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Saint-Saens: Piano Quartets / Quartetto Avos

Album Summary

>Saint-Saëns, Camille : Quartet for piano & strings in E major
>Saint-Saëns, Camille : Quartet for Piano and Strings in B flat major, Op. 41
Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Thanks to his traditional upbringing, Saint-Saëns was a composer deeply rooted in the classical tradition, something particularly highlighted in his piano quartets. Rather than allowing himself to be caught up in new ideas taking hold in music, such as Debussy’s Impressionism, Saint-Saëns based his ideas on the great traditions of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven. This is not to say, though, that he was merely ‘borrowing’: indeed, as the quartets featured on this disc exemplify perfectly, Saint-Saëns was a master at creating highly original music out anachronistic forms. Far more than mere pastiche, the music pays homage to the composer’s various sources of inspiration. All aspects of timbre and style are explored in these two quartets, from the distinct flair of his light-hearted folky themes to the composer’s masterful approach to counterpoint writing. The sophisticated and demanding Quartet in E major is designated by the composer as an ‘exercise in style’, the second Andante movement almost concerto-like in its complexity. The Quartet in B flat major harks fleetingly back to Bach, as echoes of his chorales are heard in the second movement, concluding in a deceptively simple fugue-like motif. The challenges posed by Saint-Saëns, whether through the astonishingly varied styles or his eclectic mixture of periods and influences, are brilliantly tackled by Quartetto Avos. Winners of the 2009 International Vittorio Gui Award in Florence, the quartet was formed in 2007, and they have since toured internationally. Praised for their ability to create ‘a perfectly blended sound [] with unusual ease’ (Da Archi), the listener is rewarded with a professional yet highly emotional interpretation, perfectly suited to Saint-Saëns’s traditional but creative music. Other information * Recorded in 2012. * Contains notes on the composer and detailed notes on the works * Contains ensemble biography.

American Record Guide, March/April 2015
As a side note, this recording has the best notes for the amateur public (people who love music). After plowing through pages of notes for other discs, information on original sources for scores that might be of interest to one in a thousand listeners, it was were really clear. And extra points for black type on a white background, large enough that I didn't need a magnifying glass to read them.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Sala congressi del Parco naturalistico di Onara, Padua, (10/19/2012-10/20/2012).



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Works Details

>Saint-Saëns, Camille : Quartet for piano & strings in E major
  • Ensemble: Quartetto Avos
  • Notes: Sala congressi del Parco naturalistico di Onara, Padua, Italy (10/19/2012-10/20/2012)
  • Running Time: 9 min. 30 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Chamber Music
  • Written: 1853

>Saint-Saëns, Camille : Quartet for Piano and Strings in B flat major, Op. 41
  • Ensemble: Quartetto Avos
  • Notes: Sala congressi del Parco naturalistico di Onara, Padua, Italy (10/19/2012-10/20/2012)
  • Running Time: 32 min. 16 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Chamber Music
  • Written: 1875