Piano music of Gabriel Fauré
Gabriel Fauré’s major sets of piano works are thirteen nocturnes, thirteen barcarolles, six impromptus, and four valses-caprices. For piano duet, he composed the Dolly Suite and, together with his friend and former pupil André Messager, an exuberant parody of Wagner in the short suite Souvenirs de Bayreuth. The composer disliked showy display, and the predominant characteristic of his piano music is a classical restraint and understatement.
About Piano music of Gabriel Fauré in brief
Gabriel Fauré’s major sets of piano works are thirteen nocturnes, thirteen barcarolles, six impromptus, and four valses-caprices. The composer disliked showy display, and the predominant characteristic of his piano music is a classical restraint and understatement. For piano duet, he composed the Dolly Suite and, together with his friend and former pupil André Messager, an exuberant parody of Wagner in the short suite Souvenirs de Bayreuth. His works for the piano are marked by a classical French lucidity; he was unimpressed by pianistic display, commenting of keyboard virtuosi, ‘the greater they are, the worse they play me.’ The composer’s later music expresses private passion and isolation, such as in the later works rather than the earlier works, which express uneasy alternating alternating alternating anger and resignation that listeners are left with. The music was written under the shadow of the composer’s increasing deafness, becoming gradually less charming and more austere. The works were written between the 1860s and the 1920s, and display the change in his style from uncomplicated youthful charm to a final enigmatic, but sometimes fiery introspection, by way of a turbulent period in his middle years. His early piano works were influenced in style by Chopin, and throughout his life he composed piano works using similar titles to those of Chopin. An even greater influence was Schumann, whose piano music Faure loved more than any other.
The authors of The Record Guide wrote that Fauree learnt restraint and beauty of surface from Mozart, tonal freedom and long melodic lines from Chopin and from Schumann. By using unresolved colour as well as mild discords and effects, Faurés anticipated the techniques of Impressionistist composers. In later years he anticipated the music was anticipated by Impressionists, and wrote music that was milder and more subdued. He never underestimated the challenges in composing for the instrument; he wrote, “In piano music there’s no room for padding – one has to pay cash and make it consistently interesting.” The composer was said to possess ‘that mysterious gift that no other can replace or surpass: charm\”, and charm is a conspicuous feature of many of his early compositions. His old friend Camille Saint-Saëns wrote to him in 1917, ‘Ah! if there is a god for the left hand, I should very much like to know him and make him an offering when I am disposed to play your music; the 2nd Valse-Caprice is terrible in this respect; I have however managed to get to the end of it by dint of absolute determination’. His other notable piano pieces, including shorter works, or collections composed or published as a set, are Romances sans paroles, Ballade in F♯ major, Mazurka in B♭ major, Thème et variations in C♯ minor, and Huit pièces brèves.