Composed in 1879, César Franck's smoulderingly intense and ambitiously plotted Piano Quintet requires considerable discernment of expression and a steady hand on the structural tiller if it is not to outstay its welcome—which is precisely what it gets on this superbly eloquent new collaboration. Marc-André Hamelin's contribution displays a patrician elegance and unruffled authority that recall Clifford Curzon's classic partnership with the Vienna Philharmonic Quartet for Decca from the early 1960s, and he generates a magnetic rapport with the members of the Takács Quartet at their gloriously articulate best. Perhaps leader Edward Dusinberre's vibrato is just a tad intrusive in the expectant opening measures, but thereafter the performance silences criticism in its blistering dedication, cogent sweep and breathtaking poise (the intimate Lento con molto sentimento slow movement, with its gently persistent clash of minor and major, is essayed with especial perception). The Franck comes in harness with Debussy's lone String Quartet, which enjoys as bewitchingly refined, sensually charged and transparently voiced a rendering as I've encountered in many a moon. A classy pairing, make no mistake, both finely engineered and judiciously balanced. An enthusiastic thumbs up!