Gabriel Fauré

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Gabriel Fauré, 1905

Gabriel Urbain Fauré [ ɡabʁiɛl yʁbɛ̃ fɔ'ʁe ] (born May 12, 1845 in Pamiers , Département Ariège , Midi-Pyrénées; †  November 4, 1924 in Paris) was a French fin de siècle composer , who was mainly vocal, piano - and wrote chamber music. In 1877 his teacher Camille Saint-Saëns certified that he had joined the ranks of the masters with his first sonata for piano and violin (A major, op. 13), his most played work to this day. Fauré's pieces are characterized by “perfume-free charm and tamed melancholy”. His students included Nadia Boulanger , George Enescu , Reynaldo Hahn , Charles Koechlin and Maurice Ravel .


Gabriel Fauré, the youngest son of six children of a school principal, grew up not far from Carcassonne at the foot of the Pyrenees . Like many of his contemporaries, he was first given to a wet nurse , later taught by a tutor , and then went to boarding school . He was able to play a harmonium early on , which was in a nearby chapel. At the age of eight he already played the piano excellently. In 1854, the nine-year-old was accepted into Louis Niedermeyer's Paris School of Church Music. After the death of the Swiss composer, from 1861 on, Camille Saint-Saëns, who was ten years his senior, took on the young Fauré; they stayed lifelong friends. In the Franco-Prussian War of 1870/1871, Fauré was involved as a courier for an infantry regiment. When he returned home, he was one of the founding members of the Société Nationale de Musique in 1871 .

Fauré worked as an organist from an early age without being particularly religious. After a few years in Rennes he got a position as organist in Paris in 1870, where he stayed from then on. However, the organists were poorly paid; Fauré also worked with choirs and gave piano lessons. When he appeared in the Parisian salons in the evening, he was a brilliant improviser at the piano, but also because of his pleasant appearance, a lot of admiration. In 1872 he was introduced to the Viardot family's salon by Saint-Saëns , where he made the acquaintance of Ernest Renan , George Sand , Gustave Flaubert and Iwan Turgenjew . In 1877 his first violin sonata was printed by the Leipzig publisher Breitkopf & Härtel . The music world in France was shaped by "Wagnerism" and Fauré also traveled to Munich , Cologne and Bayreuth to see Richard Wagner's operas. His father died in 1885, his mother in 1887.

Appointed "Inspector for Music Lessons" in 1892, he was entrusted with the great organ at the Madeleine in 1896 as titular organist . In the same year he took over a professorship for composition at the Paris Conservatory , succeeding Jules Massenet . Between 1894 and 1914 he traveled to London several times , where mainly his chamber music works and songs were performed. Great Britain became one of the countries where his works were particularly valued. From 1901 he taught at the École Niedermeyer. From 1905 to 1920 he was director of the conservatory, which caused a scandal because he had not studied there. He modernized the curriculum so thoroughly that the old guard called him " Robespierre ". Richard Wagner was now allowed to study.

Gabriel Fauré, oil portrait by John Singer Sargent , around 1889 (Museum of Music, Paris)

From 1903 Fauré wrote regularly about music in the renowned daily Le Figaro . In the same year he found that his hearing was badly deteriorated. One of his greatest successes was the opera Pénélope , which premiered on May 9, 1913 as part of the opening of the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées .

After an unhappy engagement around 1877, Fauré married the daughter of the sculptor Emmanuel Frémiet , Marie (* 1856) in 1883 . The two had two sons, Emmanuel and Philippe. Philippe became a writer; he wrote u. a. a biography about his father. Around 1900 Fauré fell in love with the 24-year-old pianist Marguerite Hasselmans . This relationship was not kept secret, but neither was it “legalized” through marriage; it lasted until Fauré's death. In 1924 he died of pneumonia in Paris at the age of 79. The Requiem he composed was performed at his funeral service . Fauré rests on the Cimetière de Passy (Division 15, approximate burial location: 48 ° 51 ′ 46 ″  N , 2 ° 17 ′ 1.5 ″  E ). The Fauré Inlet , a bay on Alexander I Island in Antarctica, is named after him.


Although influenced by German and French romanticism ( Hector Berlioz , César Franck ), Fauré developed "an independent, poetically nuanced, strongly diatonic tonal language based on a harmony enriched by manifold differentiations". If, compared to contemporary Claude Debussy or his descendant Maurice Ravel , he has little presence in international musical life, it is probably due to reasons of style and history that he left hardly any large-scale works. His top-class Requiem was originally written for a sparse cast; it is performed frequently to this day. The main exception is his music for the piece Prométhée , which was written after Aeschylus . The premiere took place in 1900 in front of 10,000 listeners in the bullring in Béziers , in Fauré's homeland in southwestern France, so to speak. Several hundred singers and instrumentalists were involved in it, including 30 trumpeters alone. Fauré managed that "effortlessly", writes R. Crichton. The music shows nothing of his usual reluctance.

According to most connoisseurs, Fauré found the peak of his work in vocal music, especially in his piano songs. It is interesting that some of his songs, such as Après un rêve , are mainly known outside France in instrumental arrangements (e.g. for cello and piano). Fauré also wrote chamber music (two piano quartets, two piano quintets, violin sonatas, and cello sonatas) and piano music.


