Gabriel Fauré's Nocturnes, nos. 1-8.
Gabriel Fauré was born in Pamiers (Ariège) on 12 May 1845. Owing to his precocious musical gifts, he was able, at the age of nine, to enter the celebrated Niedermeyer School, founded in Paris to train organists and choirmasters. For about ten years he received instruction of great quality, centred mainly on the study of sacred music and the great classic masterpieces, into which he was initiated notably by Camille Saint-Saëns, his Piano teacher. As soon as he left the school, Fauré began a brilliant career as an organist. In 1896 he succeeded Théodore Dubois as an organist at the Church of the Madeleine in Paris, and was appointed professor of composition at the Conservatory, where his pupils included Ravel, Koechlin, Enesco and Schmitt. Meanwhile, he had met Liszt in Weimar and had been initiated into Wagner’s art, which, however, never really influenced him. Appointed director of the Conservatory in 1905 after Théodore Dubois’ resignation, a member of the French Institute and music critic, Fauré spent his last years in solitude, suffering from an irreversible deafness that obliged him to resign from the Conservatory in 1920. He died in Paris on 4th November 1924.
The music of this sometimes misunderstood composer who wrote in nearly all genres (except Organ music) is of great refinement. An enemy of bombast, Fauré put his elegant counterpoint, a highly individual harmonic style, unpredictable turns of phrase, and the secret of an unusual musical sensitivity at the service of music that is both varied and of very high quality.