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Gabriel Ifcure 






Charles Koechlin 


- 1924) 


29 Great Queen Street, London 



Printed in Great Britain in lOpt, Times 
by TOE PORTSDOWN PRESS LTD., Fleet Lane, London, E.C.4 





i Songs, Part-Songs, Choruses . 17 

ii Church Music . , . . .27 

iii Symphonic Music , .... 30 

iv Piano Music . . . . .32 

v Chamber Music . . . . .40 

vi Miscellaneous Instrumental Pieces . . .46 

vii The Stage 47 





!Ti JAN 13 1947 


There ate signs in this country that Gabriel Faure is at last about 
to receive some of the recognition due to him, and there must be 
many, both among his old admirers and among those who are only 
just beginning to savour the distinctive delights of his style, who will 
be eager to supplement the somewhat meagre biographical details 
given in Grove and other reference books. This, the first Life of 
Faure to appear in English, will, I hope, go some way towards satisfying 
this demand. 

There are, indeed, several reasons why Koechlin s monograph should 
find a welcome among English readers. In the first place, it is of 
value not only for the biographical details of Fatrre s life, but for its 
discussion of practically the whole of his output, which, although 
not vast, will no doubt appear surprisingly large and varied to all 
but the few who know his work intimately. 

Secondly, the unstinted praise which Koechlin lavishes on his 
former teacher, supported by the numerous quotations from such 
distinguished French musicians as Mme. Nadia Boulanger and M. 
Emil Vuillermoz, Roger-Ducasse and Cortot, and reinforced by the 
considerable bibliography which he appends, is an index of the esteem 
in which Faure is held in his native land. This esteem, it should be 
noted, is not confined to a narrow circle of the intelligentsia ; and 
for proof of this one has but to turn to the lengthy list of his music 
which, from time to time, has been made available on gramophone 
records. The catalogue in " The Gramophone Shop Encyclopedia " 
(New York, 1936), extends to over 60 works, including the String 
Quartet, the C minor Piano Quartet, the 1st Violin Sonata, the Requiem 
(complete) ,and the song cycles la Bonne Chanson and rHorizon 
chimerique and this does not, of course include the important 
recordings recently made of the Theme and Variations, and other 
works. It would be idle to expect the general public to endorse this 
opinion in its entirety, and indeed Koechlin himself confesses that 
Faure s music is not for the multitude. Nevertheless there can be no 
doubt that the circle of his friends is widening, and that more and 
more English musicians are yielding to the spell of this " supremely 
civilised music." 

Finally, the book offers an admirable illustration of the temper of 
French criticism in the 1920 s. Koechlin himself (born 1867) is 
distinguished as both composer and critic, though few of his works 
are known over here ; and what he has to say, no less than his manner 
of saying it, is of interest to every student of modern French music. 

The list of works, taken without alteration from Koechlin s original, 
which in turn was founded on that in la Revue musicale of October 
1922, is not quite complete. (1) Leon Vallas, in his " Claude Debussy : 
his life and works," mentions , (p. 44 of the English translation) a 
** Passion," rehearsed at one of the Societe nationale concerts, in 1890, 


which I have not been able to trace. (2) the catalogue in the Gramo 
phone Shop Encyclopedia includes a recording (withdrawn), of a 
Noel, " II est ne, le divin enfant," written when Faure was at the 
Madeleine, but never published (recorded by Pathe). (3) Jankelevitch 
mentions an " Aurore" still in manuscript, in the library of the Paris 
Conservatoire. (4) There is also " Melisande s Song," to English 
words, written for the London production. (5) The second String 
Quartet which " Grove " mentions is certainly non-existent ; the 
Quartet, Op. 121, was Faure s only essay in this form. 

I have not thought it necessary to include, in the Bibliography, a list 
of some two dozen articles from various French journals ; instead I 
have added a few French books not included in Koechlin s list, and 
also appended a short list of books and articles in English. For the 
rest, I have left Koechlin s book as he wrote it, merely providing a few 
notes here and there, and adding an Index. 

My thanks are due to many friends in Cambridge for their interest 
and help, with a particular debt of gratitude to Mrs. David Thomson ; 
also to the Professor of Music and the University Library Authorities, 
for permission to consult books and scores in the Pendlebury and 
University Libraries ; and to the proprietors of la Revue musicale, for 
permission to reproduce the fine drawing from the issue ot October, 
1922. The picture used as frontispiece is due to the kind offices of 
Mr. Felix Aprahamian, to whom I tender my sincere thanks for his 
interest and help. Finally, I cannot say how much I owe to the 
courtesy and patience of Mr. Dobson ; his help and advice through 
all stages of the book s progress have been invaluable. 

Cambridge, May, 1945. 



