Saint-Saëns: Piano quartet in B flat major, Piano quintet in A minor, Barcarolle in F major – review

Fine Arts Quartet, Cristina Ortiz (piano)

Camille Saint-Saëns's affinity with Mendelssohn is perhaps nowhere more clear than in his chamber music. They both poured a surfeit of invention into their works for piano and strings, shaping their ideas with startling clarity and abundant charm, but in a sense Saint-Saëns came too late, living on until 1921, marooned in a style outpaced by Les Six. This recording reminds us that history has been unfair to Saint-Saëns. Cristina Ortiz is tremendous in the concerto-like piano writing of the quintet in A minor and the ferocious second movement of the B flat major quartet. The Fine Arts Quartet play with perfectly judged elegance throughout. A fine recording.

Stephen Pritchard

The GuardianTramp

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