Notes and Editorial Reviews
There haven't been so many recordings of these two magnificent works that it means as much as it should to say that this is the best thus far. The playing is magnificent, not just for its superb ensemble qualities, including ideal balances between the piano and strings, but also for what it tells us about the music. Fauré's chamber music often receives self-consciously elegant and "stylish" performances that maximize its elegiac qualities and minimize its sheer power. Not here. Without ever resorting to crudeness, the players give the music a welcome amount of muscle. Just listen to the start of each work, and in particular to the way the music gushes forth at the beginning of the
Second piano quartet. Or catch the "take no prisoners" slashing rhythms in the same work's scherzo, or in the First quartet's finale.
Happily, the abundant energy is matched by an equal sensitivity in gentle passages. Fauré's harmonic wizardry is always at its most haunting in his soft music, and in such places as the end of the First quartet's opening exposition, or the adagios of both works, the playing has remarkable clarity as well as a wealth of tonal shading, particularly from the strings. Trio Wanderer's pianist, Vincent Coq, also combines crystalline clarity of articulation with a lovely, singing tone. If you've been turned off by this music before, finding it too subdued and lacking in vivid contrasts, then you owe it to yourself to hear these beautifully recorded performances. They will surely change your mind.
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
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