The Strad's experts evaluate the latest string recordings
Fauré: Piano Quartets no.1 in C minor op.15 & no.2 in G minor op.45, Nocturne no.4 in E flat major op.36
Saturday, 01 May 2010
Hermitage String Trio, Kathryn Stott (piano)
Chandos CHAN 10582
Gabriel Fauré was an emotionally reserved figure of exquisite taste and eloquence, and always insisted that his music should be played absolutely straight if his immaculately crafted scores were to achieve their maximum effect. This is something that Kathryn Stott, one of the most outstanding of Fauréans, demonstrates to skin-tingling effect throughout this outstanding disc.
She could hardly have wished for more sympathetic and responsive partners than the members of the outstanding Hermitage String Trio. In the six years of its existence – 1982 Paganini Competition winner and London Philharmonic Orchestra (LPO) leader Boris Garlitsky joined founding members Alexander Zemtsov (LPO principal viola) and distinguished cellist Leonid Gorokhov in 2008 – this fine ensemble has established an international reputation for its virtuoso ease and musical integrity. Fauré’s Schumannesque string writing is not the most eloquent or idiomatic of the 19th century, yet these outstanding Russian players aerate and clarify even the most potentially opaque of timbres, and eloquently hint at darker undercurrents flowing below the music’s exquisite surfaces. They invest even the most urbane of phrases with a gentle espressivo intensity that captures the music’s tantalising restraint to perfection. Even by Ralph Couzens’s high standards, the engineering is exemplary, combining warmth, detail and weight to perfection.
From the May 2010 issue. Subscribe to The Strad or download our digital edition as part of a 30-day free trial.