GABRIEL-URBAIN FAURE was born on 12th May, 1845, at 
Pamiers, a little town in the Ariege District, in the South of France 
near the Pyrennees. His forbears 1 , so M. Bruneau tells us, were 
" active traders contributing prosaically but usefully to the nourishment 
of their fellow-citizens " or, in less flowery language, butchers. 
His father, a teacher at Gaillac-Toulza, married Madamoiselle de 
Laleine-Laprade, daughter of a retired captain beautiful, but poor. 
The couple, by no means in easy circumstances but highly cultivated, 
had six children ; Gabriel was the last. His birthplace was in Rue 
Major, near the market place. Baptised in the Church of Notre- 
Dame du Camp, his infancy was spent with foster-parents in nearby 
Verniolles, until his father (then sub-Inspector of elementary education) 
was appointed Director of FEcole Normale at Montgauzy, not far 
from Foix. The little Gabriel was by then four years old, and 
returned to the family circle. This ficole Normale was located in 
an old, disestablished convent, whose Chapel, however, still functioned. 
The child had no greater joy than to go there and listen to the modest 
harmonium, which was his introduction to music. All the splendours 
of the mountains, too, were before his eyes, for the Chapel, as well 
as the Chateau de Foix, overlooked the wonderful Barguilliere valley. 
As M. Bruneau says, " Nature generously yielded her secret to this 
simple child, a secret he could never forget ; she initiated him into 
the intimate lyricism of the Universe." 

The harmonium tempted Gabriel. He would give free rein to 
his fancy, improvising at the instrument. It happened quite by chance 
that he had for audience one day a lady, elderly, blind, and also an 
excellent musician. Struck by his talents, she suggested to the parents 
that he should be sent to 1 ficole Niedermeyer, a school which enjoyed 
a great and justifiable reputation. It appears that M. Faur< pere 
was not slow in raising a number of objections ; like so many others, 
understanding nothing of the art of music, he regarded it merely 
as an agreeable pastime. 2 Nevertheless, he wrote to the Director. 
The fortunate coincidence of a concert tour bringing him as far as 
Foix allowed the composer cf " Le Lac " 3 to verify these exceptional 
gifts. The young musician s future appeared so bright that, seeing 
the difficulties of the household, he took upon himself the expenses 
of his education & fine generosity which smoothed away all obstacles. 

L Ecole Niedermeyer, then as now, was a boarding establishment 
where the teaching of music was supplemented by tuition in general 
subjects. It was located in Rue Fontaine Saint-Georges (now Rue 

^Grandfather and great-grandfather. Particulars from an Address given to the 
Institute by the composer of Messidor. 

2 Cy. V Independence musicale et drarwtique, September-October ; 1887 (H. Imbert, 
Profils de musiciens : Gabriel Faure). 

344 Le Lac," song by Niedermeyer to words by Lamartine, which achieved a con 
siderable popularity. (7>.) 


Cabriel Faure 

Fromentin), not far from the " Remparts de Clichy." The bareness- 
of his small bedroom, a state of things customary at the time, did 
not seem hard to the boy, now nine years old (1854). The main 
thing was the seriousness of his class studies, and the strict discipline 
which these entailed ; but on the other hand the opportunity of 
isolating his mind was never denied him, he was able to withdraw 
into himself without being engrossed by a thousand mundane dis 
tractions. All his life he treasured the memory of this schooling, 
somewhat austere no doubt but most valuable to him. 

The study of Gregorian Modes figured in the curriculum of the 
school. It is impossible to attach too much importance to this, 
and we shall return to it later. Niedenneyer, if one can trust his. 
pupil, was an educationist of the front rank. He died in 1861, and 
Harmony was thereafter taught by L. Dietsch, Mattre de chapelle 
at the Madeleine, and Conductor at VOpera : " by nature frigid, 
methodical but reactionary in mind." Fortunately, Faure was 
admitted to the piano class, where he had as teacher Camille Saint- 
Saens. And more than once in the course of time Faure has pro 
claimed that he owed everything to this master. For Saint-Saens 
did not restrict his role to that of a professor of piano however 
scrupulous and exacting ; he opened the door to the whole of music. 
Bach first, with the 48 ; and then, the class over, he sat himself down 
to play Schumann, Liszt, even Wagner. Bear in mind that at this 
time such modernists were known only to rare initiates, those imbued 
by the modern spirit. 1 And remembering that Massenet was rejected 
by Bazin 2 as too free, one realises the distance separating the teaching 
at the Conservatoire from that which Gabriel Faure received. More 
over, the master was eager to know the works of his pupils : *" he 
read them with as much curiosity and care as if they were all 
masterpieces." 3 

The value of this education, complete, manysided, broad, and, 
with its balance between discipline .and independence, encouraging 
the development of the boy s talent, is seen in the songs composed 
between 1865 and 1870, so novel for an epoch in which Adolphe 
Adam, Victor Masse, Halevy and Meyerbeer still flourished. On 
Sundays, with his inseparable Eugene Gigout, he would go off to 
the hill of Montmartre, at that time in open country. And, according 
to M. Bruneau, the sight of the monuments of Paris inspired in both 
of them definite and precise ambitions. " I shall have the Madeleine," 
said Faure " And I, Saint- Augustin," replied Gigout. This was 
the highest and most wholesome ambition possible ; a hard way of 
life, poorly paid, but how profitable to the young musicians \ The 
atmosphere, religious, serious and noble (despite sometimes a kck 
of understanding on the part of the faithful, or even of the clergy) 
and the thousand resources which the organ offers for improvisation, 
led FaurS, like Franck, to the summits of musical art ; and ? in that 

l And Scdnt-Saens was one of them ; see his Harmonic et Melodic. 
*Jfazin (1816-78), Professor of Harmony, later of Composition., at the Cons erva 
toire. (7>.) 
*Cf. article by Paitrd on Saint-Saens in la Revue Musicale, February, 1922. 



extreme modesty which characterised him to the end of his days, 
almost without him suspecting it. 

