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FRANCK String Quartet in D major / Piano Quintet in F minor

Cristina Ortiz & Fine Arts Quartet

Naxos 8.572009

Piano quintets are often problematic and successful performances cannot be taken for granted.

A work about which I have had mixed feelings, Cesar Franck's Piano Quintet receives here the best recorded account I have known, superbly balanced and with a rare "rightness" of feeling.

Here's a reminder that "youth" isn't everything and that maturity has a lot to offer. The venerable Fine Arts Quartet (three of them have played together for twenty-five years) bring the fruits of experience and Cristina Ortiz is their ideal collaborator; hear them together also in Fauré’s Piano Quintets [8.570938].

Played second (recommended) the three-quarter hour string quartet is given a great performance here; paced with discretion, maintaining pulse and flow without short-term point making, it emerges as one of the great string quartets and a vindication of Franck's cyclical composing method.

I should like to hear them give it in London and a perfect programme would have it coupled with, say, Beethoven's Op 127, and the Franck second...

At Naxos price, don't let it slip by.

Peter Grahame Woolf