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Fauré

Recognized as the greatest French composer of his generation, Gabriel Fauré bridged the Romantic era and the 20th century with a sophistication that heralded the arrival of a significant new voice. From his art songs to the Requiem and beyond, we'll cover his life and music in this 5-part series.

 
Program 1

The first segment begins with a pair of short songs from very early on Fauré's career, "Le Papillon et la Fleur", and "Mai". Both were written when Fauré was only 16 years old, and they are stunningly beautiful. Next we hear Trois Romances sans paroles, "three romances without words" for piano. Fauré was adept at writing keyboard pieces, owing to his studies as an organ student. In line with this train of thought, we next move on to Cantique de Jean Racine, a five-minute piece written by Fauré for organ and choir. The version we hear is performed by an all-male chorus, with the higher registers sung by boys. Next is a piece called Allegro Symphonique, for four hands on piano. It began its life as a symphony written by Fauré when he was 20, then was adapted for piano a short time later. To end the segment, we hear a more mature piece by Fauré: Violin Sonata No. 1 in A Major.

Gabriel Fauré: “Le Papillon Et La Fleur”, Op. 1/1
Janet Baker, ms.; Geoffrey Parsons, p.
EMI 66320
2:14

Fauré: “Mai”, Op. 1/2
Gérard Souzay, bar.; Dalton Baldwin, p.
EMI 64079
2:04
 
Fauré: Trois Romances sans paroles, Op. 17
No. 1 in A-Flat Major, Andante quasi allegretto
No. 2 in A Minor, Allegro molto
No. 3 in A-Flat Major, Andante moderato
Charles Owen, p.
Avie 2240
6:46
 
Fauré: Cantique de Jean Racine, Op. 11
Choir Of St. John's College, Cambridge/Guest; Stephen
Cleobury, organ
Lon 436486
5:43
 
Fauré: Allegro Symphonique, Op. 68
Patrick De Hooge, Pierre-Alain Volondat, pnos.
Naxos 8.553638
6:27
 
Fauré: Violin Sonata No. 1 in A Major, Op. 13
Gil Shaham, v.; Akira Eguchi, p.
Canary 3
25:50
 

 

 

Program 2

We first hear a little bit of amusement: Souvenirs de Bayreuth, made up entirely of little Wagner quotes that transforms the Ring cycle into comical party music. Next is another short little song, "Après Un Rêve", reminiscent of a rough rejection Fauré went through in life. We then hear a solo trumpet piece, the "Vocalise", which displays Fauré's wonderful gift of melody, regardless of the instrument. This is also heard in Fauré's Elégie, played in this segment on cello in C minor. C minor also features in the Piano Quartet #1 in C minor, a much lengthier piece that proves that in addition to Fauré's status as a "master of miniatures" he was also very capable of long works as well. We then finish with another small piece: "Berceuse", for piano and violin.

Gabriel Fauré: Souvenirs De Bayreuth #1
Patrick De Hooge, Pierre-Alain Volondat, pnos.
Naxos 8.553638
0:44

Gabriel Fauré: Après Un Rêve, Op. 7/1
Janet Baker, s.; Geoffrey Parsons, p.
Hyperion A66320
2:04
 
Gabriel Fauré: Vocalise
Ray Mase, trp.; Diana Mase, p.
Summit 185
3:08
 
Gabriel Fauré: Elégie, Op. 24
Radio Symphony Orchestra of Berlin/Riccardo Chailly;
Lynn Harrell, vc.
Lon 414387
6:50
 
Gabriel Fauré: Piano Quartet #1 In C Minor, Op. 15
Beaux Arts Trio & Kim Kashkashian, vla.
Phil 422350
31:16
 
Gabriel Fauré: Berceuse
Jaime Laredo, v.; Margo Garrett, p.
Dorian 90153
3:49

 

Program 3

This segment begins with a short song titled "Mandoline", from L'Horizon Chimerique, then contrasts the somewhat joyous sounding piece with Nocturne No. 2, a beautiful mix of soft, moonlit passages combined with rambling restlessness. Then, with those little bits out of the way, we launch into Fauré's famous Requiem. We hear the whole thing, taking less than a minute to breathe for a moment in between. Fauré did not write his Requiem for anything in particular, instead writing it for his own enjoyment. It's an easy piece to learn for singers, and as a result is a popular piece for choir. We close the segment down with "Menuet" and "Pastorale", two short pieces from the Masques et Bergamasques Suite.

