Gabriel Fauré was a profound composer of chamber music. He
was one of the great romantic composers that France
produced during this era. His music speaks eloquently to our ears
today and his music is still widely played today. He was heavily
influenced by the music of Robert
Schumann, Franz Liszt, and Richard Wagner.
Gabriel Fauré was born in Ariege, Paris in 1845. His father immediately recognized his musical talent and sent him to Paris to study music. When Camille Saint-Saëns took over his teaching duties, he was finally introduced to the previously mentioned composers who had a string influence in his future compositions. He began to compose, and in 1865 he graduated from that school of music, winning first prize in composition.
He began his career as an organist in Rennes. He then enlisted in the army and upon his return to Paris he began the Society for the promotion of modern French composers along with other composers of the time. In 1887, he began to compose his most famous piece, Requiem, which was for string orchestra and choir. With this piece, his reputation grew and he was appointed as the professor of composition at the Paris Conservatoire. With the added income from this position, he could focus more on his work rather than worrying about his financial status.
At the age of 60 he was finally receiving the recognition he
deserved. His masterpiece, an opera called Penelope, was possibly
his greatest work, but due the bankruptcy of the opera house where
it was to be played, it never gained the respect that it deserved.
He slowly began to seclude himself due to the onset of deafness.
His pieces began to become more mellow as seen in Violin Sonata #2
and Cello Sonata #1. He retired from his position at the Paris
Conservatoire and he died in 1924.
His Famous Compositions
Although by no means a radical composer, Faure imbued his music
with elegance and melodic style that are entirely his own
concoctions. His pieces were so graceful that many are reminiscent
of Chopin. His notable pieces are his Requiem, Pelleas at
Melisande, Piano Quartet #1,
Op.15, Penelope, and Nocturnes. He also wrote a great String Quartet in E minor, op.
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