief scherzo, expressive slow movement, and lively Allegro con brio finale. There are cyclic elements also, for César Franck was one of La Tombelle’s models. There is a long slowish introduction (Largo ma non troppo), and the rich harmony and complex string texture are obviously skilful, even if the feeling is (for my taste) sometimes saccharine. The first subject of the Allegro proper has a dotted rhythm hinted at in the introduction, but soon elaborated and extended, and the second theme (marked dolce) arrives at 5:38 and is given to violin and then cello. The Mandelrings keep it flowing, with no ‘signposting’ of musical landmarks by slowing down, which is proper in a work classical enough to have a real development – and even to accommodate a return of music from the introduction (at 9:20). The scherzo has two contrasting themes, a hint in the second of the hurdy-gurdy suggests the booklet note – La Tombelle’s enthusiasms included folklore. At times there is a pizzicato-enlivened texture, a link to the Ravel. The Adagio con molto espressione sounds like yet another passionate example of 1890’s French Wagnerism in its chromatic moments, and the finale has those Franckian recalls of material from the first two movements. This is an expert performance of a very satisfying work, if not one that is quite individual enough to disturb the long-established league table of the best string quartets from France.

At or near the head of that not very long table stands Ravel’s quartet. The Mandelring Quartet provide an impressive account distinguished by their characteristic technical precision and satisfying blend, with some interesting details that not every group has noticed. An early example in the first movement is the imitative cello counterpoint as the first subject begins to expand (0:32), but there several others that will catch the ear of those who know the piece well. It’s an interpretation that will I think be enjoyed by most listeners even if it does displace the various favourites collectors will have.

In recent years I have most often turned to the Quatuor Ébène (Virgin Classics 2008, coupled with the Fauré and the Debussy quartets). They find more light and shade, in part because they give themselves more time to do so. Thus while the Mandelring take 7:35 over the first movement, the Quatuor Ébène’s 8:50 enables them to reflect the Très doux marking rather more, just as their slow movement’s 9:47 (Très lent) allows them to give us more of that quintessential Ravelian tendresse in a very rapt account of exquisite poise and feeling. Conversely the Ébène’s 4:40 is more Vif et agitè than the Mandelring’s 5:12.

So the Mandelring Quartet offer here a viable alternative view of the Ravel, coupled to an intriguing rarity, both very well played and well recorded (though I hope Audite has not entirely abandoned the hi-res SACD format.) There is short but informative booklet note, which is very interesting on the background of Fernand La Tombelle , whose quartet will for most collectors be the principal attraction of this disc.
The Mandelring Quartet are most familiar to me for their superb complete cycle of the Shostakovich quartets, and their late Schubert quartets, both on

www.musicweb-international.com
www.musicweb-international.com | Thursday April 15th | Michael Cookson | April 15, 2021 | source: http://www.music...

For its latest album, the Mandelring Quartett turns its attention to French chamber music, in the first of a two-part issue. Maurice Ravel’sMehr lesen

For its latest album, the Mandelring Quartett turns its attention to French chamber music, in the first of a two-part issue. Maurice Ravel’s enduring renown as a composer could not be more different from that of his older contemporary Fernand de La Tombelle, whose music did not come close to achieving the same status and was virtually forgotten after his death. This coupling is very much to my taste, as it contrasts one of the most admired string quartets in the entire repertoire with the much less-well-known quartet by La Tombelle.

The Mandelring Quartett was founded in 1983 in Neustadt; unsurprisingly, its discography strongly favours Austro/German repertoire - although not exclusively. This album follows its previous foray into French music a few years ago with works by George Onslow, the French born composer of English descent. The Mandelring has announced on its website that the forthcoming second album will feature Debussy’s string quartet and a pair of string quartets by Jean Rivier, another name new to me.

La Tombelle and Ravel were near-contemporaries, the former being the elder by twenty years. Both were Parisians, but La Tombelle was born in the capital whereas the Basque-born Ravel moved there as a young child. Both were students at the Paris Conservatoire, where their reputations and successes could not have been more different. La Tombelle studied composition with Theodore Dubois and organ with Alexandre Guilmant, while Ravel’s teachers included, most notably, Gabriel Fauré who was firmly supportive of his student. La Tombelle was well regarded and won prizes whereas Ravel’s works were strongly criticised by director Théodore Dubois and others in the Conservatoire hierarchy and he was actually expelled, readmitted, then expelled a second time. As pianists, Tombelle progressed to become a concert pianist and organist, whereas Ravel, who had given piano recitals from age fourteen and sometimes played his own works in concert, was to achieve greater success in writing for the piano rather than playing it.

