Album: Franck/Fauré, String Quartets (Hyperion)

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The Independent Culture

Any list of famous Belgians ought to include the 19th-century composer César Franck, though he later became a pillar of the French musical establishment, revered as a rigorous teacher.

Yet as his handful of late masterpieces shows, a fierce passion burned within him. Written just before his death in an accident in 1890, his only string quartet pumps with nervous energy and heady hothouse emotions, brilliantly realised here by the Dante players. They pair it with the subtler and more reticent 1924 string quartet by Gabriel Fauré, again his last work and his only one in the medium.

Pick of the Album: The secretive, interior world of Franck's slow movement