Jean-Claude Féret

Pierre Rode

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Pierre Rode, quartet

The concerti from Rode are still played today, but as study material, and of course without any care for the proper style of that period, nor the original indications of phrasings or fingerings. It is the same with his "Caprices" for solo violin… And it is well understandable that todays violinists, having had that first contact with Rode, don't have an irresistible desire to go any further into studying his works (pfhh! just for students!).

However, that music has many qualities : a refined elegance, a clarity of lines, a melodic richness and a charm, both very French. Of course, most of Rode's works are written for the violin and came from the violin, and, how Ysaÿe said (but talking about Vieuxtemps) : « from and through the violin ». But don't make any mistake here ! they are far from being superficial and only dedicated to effects, but are really works of expression.

This quartet (they are more), like Haydn quartets, is a work for violin accompanied by a trio, but where the others participates also to the discussion. The melodic style is rather close from Aubert and from Méhul from whom Beethoven appreciated much the compositions (particularly the symphonies) and whose influence was not negligible on him (but yes !)

Much nobleness and distinction in those moving mélodies of the introduction, or of the second movement… And nothing easy nor commun in the quick movements, of course, some runs are very similar to the ones of his concerti or viotti's, but they were the words of that time, and the ones used to express one self… and to be true to the end, some were also used by Beethoven in his violin concerto!… More to it, there is in that Rondo (term used as an indication of the form: because of that ritornell) something very personnal, to do with the fluidity of that recuring tune…

Andantino – Allegro con fuoco ed anima




This quartet was part of that same quartets program with Onslow, Molique and Pleyel that I did hesitate to place here… see HERE

Concert Pupitre 14


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Pierre Rode