Vocal music

  • Mélodies de Venise ( Verlaine , 1891)
  • La Bonne Chanson (Verlaine, 1892-1894)
  • La Chanson d'Ève (Ch. Van Lerberghe, 1906–1910)
  • L'Horizon Chimérique (J. de la Ville de Mirmont, 1921)
  • Le Jardin Clos (Ch. Van Lerberghe, 1914)
  • Mirages (A. de Brimont, 1919)

Musical theater

  • Prométhée, drame lyrique en 3 actes (1900)
  • Pénélope , drame (poème) lyrique en 3 actes (1907–1912)

Incidental music

Religious music

  • Cantique de Jean Racine (1863–1864)
  • Cantiques for choir, four voices and organ (1864, version with orchestra 1875)
  • Mass des pêcheurs de Villerville (1881, together with André Messager )
  • Requiem for soprano, baritone, choirs, organ and orchestra, Op. 48 (1887, revised 1887 to 1890, version for large orchestra 1899)
  • Mass basse for female voices (solos and choir) accompanied by organ or harmonium (1907)

Piano music

  • 13 Nocturnes (1875-1921)
  • 13 Barcarolles (1880-1921)
  • 6 Impromptus (1881-1910)
  • 4 Valses Caprices (1882-1894)
  • Dolly Suite, op. 56 (1893–1896)
  • Thème et Variations, op.73 (1895)
  • 8 Pièces brèves, op. 84 (1899–1902)
  • 9 Preludes, op.103 (1909–1910)
  • Fantaisie for piano and orchestra (1918)
  • Ballade, op. 19 (1877–1879, 1880), also in a version for piano and orchestra (1881)

Chamber music

  • Sonata for violin and piano No. 1 in A major op.13 (1875)
  • Piano Quartet No. 1 in C minor, Op. 15 (1879)
  • Elegy for violoncello and piano op.24
  • Piano Quartet No. 2 in G minor op.45 (1886)
  • Piano Quintet No. 1 in D minor op.89 (1905)
  • Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 2 in E minor, Op. 108 (1917)
  • Sonata for violoncello and piano No. 1 in D minor, Op. 109 (1917)
  • Piano Quintet No. 2 in C minor op.115 (1921)
  • Sonata for violoncello and piano No. 2 in G minor op.117 (1921)
  • Trio for piano, violin and violoncello in D minor op.120 (1922–1923)
  • String Quartet in E minor, Op. 121 (1924)
  • Fantasia for flute and piano op. 79, dedicated to P. Taffanel


In 1920 he received the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor . After his death, Fauré received "a pompous state funeral in the Madeleine, which stood in strange contrast to his lifelong restraint". In Paris there is a Gabriel-Fauré-Platz in the 17th arrondissement , in his birthplace there is a street; various high schools in Paris, Annecy and Foix remind of him. In 2002 an asteroid of the inner main belt was named after him: (8685) Fauré .


  • Peter Jost (Ed.): Gabriel Fauré. Work and reception. With list of works and bibliography. Kassel / Basel / London / New York / Prague 1996, ISBN 3-7618-1271-X .
    • Marie-Claire Beltrando-Patier: Gabriel Fauré - Life and Work. In: Peter Jost (Ed.): Gabriel Fauré. Work and reception. With list of works and bibliography. (1996) pp. 21-37
  • Philippe Fauré-Fremiet: Gabriel Fauré. Albin Michel, Paris 1957.
  • Vladimir Jankélévitch: Gabriel Fauré et l'inexprimable. Paris 1974.
  • Marie-Claire Beltrando-Patier: Les Mélodies de G. Fauré. Thèse de doctorat, Université de Strasbourg II. Strasbourg 1978.
  • Gabriel Fauré: Correspondance présentée et annotée par Jean-Michel Nectoux. Paris 1980.
  • Michel Faure: Musique et société du Second Empire aux années vingt autour de Saint-Saëns, Fauré, Debussy et Ravel. Paris 1985.
  • Jean-Michel Nectoux: Gabriel Fauré "Les Voix du clair-obscur". Paris 1990, 2008. ISBN 2-213-63547-1 .
  • Jean-Michel Nectoux: Fauré: his music - his life; "The Voices of Clair-Obscur" , Kassel; Basel [u. a.]: Bärenreiter, 2013, ISBN 978-3-7618-1877-0 .
  • Jessica Duchen: Gabriel Fauré. Phaidon Press, London 2000, ISBN 0-7148-3932-9 .
  • Graham Johnson: Gabriel Fauré, the songs and their poets. Farnham 2009, ISBN 0-7546-5960-7 .

Web links

Commons : Gabriel Fauré  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b Volker Hagedorn, Zeit online November 4, 2011 , accessed in May 2012
  2. a b c Beltrando-Patier (1996), p. 21
  3. a b Website Stifts-Chor Bonn composers directory , accessed on June 5, 2013.
  4. a b Cantus Basel , accessed in May 2012.
  5. Beltrando-Patier (1996), p. 26.
  6. Beltrando-Patier (1996), p. 32.
  7. a b Beltrando-Patier (1996), p. 31
  8. Brockhaus Encyclopedia of the 19th edition, Volume 7 from 1988, p. 141.
  9. In: Michael Raeburn and Alan Kendall (eds.): History of Music , Volume III. Munich 1993.
  10. ^ Reference in the Base Léonore of the French Ministry of Culture, accessed on November 5, 2012
predecessor Office successor
Théodore Dubois Titular organist of the La Madeleine organ
Henri Dallier