There are two reasons why I bought this CD, the first being that it is wonderful music; nuanced, sensitive, interesting, moving and very listenable, the second being that the performance here is absolutely first rate. I haven't heard Kathryn Stott in any other repertoire but her performances here are absolutely magical. She really understands how to give a musical phrase a sense of forward motion; growing, building, slackening somewhat, then growing again. Much of the music is tremendously challenging, technically, and not always 'easy listening.' Rather, though it can easily fit into the background of just about any daily activity, (besides driving, unless you have a Rolls Royce and can't hear the other cars honking along - Faure and honking don't really go together) it ought to be listened to properly. Stott's sensitive touch is enormously attractive and works on every level and she manages to find the perfect balance between Romanticism (Schumann occasionally comes to mind, if not harmonically at least in the overall feel of much of the music) and what can be called 'Impressionism.' My favourite Debussy players don't over pedal and the same ought to be said of Faure. The music neither needs it nor asks for it. Stott's 'filigree' linings to the gorgeous harmonies and shards of melody generally glisten rather than float above the music. The overall effect is quite superb. There are 13 Nocturnes here, to me slightly more like Chopin Ballades than they are like Chopin Nocturnes, and I think that it is in these pieces that Stott shines most brightly. However, the Impromptus are also very beautiful indeed. A similar level of excellence is inherent in the pieces for piano duet and in all of the other solo pieces. A lovely set of CDs that I could happily listen to over and over again!
She has qualities but they do not serve Faure well, especially with regard to rhythmic clarity - Faure insisted that rubato be controlled.
There are quite a few complete sets of Faure. I've owned most of them. Of these, I think the the Jean Doyen Box Set (Erato) is without equal. He was a favoured pupil of Marguerite Long, who was a favoured pupil and interpreter of Faure himself. In the Jean Doyen collection you'll get something close to the composers intentions, without indulgent rubato or unecessary effects. They are highly recommended. You will hear the proper flow, the rhythmic detail & harmonic nuances that get missed or glossed over in Stott's hazy interpretations.
The just reissued set of Jean-Philippe Collard (Brilliant Classics) are also very strong and at a great price...recommended! The Jean Hubeau set (Erato/Warner Classics) is technically uneven, despite one of the most sublime recordings of a piano I've ever heard...bit of a shame, though worth hearing just for the recording, and it has it's performance moments.
If you want to hear the subtleties of Faure, and Faure is often concerned with forensic, fleeting subtleties ... you will find them in Jean Doyen, or Jean-Philippe Collard. Get both if you can.