Fauré: Piano Quintets

Fauré: Piano Quintets

Domus, Anthony Marwood (violin)


Debussy backhandedly dubbed him the ‘Master of Charms’; many have since underestimated him, knowing only one or two of his lightest ‘soufflés’; even his own modest assessment—‘I did what I could’—uttered to his two sons the day before his death, has done little to redress the image given to us by posterity of Gabriel Urbain Fauré.
Born on 12 May 1845 at Pamiers, a small town near the Pyrenees, Fauré later recalled himself as a taciturn and preoccupied child (‘I shall die the same elusive person I have always been’, he wrote to his wife in 1921). There had been no trace of music in his ancestry, and he appears to have been something of an ‘afterthought’ on the part of his parents, who already had five children.

From 1854 Fauré studied at the École Niedermeyer in Paris where, crucially, he absorbed the Gregorian modes, seeing their potential for much more than plainsong harmonization, and also mastered the notions of enharmonic modulation and pivotal chord formations so characteristic of his mature output as a whole. There also he became a pupil of Saint-Saëns, an inspired teacher to whom he was later to claim that he owed everything.

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