Isasi Quartet & Karine Deshayes – Henri Marteau: Complete Works for String Quartet, Vol. 1

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Most motherfuckers will be scratching their heads like an ape with a dandruff problem at the name Henri Marteau. If you’re all up in that classical shtick and sport a big ego (which, let’s be honest, is highly fucking probable) and you don’t know the name, the thought of rage-filled murder spree may have crossed your mind. But before you go grabbing that kitchen knife, let me assure you that very few know Henri Marteau. And out of those that do, even fewer know that this motherfucker was also a composer. Truth? Unless you’re some fangirl of Max Reger or Paul Hindemith, which is not very likely, you probably have exactly zero fucks to give poor Marteau. 

So, let’s water your garden of fucks.

Henry Marteau (1874–1934) is known, primarily, as a violinist. Dude had mad fucking skills. At ten, he was a prodigy. At thirteen, he was asked to play by the King Tut of Richard Wagner’s Ring des Nibelungen, Dr. Hans Ritcher. Young Marteau played so well he impressed some dude named Brahms sitting in the crowd. Motherfucking Brahms! At twenty-six, Marteau was already a professor at the conservatory in Geneva. In 1904, he became besties with Max Reger and repped the dude hard. They played more than fifty concerts together.

So, why isn’t Marteau a bigwig of history? Well, some stupid shit named Franz Ferdinand went out and got shot. All these other motherfuckers got super angry at each other until it became World War fucking One. Germans didn’t like the French in around 1914. Marteau, being more French than a baguette smoking a cigarette on a bike, got thrown into protective custody and house arrest. This shit happened so often that his name got put under lock and key with the rest of him. Bad fucking luck. But this shit becomes an even bigger shame when you listen to the dude’s tunes. Marteau could fucking write. Dude should be more famous than Taylor Swift. His lines dance and interweave around each other more often than four gospel singers competing for the solo. Yet, it sounds in sync. It’s harmonious. Shit made me giggle out of joy. Motherfucker made this shit work.

Anna Bohigas (violin), Chikako Hosoda (violin), Karsten Dobers (viola), and Guy Danel (cello) make up the Isasi Quartet. Mezzo-soprano Karine Deshayes joins in on the party. Deshayes is known more for baroque tunes, but she jumps into this late romantic shit like a fat kid on free hotdog day. Hearing a true mezzo sing this shit instead of a soprano makes those low notes feel super fucking comfortable. Ain’t nothing artificial about it. This shit is more natural than honey straight from the fucking comb. I can’t give it up enough for the Isasi Quartet. The purity and fluidity with which they play could put Evian out of business. Shit is world class. The best part about this album is that there’s a Vol. 1 in the fucking title. Means someday there’ll be a Vol. 2. And, if the sequel is anything like the original, than this shit has the potential to give Marteau the recognition he deserves. 

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