Monday, January 04, 2010

Faure, French elegance

Gabriel Faure (1845-1924) was in my opinion one of the finest French composers, but too many people know him only by 2-3 works: the Requiem, the Pavane, and perhaps the Dolly suite. Yet his rarely performed songs are amongst the best in the repertoire, and his chamber music is always exquisite. Copland once referred to him as the French Brahms, which is not entirely true, but does give an indication of his style. For the CD I have selected a fairly recent release of his beautiful piano quintets, played here by Cristina Ortiz and the Fine Arts Quartet. These are relatively late works (1906/1921), and show a grandmaster at work, providing a bridge between Brahms and Debussy. Very tender and personal pieces, performed magnificently. An essential disc.