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Posted June 10, 2013
Excellent performances of chamber works from Saint-Saens!
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.
Posted April 24, 2013
The Fine Arts Quartet have been championing lesser-known chamber works by major composers on the Naxos label. Their recording of the Saint-Saëns string quartets was wonderful, and now the ensemble has returned (along with pianist Cristina Ortiz) to play works for piano and string quartet. The great thing about this CD is that it covers three very different periods in Saint-Saëns' life (his late teens / early 20's, his 40's, and his 60's). Although the pieces should sound significantly different from each other, they actually blend well together, which isn't a bad thing. These works don't stand out among Saint-Saëns' finest works, but they do offer a charming panorama of some of his more intimate works.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.