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Gabriel Fauré’s chamber works, long overshadowed by his popular Requiem (Naxos 8550765), are regaining their rightful place, as the success of his Violin Sonatas (8550906) and Cello Sonatas (8557889) attests.
Dubbed the ‘Master of Charm’ by Debussy, Fauré responded to the quasi-orchestral opportunities offered by the piano quintet with two gorgeous works whose frequent economy of means belies the wealth of his inventiveness. The highly chromatic Scherzo of the second Piano Quintet in particular gives Fauré’s works of this period an authentic place in twentieth-century composition.
Despite the stylistic and harmonic development evident in these works, as ever with Fauré there are also moments of sheer beauty and melodic inspiration.
The Fine Arts Quartet have been praised as “One of the gold-plated names in chamber music” by The Washington Post
Gabriel Faure: Piano Quintet No. 1 in D minor, Op. 89
I. Molto moderato
III. Allegretto moderato
Gabriel Faure: Piano Quintet No. 2 in C minor, Op. 115
I. Allegro moderato
II. Allegro vivo
III. Andante moderato
IV. Allegro molto
“The sweet-toned first violin Ralph Evans produces portamentos worthy of Fauré's friend Jacques Thibaud; Ortiz's playing blends in sensitively, dousing the texture with showers of pianistic glitter; and the ensemble's vibrant emotionalism - though suitably modified for Fauré's purposes - emphasises the questing exploration within the composer's elusive language.”
“Ideally balanced and recorded, Christina Ortiz and the Fine Arts Quartet offer performances that are warmly affectionate, fluent and musicianly to the core. Surpassing even Domus's fine Hyperion disc (7/95), these are outstanding readings and Ortiz in particular is memorably sensitive to Fauré's subtle and intricate piano-writing.”
19th June 2009
“Fauré's two piano quintets, completed 15 years apart, rank among his greatest chamber works...at budget price this is a real snip.”
22nd June 2009
“Brazilian pianist Cristina Ortiz joins up with the American Fine Arts Quartet for this disc of Fauré’s two piano quintets. The first, written in the 1890s as Fauré was gaining more public recognition, opens magically, with tinkling piano arpeggios beautifully played by Ortiz, before plunging into vigorous string figures.”
Click on any of the works listed above for alternative recordings.