Customer Reviews for: Saint-Saens: Piano Quartet, Piano Quintet / Ortiz

5 Reviews in Total
5 Star: 2 Reviews
4 Star: 1 Review
3 Star: 0 Reviews
2 Star: 1 Review
1 Star: 1 Review

Average Review

3.5 Stars (5 Reviews)

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 Exquisite Ensemble Musicianship January 31, 2014
By Robert Elden (New York, NY) -- See All My Reviews
The Fine Arts Quartet, and their most able colleague, Christina Ortiz have produced a most exquisite musical treat. All three of the works presented on this CD are rendered with a loving caress, full of warmth and perfectly nuanced ensemble playing as is wanted in these Saint-Saens chamber works. I'm so pleased to have it assume a treasured place in my ever-growing collection. Report Abuse

 Excellent performances of chamber works from Sain June 10, 2013
By Warren Harris -- See All My Reviews
This CD consists of Camille Saint-Saens Piano Quartet in B-flat Major, Op. 41, his Barcarolle in F Major, Op. 108, and the Piano Quintet in A-minor, Op. 14. It is difficult to know where to begin, as the entire disc is sooooooooo good! The Piano Quartet is marvelously performed, with just the right amount of light-handedness when appropriate, and lyrical but purposeful phrases from the piano applying driving pressure but without dominating. This is fine chamber music making, and the Fine Arts Quartet w/ Ms. Ortiz does a fantastic job here. The piece is evocative, captivating, and provocative. I must confess to listening to it again and again. The Barcarolle is a wonderful choice as the middle piece, breathing and flowing while the piano makes point after point. This is a piece that is not heard often, and that is a shame because it is truly wonderful. The disc finishes with the Piano Quintet, and again the Fine Arts Quartet and Ms. Ortiz bring this work to dramatic life right from the get-go. The work swirls and builds to crescendo after crescendo, with astonishing sensitivity throughout. The Andante movement is just a treat, and the closing Allegro movement is marvelously played and has a very organic feel to it. I have nothing negative to say about this recording. It is fantastic! Highly Recommended. Report Abuse

 muddled mess May 8, 2013
By Aaron M. (Miami beach, FL) -- See All My Reviews
piano playing is a muddled mess --- Saint-Saëns's music requires real dexterity and clarity from the pianist, and it doesn't happen here. This music is all about counterpoint; the B-flat Piano Quartet, in particular, is Bachian and needs clarity in texture. Report Abuse

 Luxurious French Chamber Music May 5, 2013
By Henry S. (Springfield, VA) -- See All My Reviews
I will start this commentary by referring to a recent review submitted by another listener, who gave this disk only 1 star. Frankly, I was completely taken aback to note such a negative opinion of this Naxos disk. My opinion is decidely different. There may indeed be very substandard recordings of the great French chamber music, but this new Naxos release is not one of them, in my view. Cristina Ortiz and the Fine Arts Quartet bring to life 3 wonderful works by Camille Saint-Saens, of which the Op. 41 Piano Quartet surely ranks as one of the supreme masterworks in the French catalog. The earlier Piano Quintet is full of melody and crystal clear French Romanticism, and rounding out the program is the 9-minute Barcarolle, a small scale composition with a large scale sense of exquisite beauty. While I admit to being no technical expert in music criticism, the fact is that I didn't find a problem in the role of the piano here, which the other reviewer did. It is not my purpose to get into an argument here, but it seems to me that no quality recording company would ever allow production and marketing of a recording featuring a piano as woefully out of tune as alleged. What struck me instead was the vibrant sound of the entire performing group and the ability to really hear each instrument's unique voice as it contributes to Saint-Saens' masteful scoring. In short, my reaction to this disk was clearly positive, and I would be willing to bet that most listeners will also enjoy it. Report Abuse

 A complete disaster April 23, 2013
By David R. (Pine, CO) -- See All My Reviews
Let's cut right to the chase: the piano on this recording is so badly out of tune, this CD is unlistenable. Worse, the quartet is tuned sharp to the piano, presumably because the piano itself is so badly out of tune what could they actually tune to? Every time the quartet rests or takes an accompaniment role, what you hear is an excruciatingly flat, badly out of tune piano taking up to tune. It literally sounds like a honky-tonk upright in a southern bar! Not only that, Cristina Ortiz sounds like she's sight reading this music; she fluffs and fakes her way through several passages. And the Fine Arts Quartet sound like a student group, at best. It is unbelievable that the Producer/Editor/Engineer, Steven Epstein, could not hear what was going on while he was in charge at the controls. Even more amazing that the performers themselves could not hear they were not tuned to the piano, and that Ortiz was playing very badly on a very bad piano! This recording is an absolute disgrace. Naxos needs to cut their losses right here and now, pull this back from availablility and look for a competent group of performers and start again. This is glorious Saint-Saens and it deserves a great recording. It certainly does not receive it here. Report Abuse

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