Saint-Saens: Piano Quartet; Piano Quintet; Barcarolle / Cristina Ortiz, piano

> Piano Quartet in B flat major, Op. 41 - I. Allegretto
> Piano Quartet in B flat major, Op. 41 - II. Andante maestoso ma con moto
> Piano Quartet in B flat major, Op. 41 - III. Poco allegro piu tosto moderato - Allegro non troppo - Allegro - Molto allegro - Presto - Prestissimo
> Piano Quartet in B flat major, Op. 41 - IV. Allegro - Mouvement du premier morceau - Allegro non troppo - Tempo primo
> Barcarolle in F major, Op. 108 - Barcarolle in F major, Op. 108
> Piano Quintet in A minor, Op. 14 - I. Allegro moderato e maestoso
> Piano Quintet in A minor, Op. 14 - II. Andante sostenuto
> Piano Quintet in A minor, Op. 14 - III. Presto
> Piano Quintet in A minor, Op. 14 - IV. Allegro assai, ma tranquillo

Album Summary

>Saint-Saëns, Camille : Quartet for Piano and Strings in B flat major, Op. 41
>Saint-Saëns, Camille : Barcarolle for Violin, Cello, Organ and Piano in F major, Op. 108
>Saint-Saëns, Camille : Quintet for piano & strings in A minor, Op. 14
Performers Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Saint-Saëns holds a vital place in the history of French chamber music. At a time when his compatriots were more devoted to opera and song, Saint-Saëns (who wrote both, too) repeatedly produced chamber music of compelling individuality and lasting significance. The 1875 Piano Quartet in B flat major, Op. 41 remains one of the great works in the chamber repertory, a masterful example of the composer's organizational skill and lyric gifts. The gorgeous Barcarolle is followed by the youthful Piano Quintet in A minor, Op. 14, a brilliantly confident work with a concerto-like role for the piano.

MusicWeb International, 26th April 2013
A gorgeous programme of Saint-Sadns' beguiling chamber music played with great authority and flair.

Gramophone Magazine, May 2013
The performances could hardly be more finely attuned to the technical challenges, while the composer's own booklet-notes set the scene succinctly...As a 'feast for the senses', Whalley's music demonstrably has much to recommend it.

The Observer, 2nd June 2013
The Fine Arts Quartet play with perfectly judged elegance throughout. A fine recording.

American Record Guide, September/October 2013
This new Naxos of the piano quartet is simply wonderful; it has all the best elements of the other recordings. The sound is as good as the MDG - which was actually a surprise. The playing is smooth and rich. The phrasing is ideal; and the last movement is not rushed, so it builds nicely. The Piano Quintet is earlier and rarer. It is natural to combine these two works, and no one else seems to have done it. The Nash ensemble does include it and it's much better played than the Piano Quartet. In fact, if you like a very dominant piano, Ian Brown plays that way on Hyperion. He's very good. I want the piece in my collection, and I'd be happy with either the Nash Ensemble or the new Naxos. The Barcarolle was originally written with a harmonium, originally played by the composer. I'd like to hear that. It's a nice piece. This is a very recent American recording, and it belongs with the very best - as do the performances.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Concert Hall of the Performing Arts Center, Purchase Co (03/26/2012-03/29/2012).



Reviews

A fine disc for exploring a bit of Saint-SaŽns' chamber music
The Fine Arts Quartet have been championing lesser-known chamber works by major composers on the Naxos label. Their recording of the Saint-SaŽns string quartets was wonderful, and now the ensemble has returned (along with pianist Cristina Ortiz) to play works for piano and string quartet. The great thing about this CD is that it covers three very different periods in Saint-SaŽns' life (his late teens / early 20's, his 40's, and his 60's). Although the pieces should sound significantly different from each other, they actually blend well together, which isn't a bad thing. These works don't stand out among Saint-SaŽns' finest works, but they do offer a charming panorama of some of his more intimate works.
Submitted on 04/24/13 by mwilcox15 
Excellent performances of chamber works from Saint-Saens!
This CD consists of Camille Saint-Saens Piano Quartet in B-flat Major, Op. 41, his Barcarolle in F Major, Op. 108, and the Piano Quintet in A-minor, Op. 14.

It is difficult to know where to begin, as the entire disc is sooooooooo good! The Piano Quartet is marvelously performed, with just the right amount of light-handedness when appropriate, and lyrical but purposeful phrases from the piano applying driving pressure but without dominating. This is fine chamber music making, and the Fine Arts Quartet w/ Ms. Ortiz does a fantastic job here. The piece is evocative, captivating, and provocative. I must confess to listening to it again and again.

The Barcarolle is a wonderful choice as the middle piece, breathing and flowing while the piano makes point after point. This is a piece that is not heard often, and that is a shame because it is truly wonderful.

The disc finishes with the Piano Quintet, and again the Fine Arts Quartet and Ms. Ortiz bring this work to dramatic life right from the get-go. The work swirls and builds to crescendo after crescendo, with astonishing sensitivity throughout. The Andante movement is just a treat, and the closing Allegro movement is marvelously played and has a very organic feel to it.

I have nothing negative to say about this recording. It is fantastic! Highly Recommended.

Submitted on 06/10/13 by KlingonOpera 
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Works Details

>Camille Saint-Saëns (1835 - 1921) : Quartet for Piano and Strings in B flat major, Op. 41
  • Performers: Ralph Evans (Violin); Nicolò Eugelmi (Viola); Cristina Ortiz (Piano); Robert Cohen (Cello)
  • Ensemble: Fine Arts Quartet
  • Notes: Concert Hall of the Performing Arts Center, Purchase College, State University of New York, Purchase (03/26/2012-03/29/2012)
  • Running Time: 31 min. 7 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Chamber Music
  • Written: 1875

>Camille Saint-Saëns (1835 - 1921) : Barcarolle for Violin, Cello, Organ and Piano in F major, Op. 108
  • Performers: Nicolò Eugelmi (Viola); Efim Boico (Violin); Cristina Ortiz (Piano); Robert Cohen (Cello)
  • Notes: Concert Hall of the Performing Arts Center, Purchase College, State University of New York, Purchase (03/26/2012-03/29/2012)
  • Running Time: 9 min. 14 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1897

>Camille Saint-Saëns (1835 - 1921) : Quintet for piano & strings in A minor, Op. 14
  • Performer: Cristina Ortiz (Piano)
  • Notes: Concert Hall of the Performing Arts Center, Purchase College, State University of New York, Purchase (03/26/2012-03/29/2012)
  • Running Time: 30 min. 6 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Chamber Music
  • Written: 1855