These versions should be heard by anyone who cares about chamber music - Faure's works stand with the very finest, and always reveal new things with repeated hearings. Listening to them in a new version is a bit like looking at silver that has been newly buffed: the joy of the works and their particular sounds come across as never heard before. As a big fan of the Capucon brothers I was very keen to hear this, really, but had been put off by various reviews critical of the sound. There is quite a reverberant acoustic, with the piano sounding a bit clattering in loud passages. However this doesn't seem like a problem to me. The piano sonority comes across well across the range, except possibly at its loudest, and if the overall sonic picture is a bit strange - the sound is less welded into a unity than usual, as if the instruments are further apart - I find it perfectly acceptable and these players make me forget any reservations. They really form a combination made in heaven, and your attention often focuses on a detail of part writing in the strings. Gerard Causse brings out some of the viola writing more than I've heard before, while Gautier Capucon gives superb life to the cello line. To hear Renaud at his best you only need to sample the end of the Second Piano Quartet - a soaring passage that he plays with unprecedented yearning as it keens up in the stratosphere against the strangest harmonies. You feel as though it's pushing into another atmosphere altogether. The discs are a bit like the version of Falla's Nights in the Gardens of Spain with Martha Argerich and Daniel Barenboim on Erato: people said what a mess the live recording was, but it seemed to me that the spirit of the music still came through with unprecedented excitement. That disc has been through several re-editions, as it happens ... Here the spirit of Faure's world is encountered with great vividness on these discs, and they really are the interpretations of the present. It's also an asset to have the complete chamber works presented with two pianists, who inhabit a different sound world. The two Quintets show Faure taking his singular musical path to a rare degree of perfection, a bit like walking up a path in a Monet painting so that you are totally immersed in those daubs of colour and they take on an aura of profound truth.
on 26 November 2011
As others have mentioned: the technical quality of this recording is really a shame!
The only piece of music that sounds acceptable is the string quartet (already released) the others are extraordinary bad.
Especially in the piano quartets and quintets the piano sounds like recorded separately in another room (may be an empty bathroom?) far behind the strings, way to low and with a different resonance as the strings who sound flat and too lifeless.
The musicians play with energy and delicacy but somewhere between the microphones and the ears of the recording engineer something strange and unpleasant must have happened (didn't the musicians protest against the results?) which killed my willingness to listen twice to the recordings and to care much about the potential performance of the musicians and what might be their musical contribution to Fauré fans (such as I am).
Of course one accepts the modest sound quality of historic recordings and can nevertheless appreciate artistic performance and interpretation and listen with fun but for newborn recordings such a pathetic sound quality (even if the price is low) is inacceptable.
What a disappointment! I had some expectations as the performances of the Capuçons etc. (even if I do not always share their musical opinions) are always refreshing.