Thursday, August 28, 2014

VOX SVBX 5100: Faure Complete Chamber Music


Gabriel Faure Chamber Music (Complete)

String Quartet Op. 121 in E minor
Piano Quartets Op. 15 in C minor, Op. 45 in G minor
Piano Quintets Op. 89 in D minor, Op. 115 in C minor
Trio for Violin, Cello & Piano, Op. 120 in D minor

Jacqueline Eymar, piano

Gunter Kehr, violin
Bernhard Braunholz, cello
Erich Sichermann, viola
Werner Neuhaus, 2nd violin
Loewenguth Quartet

Pressing: US, purple label

Condition: NM

Date first published: ? (1960s) 

Stampers: N/A

Performance: 8/10

Sound: 7/10

Price range: $27 on popsike

Comments: I had read a number of rumors on the internet that this 1960s Vox boxed set of the complete chamber music of Gabriel Faure was something special.  Performances and sound quality were reportedly excellent.  Word on the street is that these recordings were engineered by the legendary pair of Aubort and Nickrenz, though I haven't been able to confirm this with any printed information inside the 3 LP set.  So, I decided to see for myself if this was all just hype and managed to land a NM copy from Irvington Music (located in Oregon).

My verdict: the rumors are somewhat true, though I wouldn't necessarily give this set legendary status.  There is some very fine and expressive playing on these records, comparable to the some of the best modern performances out there (i.e. Domus, Trio Wanderer, etc), and the sound is pretty good, leaning perhaps slightly towards the warm side.  The record surfaces are quiet, allowing more musical detail to be heard.  As far as chamber music recordings go, I have to admit that I have heard better and personally prefer the clarity and naturalness of Philips recordings of the 1970s (i.e. Quartetto Italiano, Beaux Arts Trio), but as far as complete sets of Faure chamber works, this may be the analog recording to get, and it shouldn't cost you an arm and leg.

For some reason, I was lead to believe that this boxed set was a rarity, but, on the contrary, I've seen several copies surface on Ebay, so one just has to keep an eye out for it.  


  1. I think I have a copy of this. I'll give it another listen and comment.

    1. Yes, I'm pretty sure you do have a copy of this. You once showed it to me. I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts after listening to it on your system.

  2. Likely I started the rumor over at audio asylum ? : ) In any case, what makes it special IMHO is the playing of Eymar on the piano. Beautiful combination of suppleness and clarity. I've since picked up the big analog French EMI box with the Parrenin Quartet (&co) and it's an excellent supplement, though the Loewenguth quartet on Vox captures Faure's half-lit beauties better. The Faure chamber music on Erato is to be avoided, big names notwithstanding. Dry dry dry.

    1. Haha, I'm not sure if it was you, John, but if it was, thanks for inspiring this post! I'd agree with you on Eymar's piano playing, which is very nice indeed. I'd like to listen to the French EMI box set ... I think I first heard these works on CD from that set when I was in high school, but it'd be great to revisit them on vinyl. Thanks for the heads up about Erato!

    2. No problem, and so happy to have stumbled upon your blog!