Search This Blog

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Gabriel Fauré

Gabriel Fauré was born in Pamiers, Ariège, Midi-Pyrénées, in the south of France on May 12, 1845. He was the fifth son and youngest of six children of Toussaint-Honoré Fauré and Marie-Antoinette-Hélène Lalène-Laprade.

Gabriel was sent to live with a foster mother until he was four years old. When his father was appointed director of the École Normale d'Instituteurs, a teacher training college, at Montgauzy, near Foix, in 1849, Fauré returned to live with his family.

The young Fauré often played the harmonium at the small chapel attached to the school where his father was director. An old blind lady heard him and told his father that he ought to send his boy to a good music school.

At the age of nine, Fauré was sent to a music college in Paris, where he was trained to be a church organist and choirmaster. Among his teachers was Camille Saint-Saëns, who became a lifelong friend.

Fauré as a student, 1864

During the 1870 Franco-Prussian War Fauré volunteered for military service. He took part in the action to raise the Siege of Paris, and saw action at Le Bourget, Champigny and Créteil. He was awarded a Croix de Guerre.

In January 1877 Fauré's Violin Sonata No.1,was performed at a Société Nationale concert with great success, marking a turning-point in his composing career at the age of 31.

In 1883 Fauré married Marie Fremiet, the daughter of a leading sculptor, Emmanuel Fremiet. The marriage was affectionate, but Marie became resentful of Fauré's frequent absences and his affairs, while she remained at home.

Fauré and Marie in 1889. PD-US, $2

Fauré and his wife had two sons. The first, born in 1883, Emmanuel Fauré-Fremiet, became a biologist of international reputation. The second son, Philippe, born in 1889, became a writer; his works included histories, plays, and biographies of his father and grandfather

Fauré became professor of composition at Paris Conservatoire in 1896, where he taught several students who became important French composers, including Maurice Ravel and Nadia Boulanger.

He became successful in his middle age, holding the important posts of organist of the Église de la Madeleine and director of the Paris Conservatoire. However,, Fauré lacked time for composing, so he retreated to the countryside in the summer holidays to concentrate on writing music.

Fauré started to lose his hearing in about 1902, and he kept it secret from all but his closest friends. From 1905 he was director of the Paris Conservatoire and a member of the examining jury, so each year he had to audition students and pretend he could hear the music being played.

Fauré in 1907. PD-US, $2

By his last years, Fauré was recognized in France as the leading French composer of his day. An unprecedented national musical tribute was held for him in Paris in 1922, headed by the president of the French Republic.

Fauré died in Paris from pneumonia on November 4, 1924 at the age of 79. He was given a state funeral at the Église de la Madeleine and is buried in the Passy Cemetery in Paris.

Sources Classic FM magazine, Wikipedia

No comments:

Post a Comment