Deutsche Grammophon has previously released two recordings by Germany's Fauré Quartet. Mozart's piano quartets from 2005 was inappropriately heavy, and the 2007 version of Brahms' first and third piano quartets was unaccountably muscular. But in this 2004 release of Josef Suk's first Piano Quartet and Fauré's Second Piano Quartet, the quartet turns in near-perfect performances. Violinist Erika Geldsetzer, violist Sascha Frömberg, cellist Konstantin Heidrich, and pianist Dirk Mommertz are not only as tight, as together, and as vigorous as in their later DG recordings, but far closer to the spirit of the music. That makes sense in the case of the Fauré since the group did, after all, take its name from the French late Romantic composer, and the power, passion, and dedication of the performance is unswerving. The account of the rarely played Suk quartet is no less persuasive, making the achievement all the more impressive since the work is quite youthful -- it's the composer's Opus 1 -- and not nearly as original or as characteristic as his later works. The Fauré Quartet's performances make as compelling a case as has ever been made for the work and give the best proof possible of the group's excellence. Recorded in slightly too close but very immediate sound, this disc is well worth hearing by anyone who admires either composer, or who simply wants to hear superb chamber music performances.
AllMusic Review by James Leonard
|Klavierquartett a-moll, Op. 1|
|Klavierquartett Nr. 2 g-moll, Op. 45|