Gabriel Fauré, classical music composer

Gabriel Fauré

Biography

Gabriel Fauré (born May 12, 1845), a prominent French composer of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, is often seen as bridge between the last remnants of Romanticism and the oncoming modern era. Unlike many composers, Fauré's family was not particularly musical, yet he did show an early affinity for music. When Fauré was four years old, his father was appointed director of the École Normale at Montgauzy. A chapel was attached to the school and the young Fauré spent hours there playing the harmonium. In 1853, when an official of the National Assembly of France heard the boy playing, he advised Fauré's father to send him to a new music school being formed in Paris under the direction of Louis Niedermeyer—the École de Musique Classique et Religieuse (School of Classical and Religious Music). The following year, Fauré's father took him to Paris to study music.

Niedermeyer's school was rigorous but the musical tuition was excellent. Fauré studied all the necessary aspects of composition—harmony, counterpoint and fugue—as well as piano and organ. In 1861, Niedermeyer died and Camille Saint-Saëns replaced him as head of piano studies. Saint-Saëns introduced his students, among them Fauré, to the contemporary music of Germany's leading composers—Robert Schumann, Franz Liszt and Richard Wagner. Fauré and Saint-Saëns became close friends during this time; a friendship that lasted until Saint-Saëns's death many decades later. When Fauré completed his schooling in 1865, he left as a Laureat in organ, piano, harmony and composition and had won premiers prix in composition for the composition Cantique de Jean Racine.

Fauré's first appointment was as chief organist at the Church of Saint-Sauveur at Rennes in Brittany. He spent four years there, though Fauré was not satisfied with the position. After arriving for Sunday Mass still wearing his evening clothes from the previous night, he was asked to resign his position. He was quickly able to secure another organist position, though at the outbreak only a few months later of the Franco-Prussian War, Fauré enlisted in the military. Once the war had ended and Fauré was able to return to Paris in 1871, he took up the position of choirmaster at the Église Saint-Sulpice under the composer and organist Charles-Marie Widor. During this time, he became a member of the Société Nationale de Musique along with France's other leading musical figures, such as, César Franck, Vincent d'Indy and Jules Massenet.

 

Fauré's fortunes soon took a turn for the worse. Though his violin sonata of 1877 was a great success, Fauré's reputation as a composer did not readily take off. Furthermore, a broken engagement with Marianne Viardot, whom he was very much in love with, lead to bouts of depression. In an effort to help his friend recover, Saint-Saëns took Fauré to Weimar in 1877 and introduced him to Liszt. The following year, he made trips to see Wagner's operas in Cologne, Munich and Bayreuth.

In 1883, Fauré married Marie Fremiet, daughter of the French sculptor Emmanuel Fremiet and the couple had two sons. In order to support his family, Fauré ran the daily services of the Église de la Madeleine and taught private piano and harmony lessons. This schedule left him little time for composing. Nevertheless, he wrote several large-scale works and piano pieces during this time. Many of these pieces he destroyed himself, keeping only portions for re-use later.

In 1892, Fauré was considered for the position of professor of composition at the Paris Conservatoire. The administration of the Conservatoire, however, thought Fauré's music far too modern and his nomination was blocked by the Conservatoire's head, Ambroise Thomas. A few years later in 1896, Thomas had passed away and the Conservatoire's new head, Théodore Dubois appointed Fauré as professor of composition. Among some of his pupils were Maurice Ravel and Nadia Boulanger. Nearly a decade later, in 1905, a scandal involving the winner of the Prix de Rome, forced the resignation of Dubois and Fauré took his place as head of the Conservatoire. Under Fauré's leadership, and with the support of the French government, many changes were made to the curriculum, including some that made the more traditional faculty members resign their positions. As head of the Conservatoire, Fauré became more widely known as a composer, though he still had little time to compose. With the working year over in July, he left Paris each year for two months to focus on composing, usually on one of Switzerland's lakes.

Beginning around 1911, Fauré began to gradually lose his hearing and in 1920, he retired as head of the Conservatoire. His health continued to deteriorate over the following years and on November 4, 1924 he died of pneumonia at the age of 79.


