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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Award-Winning Performances, February 13, 2006
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This review is from: Faure: Piano Quartets Nos. 1 & 2 (Audio CD)
Just a short addition to the other fine reviews here: This recording by the UK ensemble Domus - along with the matching one of the Piano Quintets - was lavishly decorated by the British music press with many awards. Penguin gave both their coveted "Rosette" rating along with a "Recommended Recording" citing while Gramophone richly rewarded both CD's with the top "Gramophone Award" for chamber music that year. When these two major reviewers agree like that, one can be assured something special is there which is the case with this CD. (but the sound quality is hardly best-in-class).

Faure is something of a neglected French Romantic composer hiding in the shadows of Debussy, Ravel and others. Yet, his music is some of the most equisite, beautiful and rewarding - from the Violin Sonatas (Tomes/Osostowicz) to the Piano Trio (Floristan Trio w/Tomes) to the Piano Quartets here. All are worth hearing and exploring if you like chamber or French Romantic music.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars HEART AND SOUL, February 1, 2004
By 
DAVID BRYSON (Glossop Derbyshire England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Faure: Piano Quartets Nos. 1 & 2 (Audio CD)
This pair of performances won a Gramophone award a few years back. I also feel considerable enthusiasm for it, whether for the same reasons as the Gramophone judges I now can't remember.
Despite that award, this disc is attracting surprisingly little comment nowadays. The quartets seem absolutely marvellous music to me, but one of the practical barriers to a wider audience for them is probably that Faure's music is a frustrating combination of technically difficult and not at all showy. He was one of the most subtle and original harmonists there has ever been (the second quartet being very notable in this respect), and certainly as far as the piano writing is concerned he keeps taking one's fingers where they are not expecting to go. These accounts are outstanding for their naturalness and spontaneity. They probably make the music sound a lot easier than it actually is, and that is no doubt the nub of the matter because any sense of effort or struggle would kill music like this. It is all very `professional' in its way, but by today's standards not especially refined. The pianist in particular, while very accurate, is - what am I trying to say? - no Michelangeli. I have only one life, and this record has enhanced it. I can imagine smoother, but whether that would be better in any sense I could recognise I simply do not know, and I simply do not care.
A certain amount of dutiful comment sometimes attends the first quartet relating it to the composer's failed engagement. All this, in my personal view, is best ignored. Faure's emotions were doubtless as strong as Wagner's for all I know. The real point in that comparison is that they represent, musically, opposite poles. Wagner thought, not unreasonably, that he was riding the tide of history in his commitment to music that was not `absolute' in the sense that Bach's music was that, but which bound itself to an underlying poetic or dramatic idea. He had every reason to believe this - other than Chopin no composer that I can think of since Bach's time was an undiluted `absolute' musician. Then there was, abruptly, Brahms. Anything but unemotional, anything but indifferent to women, Brahms simply revived a tradition that had not died and only slept. Whatever their personal emotions, Brahms and Faure express music purely, as Bach had done - they do not use music to express something else. Listen to this wonderful music just for itself.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Faure, July 2, 2000
By 
"marcel195" (Victoria Australia) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Faure: Piano Quartets Nos. 1 & 2 (Audio CD)
I was apprehensive at first, being used to the Collard-style of Faure piano. "Who is Susan Tomes?" I thought. Well, I now know she is a great pianist who fits perfectly among the "Domus Quartet". This is really nice music; amongst the best of Faure's work. And these musicians really do it superbly. Not just for fans of Faure, all music lovers will appreciate this. And the quality of the recording is excellent. There isn't much in the way of inside-sleeve notes, but it comes in three languages so those studying French or German will certainly get their money's worth.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Treat yourself. From G. A. Monroe,, October 16, 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Faure: Piano Quartets Nos. 1 & 2 (Audio CD)
Are you kidding? If music were fine wine, this disc would be the {insert name of your favorite $1,000 bottle here}. Really, this is some of the most civilized music ever performed. The quartets are masterpieces on several levels, and the performers are nimble, sensitive virtuosi and in my opinion the very best on record in this genre. As with Domus' other contributions (see especially their Dvorak on Hyperion and their Brahms on Virgin Classics), if you get to know this disc the pieces will haunt you, in a happy way, from year to year. A desert-island disc if ever there was one, and a cornerstone of any chamber music collection. (I seem to recall this disc won the Grammophone and probably some other awards in 1986 or '87.) Domus, please re-unite and do a concert tour!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Domus Quartet and Faure's piano quartets - an outstanding recording, January 13, 2012
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This review is from: Faure: Piano Quartets Nos. 1 & 2 (Audio CD)
As other reviewers have pointed out, Gabriel Faure composed some exquisite chamber music, and it's surprising that it is infrequently performed. In his two piano quartets, Faure followed the Germanic quartet structure that was established by Haydn and Mozart. The first quartet was composed around 1877, early in his career, and first performed in 1880, but Faure was dissatisfied with the final movement and wrote a new one in 1883. The first movement's syncopated opening theme reminds me of Brahms. The solemn third movement is unforgettable.

Faure composed his second quartet in 1885-6. It is even less well know than the first quartet but is more original in style, with Faure's unique harmonies and key relationships. The opening theme is especially striking, and the lyrical slow movement verges on atonality at times. The last movement is quite energetic. This is a beautiful quartet and certainly deserves to be performed more frequently.

