VOX SVBX 5100
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
Pressing: US, purple label
Date first published: ? (1960s)
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.