Monday, November 7, 2011

Gabriel Fauré: Complete Works on Spotify

"It has been said that my Requiem does not express the fear of death and someone has called it a lullaby of death. But it is thus that I see death: as a happy deliverance, an aspiration towards happiness above, rather than as a painful experience. The music of Gounod has been criticized for its overinclination towards human tenderness. But his nature predisposed him to feel this way: religious emotion took this form inside him. Is it not necessary to accept the artist's nature? As to my Requiem, perhaps I have also instinctively sought to escape from what is thought right and proper, after all the years of accompanying burial services on the organ! I know it all by heart. I wanted to write something different." Gabriel Fauré on his Requiem.

Faure with wife, playing a reconstructed Babylonian harp, March 1883
Copland called Fauré "the Brahms of France", but personally I prefer Fauré. His music, especially the late chamber works since the cello sonatas, written when he was almost completely deaf, often maintains a subtle balance between form and expression, and rarely suffers from sudden outbursts of excessive romantic sensibilities underneath the solemn surface (like those light-your-lighter moments in Brhams).

This playlist collects Fauré's Opus 1-121 (sorted by numbers), plus Messe basse and opera Pénélope (inserted to their approximate chronological positions). It also includes both the 1893 version (Accentus, Naive) and full orchestral version (The Sixteen, Coro) of the Requiem; two versions of the great song cycle La bonne chanson (with/without string quintet); piano and orchestraal versions of Op.19 Ballade and Dolly suite; Masques et bergamasque as orchestral suite and eight-movement suite with tenor and choir; and, choral/orchestral versions of the popular Pavane.

Here's the Spotify playlist: Gabriel Fauré: Complete Works (304 tracks, total time: 21 hours) All tracks are available on Spotify USA. Ctrl (CMD)+G to browse in album view. See list of works here.