La Tombelle’s name is unfamiliar to many, I am sure. Currently his music is beginning to gain wider attention and a mini-revival seems to be underway. Just over a year ago, my first encounter with La Tombelle, his music proved to be a rewarding experience when I reviewed a 3 CD-book release of La his ‘Chamber, Choral and Symphonic Music and Mélodies’, part of the Bru Zane ‘portraits’ series.

Written in 1895, La Tombelle’s String Quartet in E major was dedicated to his friend Vincent d’Indy and the following year the work won the esteemed Chartier Prize for exceptional chamber music. Whilst I am not making any claims for its greatness, it is so amiably Romantic and melodic, without an unpleasant tone in the score, that it is captivating. This is an insightful performance, full of expressive detail; the Mandelring produce tasteful phrasing and a sweet, warm, beautifully blended string tone. I am often reminded of the sound-world of Camille Saint-Saëns, who gave La Tombelle guidance. One soon becomes conscious of the constant, fruitful rapport between the quartet members. There is an invigorating freshness to their playing in the Allegros and Scherzo which generates plenty of spirit and buoyancy. The protean character the Allegro con brio – Finale is especially notable; it is full of an energy which turns to sadness and loneliness, then becoming resolutely optimistic. In the Adagio, the heart of the score, the Mandelring impart a melting tenderness to the sense of longing and the players combine to glorious effect. The intense level of yearning infused in his writing surely indicates that La Tombelle is portraying a love affair.

There is an alternative “world premiere recording” of La Tombelle’s String Quartet from the Quatuor Satie on the Ligia Digital label, recorded in 2011 in the Auditorium Cziffra, La Chaise-Dieu. I have heard only sound clips, but the album was reviewed here in 2013. I am not sure of its availability as a new CD, but used copies may be available, and it can be downloaded.

Ravel’s distinctive style of composition is often acknowledged as inhabiting the middle ground between the Romantic and the neo-classical eras. A product of his Paris Conservatoire years, Ravel’s only String Quartet could be said to combine the traditional forms so characteristic of his master Fauré (to whom it is dedicated) with a broad range of tone colours and moods which owes a debt of gratitude to Claude Debussy’s string quartet. Achieving acclaim when introduced in 1904 at the Paris Société Nationale de Musique, it is now widely considered a masterwork of the genre.

This captivating and melodic early work is renowned for its freshness and can make quite an impact at first hearing. Throughout the four-movement score, the Mandelring creates a magical and lavish display of warm, vibrant colour. Ravel employs a cyclical use of themes in the manner of Debussy’s String Quartet. Designed in a sonata form with a pair of main themes, the first movement Allegro moderato – très doux (very sweet) is played both adroitly and passionately by the Mandelring. The glorious introduction is played as beautifully as I have heard. The second movement, serving as a Scherzo, marked Assez vif – très rythmé (Rather lively – very rhythmic), contains pizzicato effects and the Mandelring demonstrates excellent concentration and timing. In the rapturous slow movement marked Très lent (very slow) they create by turns a gracious feeling of introspection and poetic rapture. Worth singling out is the simply glorious sound of the resonant cello. Bursting onto the scene is the Finale – Vif et agité (Lively and agitated), which swings between a squally, rather unsettling character to a much-needed composed temperament. The Mandelring’s playing here is immediate and resolute, serving to heighten the finale’s effect.

On balance, my first choice remains the exceptional recording from 2008 on Virgin Classics from the Quatuor Ébène (review), one of the world’s foremost chamber music ensembles. Their performance is impressively vital and colourful, enhanced by a gratifying sense of purpose and their second movement makes a greater impact than the Mandelring’s.

As seasoned performers, the Mandelring Quartett is entirely responsive to the challenges presented by both the La Tombelle and the Ravel scores. The level of empathy required to encompass the range of moods and tone colour possibilities is always in evidence. Impressive, too, are the well managed dynamics. The radio broadcast sound quality is first class. The booklet essay by Eva Blaskewitz is interesting and helpful.