Composer Title Date Action
Gabriel Fauré Nocturne Op. 33 No. 3 01/20/2009 Play Add to playlist
Gabriel Fauré Après un rève 03/27/2011 Play Add to playlist
Gabriel Fauré Après un Rêve 01/27/2011 Play Add to playlist
Gabriel Fauré Après un Rêve 01/22/2009 Play Add to playlist
Gabriel Fauré Impromptu No. 2 in f minor, Op. 31 07/04/2010 Play Add to playlist
Gabriel Fauré Piano Quartet in C minor, Op. 15 11/10/2011 Play Add to playlist
Gabriel Fauré Piano Quartet in C minor, Op. 15 01/14/2009 Play Add to playlist
Gabriel Fauré Piano Quartet in C minor, Op. 15 09/01/2011 Play Add to playlist
Gabriel Fauré From Requiem: Libera me Domine (James Morris) 10/01/2011 Play Add to playlist
Gabriel Fauré From Requiem: Hostias 06/27/2010 Play Add to playlist
Gabriel Fauré Nocturne in e-flat minor, Op. 33, No. 1 06/23/2012 Play Add to playlist
Gabriel Fauré Nocturne in e-flat minor, Op. 33, No. 1 01/20/2009 Play Add to playlist
Gabriel Fauré Nocturne in e-flat minor, Op. 33, No. 1 01/19/2009 Play Add to playlist
Gabriel Fauré Nocturne No.6, Op. 63 in D-flat Major 03/15/2012 Play Add to playlist
Gabriel Fauré Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 1, Op. 13 02/10/2011 Play Add to playlist
Gabriel Fauré Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 1, Op. 13 11/04/2010 Play Add to playlist
Gabriel Fauré Adieu 03/24/2009 Play Add to playlist
Gabriel Fauré Cinq melodies “de Venise”, Op. 58 01/15/2009 Play Add to playlist
Gabriel Fauré Impromptu No. 3 in A-flat Major, Op. 34 06/23/2012 Play Add to playlist
Gabriel Fauré Piano Quartet No. 2 in G Minor, Op. 45 10/13/2011 Play Add to playlist
Gabriel Fauré Piano Quartet No. 2 in G Minor, Op. 45 12/11/2011 Play Add to playlist
Gabriel Fauré Les Berceaux 01/27/2011 Play Add to playlist
Gabriel Fauré Morceau de Concours 07/11/2013 Play Add to playlist
Gabriel Fauré Morceau de Concours 12/30/2009 Play Add to playlist
Gabriel Fauré Morceau de Concours 01/24/2009 Play Add to playlist
Gabriel Fauré Morceau de Concours 01/10/2009 Play Add to playlist
Gabriel Fauré Nell 02/28/2011 Play Add to playlist
Gabriel Fauré Piano Quintet No. 1 in d minor, Op. 89 05/21/2009 Play Add to playlist
Gabriel Fauré Après un Rêve 05/02/2014 Play Add to playlist
Gabriel Fauré Élégie in C minor Op. 24 05/12/2014 Play Add to playlist
Gabriel Fauré Piano Trio in D minor, Op. 120 06/16/2014 Play Add to playlist
Gabriel Fauré Piano Quartet in C minor, Op. 15 10/28/2014 Play Add to playlist
Gabriel Fauré Morceau de Concours 06/12/2015 Play Add to playlist
Gabriel Fauré Piano Quartet No.2, Op.45 01/24/2016 Play Add to playlist
Gabriel Fauré Après un Rêve 04/01/2016 Play Add to playlist
Gabriel Fauré Berceuse in D Major, Op.16 06/07/2016 Play Add to playlist
Gabriel Fauré Élégie in C minor Op. 24 06/16/2016 Play Add to playlist
Gabriel Fauré Sicilienne, Op. 78 06/16/2016 Play Add to playlist
Gabriel Fauré Papillon, Op. 77 06/16/2016 Play Add to playlist
Gabriel Fauré Cello Sonata No. 2, Op. 117 (Andante) 06/30/2016 Play
Gabriel Fauré Piano Quartet in C minor, Op. 15 09/21/2016 Play Add to playlist