52,943 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger             Editor in Chief: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider

£11 post-free anywhere
Normal service resumed


100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas


Recordings of the Month


Che fai tù? - Villanelles

Cyrillus KREEK
The suspended harp of Babel

violin concertos - Ibragimova

Peteris VASKS
Viola concerto - Maxim Rysanov

The Complete Lotte Schöne


Beethoven String Quartets

Produzioni Armoniche

Seven Symphonic Poems

Shostakovich VC1 Baiba Skride
Tchaikovsky Symph 5 Nelsons

Vivaldi Violin Concertos




Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


CD: AmazonUK AmazonUS
Download: Classicsonline

Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924)
Piano Quintet No. 1 in D minor, Op. 89 (1905-6) [30:59]
Piano Quintet No. 2 in C minor, Op. 115 (1921) [32:17]
Cristina Ortiz (piano)
Fine Arts Quartet (Ralph Evans and Efim Boico (violins); Yuri Gandelsman (viola); Wolfgang Lanfer (cello))
rec. Performance Arts Center, Purchase College, Theater C, Purchase NY, 20-22 December 2007.
NAXOS 8.570938 [63:24] 


Experience Classicsonline

Gabriel Fauré was the youngest child in a family of six, the son of a school administrator and teacher with aristocratic connections. Encouraged as a child to pursue his musical interests, he was fortunate enough to study with Camille Saint-Saëns, with whom he maintained a close relationship until the elder composer’s death in 1921. Fauré would begin his career as a teacher and organist in smaller parishes, all the while composing songs. Ever self-critical, particularly where larger musical forms were concerned, it would be a few years into his career before he established himself as a major composer and pedagogue. Eventually his career would take him to the organ benches of several major Paris churches and to the directorship of the Paris Conservatoire, where his pupils would include the likes of Koechlin, Ravel and Nadia Boulanger to name but some of the stars.

Unlike many composers, Fauré seemed to have lived a charmed life, free from much of the poverty and personal stress that faced many of his predecessors and colleagues. He held steady jobs in worthwhile institutions throughout his career, was happily married and raised two sons. He lived to see his work internationally respected and left a legacy in the hands of several renowned composers that were his pupils. Consequently, his music reflects the serenity of his life. Although it never lacks passion, it seldom contains much angst, and as such has a soothing quality about it that makes most any work from his pen immediately appealing.

Harmonically, Fauré was a bridge figure between the romantics and the more modernist composers that were to be both his contemporaries and successors. Although often subtly adventuresome, his harmonic vocabulary never strays far afield and yet has a certain individuality that makes it both instantly appealing and rather difficult to play, given its tendency to turn right when you expect left, as it were.

These two major works of chamber music are nothing short of masterpieces, and show the care and time that Fauré took in composing them. At times dreamy, as in the opening movement of Op. 89 with its delicious d minor piano arpeggios, at others luminescent as in the gorgeous Andante of Op. 115. This is music that is indeed melodic, but not necessarily tuneful. In other words, a listener will get up having had a beautiful experience but perhaps not whistling any themes.

Cristina Ortiz and the Fine Arts Quartet are very welcome additions to endless supply of fine artists from Naxos, giving us performances that are marked by understated virtuosity, subtle shadings of color and finely honed ensemble playing. The strings perform with a shimmering uniformity of tone and the balance between the keyboard and strings is never off. Ms. Ortiz has had a distinguished career as a soloist, her early concerto recordings of Villa-Lobos and Shostakovich garnering her many rave reviews. Here as a chamber musician, she proves herself to be similarly superior, playing with verve and panache, and as a complete partner in the music making.

This is music of immeasurable elegance. Yes, there are technical challenges to be met, but this ensemble plays with such refined finesse that the only thing that comes across is beauty. These are performances in which a listener can simply luxuriate, thoroughly enjoying the wash of sound that comes out of the speakers. Let’s hope that these artists come together again soon. Perhaps some Brahms and Schumann? Shostakovich maybe? The possibilities are exciting just to think about!

Kevin Sutton

see also Review by Ian Lace September RECORDING OF THE MONTH



Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Pat and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Return to Review Index

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.