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REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers


Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924)
Piano Quartet No. 2 in G minor, Op. 45 (1887) [34:40]
Piano Trio in D minor, Op.120 (1923) [22:21]
Pasquier Trio
Jean Doyen (piano)
rec. May 1957, Salle Adyar, Paris

Here’s another excellent restoration by Forgotten Records devoted to the elevated art of the Pasquier Trio. The two Fauré performances come from Erato LDE 3064, an LP recorded in Paris in May 1957 and it means the disc’s total timing comes to something under an hour.

For the Piano Quartet No.2 the trio was joined by Jean Doyen who assists in no small measure in engendering that convincing sense of sweep and passionate devotion to be encountered in the best Fauré chamber performances. Rubati are excellently controlled—and never become too elastic, thus imperiling the essentially onward nature of this ardent work. Perhaps Doyen’s piano sounds a touch swimmy in the balance and not ideally defined against the three string instruments but that’s a function of the original recording not the restoration, which faithfully perpetuates it. Despite this rather cloaked and recessive demerit, dynamics register well in the thoughtfully played slow movement which is movingly done but never journeys to the sentimental side. The bracing finale marks a fine performance, the few demerits duly noted.

The more compact Piano Trio, where Jean and Etienne Pasquier are once again joined by Doyen is a more compact work than its confrere but though a much later creation it’s still suffused with the kind of elegant drama and refined expressive reserve that makes Fauré’s chamber music so attractive. The piano’s pregnant harmonies in the central Andantino and the strings’ yearning warmth, are rendered with just the right weight of objectivity by the trio. There is, again, no overbalancing into undue emotive phrasing, nor are vibrato speeds used to imperil the delicate balances struck in the music between extroversion and interior monologues. In every way, then, this is an eloquent performance and helped because Doyen’s piano is more centre-stage.

A muted Degas adorns the cover—no notes, as usual from this source—of this excellent disc.

Jonathan Woolf



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