Fauré Quartett plays Fauré‘s Quartets
If a chamber music ensemble can stand together in the same lineup for 25 years, it must be doing something right. The Fauré Quartett can be assumed to be doing so: As one of the world's leading piano quartets, the for musicians are at the zenith of chamber music, touring the world's most important venues and breaking down musical boundaries with their recordings. Their Pop Songs album was followed by Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition and Rachmaninov’s Études-Tableaux in 2018, which have never been heard so rousingly before. On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of its foundation, the quartet turns its attention to a composer who is at the same time both long overdue and right now perfectly fit to be recorded properly: Gabriel Fauré.
“The individual members of our group are really closely connected, and this carries a risk: maintaining just what music such as Fauré’s needs, the unpredictable, a sense of flight, of lightness of being, but also the depth that lies within it,” comments Dirk Mommertz as he prepares to re-engage with the composer’s piano quartets, works which at their core start from the beginning without actually ever being at the beginning. “One discovers much that is wonderful in Fauré’s music, from the darkest depths in the slow C minor movement, to the airiness and cheerfulness of some of the art songs we arranged and recorded”, says Mommertz, adding how he finds it “incredibly challenging to cope with such emotional fluctuations along with all the imponderables as a member of an ensemble that has been rehearsing this music for over twenty years now. But it is exactly this that has perhaps driven us to rethink just about everything as much as possible. You have to look for a truth that offers validity.”
The Fauré Quartet has fond memories of these phases of self-exploration and laying the foundations of a piece. The quartet was able to afford the luxury of independent maturity, and managed to transform the apparent shortcoming of such a fixed instrumentation into a quality. It is not a trio that treats itself to a pianist, neither is it a string quartet that gives one violin a temporary leave of absence, and nor is it a piano soloist who enhances inherent keyboard timbres by augmenting these with a few extra string players. It remains an ensemble that takes itself seriously in its particularity and benefits from the qualities of four characters who can stand up to each other even over long stretches of time. And it is a team that does not see itself as too superior not to practice the same thing over and over again until a point is reached at which an invisible boundary is crossed, one that leads from mere interpretation to actual embodiment. After a quarter of a century, this constellation of players has succeeded with Fauré. Which does not mean that the music performed on stage or encountered in the next musical melee will not sound different again. And why not, for this is all about the flow of sonic events.