The Hermitage String Trio
Recorded in: Potton Hall Studio, Westleton, Suffolk 24-26 April 2009
Pianist Kathryn Stott and the Hermitage String Trio bring maximal force to the outer movements of Faure's two piano quartets. After all, the word "molto" is used to describe the basic tempo in all four movements, and the music itself has a driven quality that requires focused intensity. The English pianist and the Russian string players also have admirable unanimity of ensemble. Stott and the Hermitage musicians are in tight here, hitting their marks and keeping their attacks unified. The slow movements, though, seem strained in tone, as if Stott wanted one tempo and the Russians another, and the result never quite gels into a cogent and compelling performance. Filled out with Stott's sensitive reading of the same composer's Nocturne No. 4, and recorded in lush if perhaps too- close digital sound, this disc, fine as it is in parts, will not challenge the great recorded performances of the past.
All Music Guide
Following an invitation from Saint-Saens, Faure joined the Societe Nationale de Musique in 1871. Here he became acquainted with Franck, D'Indy, Bizet and other prominent French musicians. The Society set itself the mission of promoting French music and offering a forum for the circulation of orchestral and chamber works. The Society was to have a great influence on Faure. In an interview in 1922, he spoke "The truth is that, before 1870, I would not have dreamt of composing a sonata or quartet. Only when Saint- Saens founded the Societe did I set about doing so." And in fact almost all Faure's chamber works had their premieres under the auspices of the Societe Nationale de Musique.
Kathryn Stott is an internationally acknowledged interpreter of Faure's piano music. BBC Music Magazine recently wrote, 'Kathryn Stott reinforces her position as one of the finest Faure interpreters of her generation'. She has also been behind several major festivals and concert series. For her involvement in 'Faure and the French Connection' she was appointed Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Arts et Lettres by the French government. She has long wished to record Faure's hauntingly beautiful two piano quartets, but was looking for the right ensemble. She has found that in the form of the Hermitage String Trio, a group she has toured with on a number of occasions. The Strad recently wrote of the group, "This ensemble will do much to put more string trio repertory on the musical map" The quartets are presented with the solo piano work, Nocturne No.4; a unique combination and fresh interpretations, recorded in warm Chandos sound.
Founded in 2004, The Hermitage String Trio soon established itself as among the finest ensembles of its type. Steeped in the renowned Russian tradition of string playing, the members of this European-based Russian trio possess a love of chamber music that shines through in their programmes