Fauré: “Mandoline” fr. L'Horizon Chimerique, Op. 118
Sanford Sylvan, bar.; David Breitman, p.
Nonesuch 79371
1:53

Fauré: Nocturne Op. 33 No. 2
Germaine Thyssen-Valentin, p.
Test 1262
5:44
 
Fauré: Requiem, Op. 48
Academy Of St. Martin In The Fields & Chorus/Neville Marriner;
Sylvia McNair, s.; Thomas Allen, bar.
Phil 446084
22:20, 13:20, 2:16
 
Fauré: Menuet & Pastorale fr. Masques Et Bergamasques Suite
Academy Of St. Martin In The Fields/Marriner
Argo 410552
6:46
Program 4

This segment begins with a short duet for soprano and baritone called "Pleurs d'or"--Tears of Gold. As established before, Fauré is a master of both the short and long forms, and what we hear next is one of his most famous, barring only the Requiem. We hear four sections of the Pelléas et Mélisande Suite, a set of incidental music written for a play in London. We revisit a short excerpt from the second section, but this time instead of orchestra it is played by piano and solo violin. Ten years before he wrote this music, he wrote the Madrigal de Shylock, another batch of incidental music for a play; we hear two pieces from it. Next is the Quartet for Strings in E minor, a piece composed toward the end of his life. We hear the 3rd movement, "Allegro". Next is the Dolly Suite, a collection of six pieces for piano, four-hands. They are about intimate and charming little details regarding a family Fauré was quite familiar with. The segment then closes with another short song, "Au Bord de L'eau", from Three Songs.

Gabriel Fauré: “Pleurs d'or”, Op. 72
Victoria De Los Angeles, s.; Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, b.;
   Gerald Moore, p.
EMI 64079
3:11

Fauré: Pelléas Et Mélisande Suite
   1. Prelude
   2. Andantino Quasi Allegretto
   3. Sicilienne
   4. Molto Adagio
Academy Of St. Martin In The Fields/Neville Marriner
Argo 410552
16:59
 
Fauré (arr. L. Auer): Pelleas Et Melisande, Op. 80
Akira Eguchi, pn.; Gil Shaham, vln.
Canary Classics 003
2:20; 1:32
 
Fauré: Madrigal De Shylock, Op. 57/2
   Chanson De Shylock, Op. 57/1
Gérard Souzay, t.; Dalton Baldwin, p.
EMI 64079
2:46
 
Fauré: Quartet For Strings In E Minor, Op. 121 -
   3. Allegro
Quatuor Ébène
Virgin 70875
7:42
 
Fauré: Dolly Suite
   Berceuse
   Mi, A-Ou
   Le Jardin De Dolly
   Kitty Valse
   Tendresse
   Le Pas Espagnol
Patrick De Hooge & Pierre-Alain Volondat, pnos.
Naxos 8.553638
13:42
 
Fauré: "Au bord de l'eau” fr 3 Songs, Op. 8
Victoria De Los Angeles, s.; Gonzalo Soriano, p.
EMI 5650612
2:24

 

Program 5

We begin the final segment on Fauré with a wonderful piece: Violin Sonata No. 2 in E minor, of which we hear the second movement. We then hear the "Barcarolle No. 4", a short piece played by a woman who studied with Fauré, and then the large and lengthy Piano Trio in D minor, written during the last year of Fauré's life. Despite how old he was, Fauré's music did not betray his age, and sounded as vivacious and as beautiful as his earlier music. Next we hear a flute piece called "Fantaisie", which Fauré composed as a test piece for the Paris Conservatorie. The next piece comes not from Fauré, but from a composer named Florent Schmitt, who composed In Memoriam Gabriel Fauré, a memorial piece that resembles almost nothing that Fauré ever composed. We then wrap the program up with a wonderful setting of Fauré's Pavane.

Gabriel Fauré: Violin Sonata #2 In E Minor, Op. 108, II
Renaud Capuçon, v.; Michel Dalberto, p.
Virgin Classics 708762
8:04

Fauré: Barcarolle, Op. 44 No. 4
Germaine Thyssen-Valentin, p.
Test 1262
3:47
 
Fauré: Piano Trio In D Minor, Op. 120
Beaux Arts Trio
Phil 422350
21:22, 1:21
 
Fauré: Fantaisie
Academy Of St. Martin In The Fields/Neville Marriner;
William Bennett, fl.
Argo 410552
5:38
 
Florent Schmitt: In Memoriam Gabriel Fauré, Op. 72
Academy Of St. Martin In The Fields/Marriner
Phil 446084
3:52
 
Fauré: Siciliene fr. Pelleas et Melisande, Op. 80 (excerpt)
Academy Of St. Martin In The Fields/Neville Marriner
Argo 410552
1:57
 
Fauré: Pavane (With Chorus)
Academy Of St. Martin In The Fields/Neville Marriner
Phil 410442
5:42
 
 

 

 

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