An enterprising programme in which a Turkish discovery stands out

Klenke Quartet: Erkin, Ravel, Schulhoff

The Strad Issue: July 2024

Description: An enterprising programme in which a Turkish discovery stands out

Musicians: Klenke Quartet

Works: Erkin: String Quartet. Ravel: String Quartet. Schulhoff: Five Pieces for String Quartet

Catalogue number: ACCENTUS ACC30607

The connecting factor in this imaginative programme is the way its composers exploit folk-inflected material in highly original ways. In this respect, Turkish composer Ulvi Cemal Erkin’s Quartet is a gem of a discovery, offering a captivating mix of Anatolian folk-inspired rhythms and melodies, laced with a fine ear for European compositional techniques. The music is catchy and direct, the Klenke giving a highly defined reading that is neat and full of character.

Erwin Schulhoff’s Five Pieces are brilliant cameo works, each movement reinventing a familiar dance style within a distinctly advanced tonal milieu. The music is sophisticated and direct, but also has some pleasingly acerbic, gritty moments. The Klenke Quartet’s performances are highly charged, rhythmically vibrant and meticulously prepared, if not quite managing the range of colours invoked in the Bennewitz Quartet’s Supraphon recording, where the blending is more refined and the sound palette more varied.

On the whole, the Klenke’s Ravel is very good, with some imaginative interpretative insights. That said, it doesn’t reach the level of the benchmark recording by Quatuor Ebène (Erato), which musters a greater range of timbres and dynamic gradations, as well as a more subtly refined handling of rubato.