The Domus Quartet (1979-94) was an outstanding group that received awards for their performances on this CD as well as for other of their CD's. Their playing of these Faure quartets is faultless. The recording was made in 1985, and the sound quality is excellent. I do have one very slight quibble about these performances; it seems to me that the piano part tends to dominate the stringed instruments, often the case in recordings. That may be because of microphone location, but more likely it's due to the piano lid being fully open. I personally think that using the short support to open the piano lid only slightly makes for better balance between it and the strings in quartets and trios. The large dynamic range of the piano cannot be matched by the strings. Despite that, this a splendid recording that every Faure enthusiast should have. It also is an excellent introduction to Faure's chamber music for those who are unfamiliar with it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, October 31, 2010
This review is from: Faure: Piano Quartets Nos. 1 & 2 (Audio CD)
This is a superb disc, deserving every award it in fact received upon its original release. First of all, the sound quality is splendid; clear and warm and perfectly balanced, but even more importantly this is playing of the very highest quality. Musically, these are relatively early works (at least the first quartet), but Fauré's style, while not as dreamlike and melodically elusive as his later works, is clearly fully formed. The music does certainly not lack drama, but the textures are softer, more rarefied and gentle than in the music of many of his contemporaries.

The c-minor quartet is more playful (but intimate) than overtly dramatic - in fact, despite the tonality it is a relatively light-hearted work, even in the poignant and deep Adagio. It is a splendid work, but has in the end to yield to the remarkable g-minor quartet with its interesting counterpoints, strange but imaginative ornamentations and inventive developments. It is a journey of remarkable, individual material, it contains a welter of fantastic ideas, and one is often surprised by the almost unpredictable directions in which the music takes us.

The pianist is prominent throughout both works, and fortunately Susan Tomes's navigates the tricks, wonders and colors with utter conviction, espousing color and drama while always keeping in total balance with the ensemble. With wonderful string playing it is really hard to imagine a better case for these superb works; urgently recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The famous prize winning recording, now close to 30 years old., July 12, 2013
By 
Greifenklau (Rockville, MD USA) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Faure: Piano Quartets Nos. 1 & 2 (Audio CD)
This recording, made by the group Domus, is still admirable for its grace, virtuosity and subtlety. The Domus group disbanded after recording just about all of the piano quartet literature worth hearing. My copy was the reissue that came out a few years ago, and I think the sound is not quite as good as the original Domus recordings and the later ones by the Florestan trio, with Susan Tomes again the pianist. I was interested specially in the second piano quartet in G minor which begins to hint at Faure's later style, which is more reserved, harmonically unique, not heart-on-sleeve romantic, often subtle and a bit far-away. Gorgeous, and very moving.
Listening again to this recording now in comparison with the more recent one by the Trio Wanderer, I find each corrects the slight excesses of the other. The Domus group tends to take more time with the atmospheric stretches, especially the third slow movement, and perhaps its a bit too slow. The brilliant Trio Wanderer play faster, do not give in to the temptation to linger over the lyrical sections. But in their faster and more aggressive performance, they sacrifice some of the Faure magic which the Domus captures. My suggestion: get both recordings. Both terrific, and each suits one at different times.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Superbly Played, April 19, 2014
This review is from: Faure: Piano Quartets Nos. 1 & 2 (Audio CD)
I feel sure it would be difficult to find a better recorded or better played recording of these pieces by Faure. There is a lot of this composer's music I admire, most particularly the choral works and his compositions for solo piano. These works are very much (to my mind or ear) in the Romantic tradition of composers like Brahms, Schumann and Mendelssohn. The first is the most popular because it has the more memorable tunes and is gracefully persuasive and seductive. The opening movement is broad in character with an expansive rather sweeping melodic line that is rather grand. The second movement is a playful dance like movement led by the piano accompanied throughout by kind of obligato from the strings which is sometimes plucked and sometimes bowed. The slow movement is languorous and somber. The last movement has something of the character and irrepressible joyousness of Mendelssohn.

Once you get into this work you can explore the second which, for the sake of not overdoing things here, I will leave for you discover yourself.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Gabriel Faure: Piano Quartets No.1 & 2, August 20, 2011
By 
Bjorn Viberg (European Union) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Faure: Piano Quartets Nos. 1 & 2 (Audio CD)
Gabriel Faure: Piano Quartets No.1 & 2 is a 1985 Hyperion Records Limited recording played by Domus. The sound quality is nothing short of superb. A very fine performance by Domus. Highly recommended indeed. 5/5.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great recording, September 30, 2005
By 
G. Metcalf (United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Faure: Piano Quartets Nos. 1 & 2 (Audio CD)
Like on their recordings of his quintets Domus does a beautiful job here. These two pieces are from earlier in Faure's life than the quintets and so are simpler and perhaps more easily approached. The piano writing is great and beautifully played by Tomes. Strongly recomended to fans of romantic era chamber music and to fans of western art music more generally. The recording quality is up to the excellent standards of Hyperion.
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Faure: Piano Quartets Nos. 1 & 2
Faure: Piano Quartets Nos. 1 & 2 by Gabriel Faure (Audio CD - 1993)
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