Faure: Piano Quintet in D minor, Op. 89; Piano Quartet in C minor, Op. 15

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COMPOSERS: Faure
LABELS: Decca
WORKS: Piano Quintet in D minor, Op. 89; Piano Quartet in C minor, Op. 15
PERFORMER: Pascal Rogé (piano); Ysaÿe Quartet
CATALOGUE NO: 455 149-2

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The juxtaposition of the renowned Piano Quartet No. 1 with arguably Fauré’s least-known chamber work, the Piano Quintet No. 1, is both perceptive and rewarding. Despite the disparity of temperament between the two, the jaunty cordiality of the Quartet belies an underlying reserve which anticipates the more rarefied style of the later work.

The Quintet itself stands on the threshold of the restrained sound-world of Fauré’s later years. Indeed, its protracted gestation perhaps reflects the composer’s attempts to fulfil his compositional ideals. The result is notable for its unity of mood rather than material, with Fauré mitigating the distinctions between movements.

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Pascal Rogé and the Ysaÿe Quartet are almost ideal advocates for this repertoire, bringing a commitment founded in patent enthusiasm. The slow movements of both works are utterly captivating, though a little more urgency would occasionally be welcome in the outer movements of the quartet. At times there is also an uncharacteristic harshness about Rogé’s playing. An enjoyable and rewarding release nonetheless. Christopher Dingle