A veil of mystery lies over this piano quartet. A deep Romantic longing is embedded in it. It stirs intensive emotions, delightfully. The origin of the piano quartet is equally shrouded in a mystery. Edgar Fauré dedicated his Piano Quartet No. 2 in G Minor (op. 55) to the German piano virtuoso Hans von Bülow, but the manuscript has no date, He never mentions it in any of his letters according to the Fauré-biographer Jean-Michel Nectoux. It was first performed on January 22, 1887.
Nectoux considers the composition of Fauré’s second piano quartet as a turning point in the evolution of Fauré’s style, what Fauré called “la seconde manière” (the second way). It is hard to do justice to Nectoux’ explanation in English, but I shall try nevertheless. He writes that the “second way ist the on eof artistic maturity: [Fauré] totally escapes the influences that explain the unequal success of his previous works. More and more a determinate, even violent language, the hallmark of his masterpieces, is supplanting the occasionally caressing softness of his first compositions.”
Nectoux speaks of an “absolute control” to which Fauré submitted his creativity, that is even more remarkable as this obsessive control never seem to stand in the way of multiple amazing musical ideas. Depth – this piano quartet has an incredible depth and it is worthwhile to let onesel be submerged by it. There is no use for any more words. Fauré’s music says all that is to be said.
The Piano Quartet No. 2 has been recorded by Antoine Tamestit (viola) and the Trio Wanderer.