Here are a couple of superior performances of these Ravel chamber works, released by Concert Hall Society on lp in 1951. The Sonata was actually first issued on 78rpm in 1948 (as CHS set B4). Shumsky and Greenhouse (heard here before he began his long tenure with the Beaux Arts Trio, and who is still going strong at age 92) play with tremendously alert ensemble, and each effortlessly calls upon the various sounds and sound producing techniques. The last movement is particularly nimble. A side note: I wish somebody would reissue Shumsky and Artur Balsam’s Mozart Sonata recordings made for Musical Heritage Society. This is an overlooked cycle.
I continue to find great interest in the recordings of the Pascal Quartet. They find a great variety of expression in this version of the Ravel. The Lent movement is very expansive, and they really find tonal variety in every nook and cranny. Vibrato is varied in resourceful ways, from a very quick rate to intensify the sound, to actually playing non-vibrato in several pp and ppp spots, which is something unusual for a group at this time (later the Borodin Quartet used this to great effect).
Maurice Ravel: String Quartet in F Major
Sonata for Violin and Cello
The Pascal String Quartet:
Jacques Dumont & Maurice Crut, Violins
Léon Pascal, Viola
Robert Salles, Cello
Oscar Shumsky, Violin
Bernard Greenhouse, Cello
Concert Hall Society CHS 1123 (released in 1951)
I’ve included pdf files of the scores to both works (thanks to that fantastic resource for musical scores in the public domain, imslp.org, returning to active duty!), and scans of the Lp covers and labels. The last movement of the Quartet shows some signs of wear, but generally the record is in good condition.
Many of you may have downloaded this already, but here is my previous upload of the Pascal Quartet:
Tchaikovsky: String Quartet in E Flat Minor, Op. 30
Concert Hall Society H 10
Beethoven Piano Quartet in E Flat Major, Op. 16
Concert Hall Society G 1
Artur Balsam, piano
The Pascal Quartet
The Tchaikovsky is really a gorgeous performance, and the (red vinyl) copy is in very good condition, although it was a beast to center correctly! The Beethoven copy is not in good shape, but is it seemed a logical coupling, and it’s certainly a worthy performance of the less common string version of the Op. 16. Balsam is at his very best here.