The Strad Issue: January 2010
Musicians: Trio Wanderer, Antoine Tamestit (viola)
Composer: Fauré

The very word ‘Wanderer’ exudes German Romanticism and would lead one to expect the trio’s members to be most at home in Schubert, Mendelssohn and Schumann (which of course they are). On the present CD, however, the three Frenchmen offer – with the perfectly attuned collaboration of their compatriot Antoine Tamestit – beautifully idiomatic renditions of Fauré’s two piano quartets. The French composer was a great admirer and interpreter of Schumann, whose own piano quartet could have served as model for the present pieces. 

Fauré is unusually fond of unison writing for the strings, often switching from one pair of players to another within a phrase. The beautifully balanced and sonorous recording – to say nothing of the players’ unanimity of phrasing and vibrato – allows us to follow closely every such change of perspective. On the other hand, imitative passages bring the different personalities to the fore. Tamestit – who seems to agree with William Primrose’s dictum that a viola player should not ‘sit back and be modest’ – is an alert presence all along, and has his moment of glory in the G minor Quartet’s slow movement. Both scherzos go with a delightful lilt, but the players are not afraid of taking their time over a particularly attractive turn of phrase. This recording deserves to become a classic.

Carlos María Solare