Domus Ensemble / Susan Tomes

Gabriel Faure: Piano Quartets No.1 & 2

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Of all the members of the freshly formed Société Nationale de Musique Française, the chamber music of Gabriel Fauré was among the more successful and has endured most prominently into modern times. The two piano quartets , Opp. 15 and 45, are two of the finest examples of his extensive output. Both quartets are filled with Fauré's effortless lyricism, rich harmonies, and balanced voicing. The adagios of both quartets are among the most tender, sentimental, and beautiful in the repertoire. Performing these two masterpieces on this Hyperion reissue (celebrating their 30th anniversary) is the piano quartet Domus. The ensemble got a rather unconventional start, touring the English countryside in a 200-person portable domed concert hall, but quickly proved itself to be one of the most accomplished, venerable piano quartets in existence. This performance lives up to its reputation. Listeners will immediately notice the group's impeccable balance -- not always an easy feat for piano quartets -- as well as a robust sound quality, polished intonation, unified articulation, and broad tonal spectrum. What makes this recording so truly memorable, though, is the deep understanding of the score and an ability to translate that knowledge into a gripping performance that highlights every bit of Fauré's lyricism and passion. Even listeners well-acquainted with these two compositions will find new things to love about them with Domus' performance.

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