This is a most attractive album of these two French quartets and the second release cannot come too soon.
For its latest album, the Mandelring Quartett turns its attention to French chamber music, in the first of a two-part issue. Maurice Ravel’s

www.pizzicato.lu | 09/04/2021 | Remy Franck | April 9, 2021 | source: https://www.pizz... Mandelring Quartett: Packender Ravel, gelungene Tombelle-Auferstehung mit Himmelfahrt

An spannenden Interpretationen des Streichquartetts von Maurice Ravel herrscht kein Mangel. Das Mandelring Quartett fügt nun eine weitereMehr lesen

An spannenden Interpretationen des Streichquartetts von Maurice Ravel herrscht kein Mangel. Das Mandelring Quartett fügt nun eine weitere herausragende Einspielung hinzu. Die vier Streicher spüren die dramatischen Effekte auf und geben der Partitur die Spontaneität von Ravels Inspiration zurück. Einerseits ist die Interpretation von Glut, Inbrunst und spannungsgeladener, oft fiebriger Kraft geprägt, die das Beste aus jeder Note herausholt, andererseits fehlen auch Transparenz, Raffinesse und Sinnlichkeit nicht. Für mich ist dies eine der packendsten Interpretationen dieser Komposition, und sie straft alle die Lügen, die behaupten, das Quartett verkörpere nichts als Sinnlichkeit und Grazie.

Fernand de la Tombelle (1854-1928) hat an die 600 Werke hinterlassen. Der rührige Baron, der auch Pianist und Organist war, Schriftsteller, Photograph und Maler, Amateur-Astronom und anderes mehr, ist ein französischer Romantiker, der Kammermusik, Opern, Chormusik und Lieder komponiert hat.

Wie Ravel hat De la Tombelle nur ein Streichquartett komponiert, aber anders als bei Ravel gibt es kaum Aufnahmen davon und sicher keine herausragende.

Nun ändert sich die Lage. Das Mandelring Quartett steigt mit viel Schwung und lyrischem Elan in den ersten Satz ein und spielt das Scherzo ebenso tempo- wie kontrastreich. Darauf folgt ein emotionales Adagio, das zu einem Finalsatz führt, der eher ungeduldig und irritiert wirkt, um schließlich in wie fragend formuliert ruhigeren Passagen den Weg frei zu machen für eine hoch fliegende, unbeschwerte Coda. Damit hat das Tombelle-Quartett endlich eine werkgerechte Auferstehung mit Himmelfahrt geschafft.


There is no shortage of exciting interpretations of Maurice Ravel’s string quartets. The Mandelring now adds another outstanding recording. The four string players track down the dramatic effects and return to the score the spontaneity of Ravel’s inspiration. On the one hand, the interpretation is marked by fervor, ardor, and tense, often feverish power that brings out the best of every note; on the other hand, transparency, sophistication, and sensuality are not lacking. For me, this is one of the most gripping interpretations of this composition, and it gives the lie to all those who claim that the quartet embodies nothing but sensuality and grace.

Fernand de la Tombelle (1854-1928) left behind close to 600 works. The enterprising baron, who was also a pianist and organist, a writer, photographer and painter, amateur astronomer, and more, is a French romantic who composed chamber music, operas, choral music, and songs.

Like Ravel, de La Tombelle composed only one string quartet, but unlike Ravel, there are very few recordings of it and certainly none outstanding.

Now the situation is changing. With the Mandelring Quartet the first movement has a lot of verve and lyricism, the Scherzo is alert and contrasted. They are followed by an emotional Adagio that leads to a final movement that seems rather impatient and irritated, finally clearing the way for a high-flying, light-hearted coda. With this, the Tombelle Quartet has finally achieved of this work not only a beautiful resurrection but also a heavenly ascension.
An spannenden Interpretationen des Streichquartetts von Maurice Ravel herrscht kein Mangel. Das Mandelring Quartett fügt nun eine weitere

Rondo
Rondo | 2/2021 | Eleonore Büning | April 1, 2021 Unterm Strich
Ramsch oder Referenz? CDs vom Schreibtisch geräumt

Für ihre neueste CD haben sie sich ein Herzstück des französischen Quartett-Repertoires vorgeknöpft und neben eine Rarität gestellt. Beides ist der pure Luxus.Mehr lesen

Aus urheberrechtlichen Gründen dürfen wir ihnen diese Rezension leider nicht zeigen!
Für ihre neueste CD haben sie sich ein Herzstück des französischen Quartett-Repertoires vorgeknöpft und neben eine Rarität gestellt. Beides ist der pure Luxus.

