Birth: May 12, 1845 in Pamiers, Ariege, France
Death: Nov 4, 1924 in Paris, France
Genre: Choral, Chamber Music, Keyboard
When Gabriel Faure was a boy, Berlioz had just written La damnation de Faust and Henry David Thoreau was writing Walden. By the time of his death, Stravinsky had written The Rite of Spring and World War I had ended in the devastation of Europe. In this dramatic period in history, Faure strove to bring together the best of traditional and progressive music and, in the process, created some of the most exquisite works in the French repertoire. He was one of the most advanced figures in French musical circles and influenced a generation of composers world-wide.
Faure was the youngest child of a school headmaster and spent many hours playing the harmonium in the chapel next to his father's school. Faure's father enrolled the 9-year-old as a boarder at the Ecole Niedermeyer in Paris, where he remained for 11 years, learning church music, organ, piano, harmony, counterpoint, and literature. In 1861, Saint-Saens joined the school and introduced Faure and other students to the works of more contemporary composers such as Schumann, Liszt, and Wagner. Faure's earliest songs and piano pieces date from this period, just before his graduation in 1865, which he achieved with awards in almost every subject. For the next several years, he took on various organist positions, served for a time in the Imperial Guard, and taught. In 1871 he and his friends - d'Indy, Lalo, Duparc, and Chabrier - formed the Societe Nationale de Musique, and soon after, Saint-Saens introduced him to the salon of Pauline Viardot and Parisian musical high society. Faure wrote his first important chamber works (the Violin Sonata No. 1 and Piano Quartet No. 1), then set out on a series of musical expeditions to meet Liszt and Wagner. Throughout the 1880s, he held various positions and continued to write songs and piano pieces, but felt unsure enough of his compositional talents to attempt anything much larger than incidental music. Faure's pieces began to show a complexity of musical line and harmony which were to become the hallmarks of his music. He began to develop a highly original approach to tonality, in which modal harmony and altered scales figured largely. The next decade, however, is when Faure came into his own. He was named composition professor at the Paris Conservatoire in 1896. His music, although considered too advanced by most, gained recognition amongst his musical friends. This was his first truly productive phase, seeing the completion of his Requiem, the Cinq Melodies, and the Dolly Suite, among other works. Using an economy of expression and boldness of harmony, he built the musical bridge over which his students - such as Maurice Ravel and Nadia Boulanger - would cross on their journey into the twentieth century. In 1905, he was named director of the conservatory and made several significant reforms. Ironically, this position gave his works more exposure, but it reduced his time for composition and came when he was increasingly bothered by hearing problems. Faure's works of this period show the last, most sophisticated stages of his writing, streamlined and elegant in form. During World War I, Faure essentially remained in Paris and had another extremely productive phase, producing, among other things, Le Jardin clos and the Fantaisie for piano and orchestra, Op. 111, which show a force and violence that make them among the most powerful pieces in French music. In 1920 he retired from the school, and the following year gave up his music critic position with Le Figaro, which he had held since 1903. Between then and his death in 1924, he would produce his great, last works: several chamber works and the song cycle L'horizon chimerique.
All Music Guide
Born: Pamiers, 12 May 1845; died Paris, 4 November 1924).
He trained at the Ecole Niedermeyer (1854-65) as organist and choirmaster, coming under the influence of Saint-Saens and his circle while working as a church musician (at Rennes, 1866-70; St. Sulpice, 1871-3; the Madeleine, from 1874) and giving lessons. Though he met Liszt and was fascinated by Wagner, he sought a distinctive style in his piano pieces and numerous songs, which had to be composed during summer holidays. Recognition came slowly owing to the modernity of his music. In 1892 he became national inspector of of the provincial conservatories, and in 1896 chief organist at the Madeleine and composition professor at the Conservatoire, where his pupils included Ravel, Koechlin, Roger-Ducasse, Enescu and Nadia Boulanger; from 1905 to 1920 he was the Conservatoire's resolute and influential director, becoming celebrated for the vocal and chamber masterpieces he produced until his death.
Faure's stylistic development can be traced from the sprightly or melancholy song settings of his youth to the bold, forceful late instrumental works, traits including a delicate combination of extended tonality and modality, rapid modulations to remote keys and continuously unfolding melody. Widely regarded as the greatest master of French song, he produced six important cycles (notably the novel op. 61) and three collections each of twenty pieces (1879, 1897, 1908). In chamber music he enriched all the genres he attempted, while his works for piano (chiefly nocturnes, barcarolles and impromptus) embody the full scope of his stylistic evolution. Among his few large-scale works, the popular and delicately written Requiem op. 48 and the "song opera" Penelope (1913) are noteworthy.
Габриэль Форе (Gabriel Faure)
(12.05.1845, Памье - 4.11.1924, Париж)
Французский композитор. Учился игре на фортепиано и композиции в школе Нидермейера в Париже у Л. Нидермейера и затем у Камиля Сен-Санса. Со второй половины 1860-х годов церковный органист в Париже. Принимал участие в создании в 1871 году "Национального музыкального общества". В 1896 году стал профессором композиции Парижской консерватории, в 1905-1919 годах был ее директором. В 1900-е годы выступал как музыкальный критик. С 1909 года член Института Франции.
Среди учеников Форе - Морис Равель, Л. Обер, Ф. Шмитт, Ш. Кёклен, Ж. Роже-Дюкас, Дж. Энеску, Н. Буланже. Когда группа молодых композиторов, учеников Форе, создала в 1910 году "Независимое музыкальное общество", он согласился стать его председателем.
Творчество Форе является значительным вкладом во французскую музыку второй половины 19 и начала 20 века. Оно связывает эпоху Сен-Санса и Франка с эпохой Дебюсси и Равеля. Вполне традиционное отношение к форме, инструментальной фактуре, а во многом и к музыкальному театру сочеталось у Форе с индивидуальными приемами ладогармоиического мышления. Его гармонический язык, обогащенный старинными ладами и частыми модуляциями, а также тонкие оттенки лирических настроений подготавливали открытие музыкального стиля импрессионизма. Французские музыкальные критики высоко ценят благородство мелодического стиля Форе, содержательность, чистоту его музыки. Однако влияние Форе в основном не вышло за пределы его родины.
Лучшие произведения Форе написаны в жанрах камерной и фортепианной музыки. В числе его наиболее известных сочинений - ноктюрны, баркаролы, прелюдии для фортепиано, 1-я соната для скрипки и фортепиано (Танеев писал о ней Чайковскому: "Я от нее в восторге... Чем больше я ее играю, тем больше она мне нравится..."), 1-й струнный квартет, баллада для фортепиано с оркестром. Среди вокальных произведений выделяется цикл песен на слова П. Верлена "Песнь чистой любви".
М. Ю. Миркин.