Audio
Audio | 7/2021 | Andreas Fritz KLANG TIPP

[...] treffen die Musiker den richtigen Ton, indem sie die raffinierte Eleganz der Komposition herausarbeiten. Das Klangbild vermittelt das sensible Agieren des Ensembles. Ein rundum gelungenes Album [...]Mehr lesen

Aus urheberrechtlichen Gründen dürfen wir ihnen diese Rezension leider nicht zeigen!
[...] treffen die Musiker den richtigen Ton, indem sie die raffinierte Eleganz der Komposition herausarbeiten. Das Klangbild vermittelt das sensible Agieren des Ensembles. Ein rundum gelungenes Album [...]

Merchant Infos

Ravel & La Tombelle: String Quartets
article number: 97.709
EAN barcode: 4022143977090
price group: BCA
release date: 9. April 2021
total time: 57 min.

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Jun 7, 2021
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Audio Klangtipp - Ravel & La Tombelle: String Quartets
Jun 7, 2021
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Jun 12, 2021
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May 12, 2021
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Interpretation & Klang: 5/5 Sternen - Ravel & La Tombelle: String Quartets
May 12, 2021
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Fono Forum
Die Informationen über Fernand de La Tombelle (1854-1928) sind spärlich, und...
May 11, 2021
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Audiophile Audition
Recorded 11-14 October 2018, this concert brings together two French composers...
May 5, 2021
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www.musicweb-international.com
The Mandelring Quartet are most familiar to me for their superb complete cycle...
May 1, 2021
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jpc-courier 5/2021: selected releases of the month
Apr 15, 2021
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For its latest album, the Mandelring Quartett turns its attention to French...
Apr 1, 2021
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Note 1 music: new releases (April 2021)
Apr 14, 2021
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Rondo
Unterm Strich
Apr 9, 2021
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Ravel's 'Allegro moderato. Très doux' from his String Quartet in F Major was added to iTunes and Apple Music Playlist 'Moderne und Postmoderne' in Germany and other countries (#9/50)
Apr 9, 2021
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Ravel's 'Assez vif. Très rythmé' from his String Quartet in F Major was added to Spotify's playlist "Classical New Releases - Spotify Picks" from 9th until 15th April (#26/60)
Apr 9, 2021
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Ravel's 'Très Lent' from String Quartet in F Major was added to iTunes and Apple Music Playlist 'Impressionismus' in Germany and other countries (#20/50)
Apr 12, 2021
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Listening Tipp - Ravel & La Tombelle: String Quartets
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Supersonic - Ravel & La Tombelle: String Quartets
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www.pizzicato.lu
Mandelring Quartett: Packender Ravel, gelungene Tombelle-Auferstehung mit Himmelfahrt
Mar 26, 2021
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La Tombelle's 'Adagio con molto espressione' String Quartet in E Major, Op. 36 was added to iTunes and Apple Music Playlist 'The A-List: Classical' in the US and other countries (#9/51)
Mar 26, 2021
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La Tombelle's 'Adagio con molto espressione' String Quartet in E Major, Op. 36 was added to iTunes and Apple Music Playlist 'Relaxing Classical' in Germany and other countries (#5/50)
Mar 26, 2021
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La Tombelle's 'Adagio con molto espressione' String Quartet in E Major, Op. 36 was added to iTunes and Apple Music Playlist 'New in Classical' in Germany and other countries (#16/100)
Mar 26, 2021
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La Tombelle's 'Adagio con molto espressione' String Quartet in E Major, Op. 36 was added to Spotify's playlist "Classical New Releases - Spotify Picks" from 26th March until 1st April (#38/70)
Feb 26, 2021
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La Tombelle's second movement "Allegretto assai scherzando" from String Quartet in E Major, Op. 36 was added to Spotify's playlist "Classical New Releases - Spotify Picks" from 26th February until 5th March (#43/66)
Jan 25, 2021
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La Tombelle's 'Adagio con molto espressione' String Quartet in E Major, Op. 36 was pitched for different Curated Classical Playlists
Jan 25, 2021
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Ravel's 'Très Lent' from String Quartet in F Major was pitched for different Curated Classical Playlists
Jan 25, 2021
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La Tombelle's 'Allegretto assai scherzando' from String Quartet in E Major, Op. 36 was pitched for different Curated Classical Playlists
Jan 25, 2021
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Ravel's 'Vif et agité' from String Quartet in F Major was pitched for different Curated Classical Playlists
Sep 19, 2020
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