With the first prize for piano, organ, harmony and composition, 
he left 1 Ecole Niedermeyer and went off to Rennes some months 
later (January, 1866) in the capacity of organist of Saint-Sauveur s. 
He had already written, in 1 865, le Cantique de Racine, a work whose 
Mendelssohnian style serves an inspiration delicate and profound, 
quite ** Racinian " more personal than one realises on first hearing. 
Other works, less successful (as for example le Papillon et la Fleur) 1 
were not without some renown, whereas a song more decidedly 
Faurian would doubtless at that time not have been understood. Also, 
despite his surroundings and their influence on his technique, there 
was nothing of the ascetic about him. It is not, I think, that he led 
a very frivolous life. But the cure had to reproach him for smoking 
cigarettes in the Church porch during the sermons. A more outrageous 
prank caused great scandal ; having spent the night at a ball at the 
Prefecture, he appeared at his organ seat in black coat and white tie. 
This was beyond all bounds, and he was dismissed. Felix culpa^ for 
on returning to Paris, appointed to Notre-Dame de Clignancourt 
(1870) he renewed his acquaintanceship with Saint-Saens and threw 
himself eagerly into the musical life of the city. Between 1865 and 
1870, what had he composed? The first set of songs is by some 
ascribed to this period, 2 but other authorities (e.g., the collection of 
L. Cellier) suggest no more than one Prelude and Fugue. Which 
are we to choose between these two extremes ? The second assumption 
seems hardly credible, and we incline to the other. 

In the month of August, 1870, war broke out, and Faure enlisted 
in a regiment of voltigeurs. He was under fire at Champigny, and 
fought courageously. He heard of the armistice while on a mission 
as liaison officer, and, evading enlistment in the army of the Commune, 
he crossed the federal lines by the aid of a false passport, reaching 
Rambouillet where he awaited the victory of the Versailles armies. 
Soon afterwards we find him at the organ of Saint-Honore d Eylau ; 
later (still continuing to deputise for Saint-Saens at the Madeleine), 
he assisted his friend Widor at Saint-Sulpice, and about the same time 
he re-entered FEcole Niedermeyer this time as Professor, with Andre 
Messager as his first pupil. On the resignation of Saint-Saens in 
1877 Faure became Maltre de Chapelle at tie Madeleine in place 
of Dubois, promoted to organist. The same year he journeyed to 
Weimar with his master and friend for the premiere of Samson and 
Delilah under Liszt, at the theatre of the Grand Duke. He heard 
Valkyrie and Rhinegold at Cologne in 1878, and the complete tetralogy 
at Munich in 1879. 

His duties in connection with the Church left him with time not 
only for his own work but for cultivating new friends. However, 
no one was less pushful than he. But his musical talents, above all 
his agreeable nature, procured him some useful acquaintances. Some 

*This youthful trifle was sung at Rennes by Mme. Miolan-Carvalho. 
*Cf. the chronological list of Faurfs compositions in la Revue Musicale ; the date 
indicated for all these compositions is " about 1865." 

Gabriel Faure 

were among his brother professionals ; but the most numerous, and 
perhaps the most convinced of his merit, were among cultivated, 
intelligent people, who could sometimes discern something of the 
magnitude of his future. 

The Viardot family welcomed him with open arms. He himself 
loved this salon., animated by the rough vigour of the Slav Turgeneff. 
And then, he was not insensible to the beauty of Mile. Marianne. 
The betrothal was decided ; but Pauline Viardot, above everything, 
loved the stage, and she did not hesitate to make known this taste 
to her future son-in-law, counting on his whole-hearted devotion 
to it also. However, incredible as it will appear to those who see 
in Faure only an " indolent charmeur" the young artist, faithful to 
the profound intimacy of chamber music and song, refused to adopt 
a way of life he did not think his own, 1 and, despite extreme sorrow, 
he broke with the Viardots. Here is a rare example of conscience 
and hidden energy ; the inner strength of the master is only too 
often misunderstood, and it is a pleasure to point out this example 
of his will-power. 

The period under review is moreover one of the most active and 
fruitful of a lifetime consecrated to work labour exclusively centred 
on composition, had not the difficulties of making a living driven 
him to other tasks as, in due course, that of Professor, and later 
Director of that august institution the Paris Conservatoire. From 
these years of his hard-working youth date the last songs of the first 
set and many of the second (Nell, Automne, etc.). The first Violin 
Sonata (1876) was played in 1878 at the Universal Exhibition, 2 and 
was published by Breitkopf and Hartel ; no French firm would 
undertake it. Faure here has definitely found himself. But he had 
still to encounter many obstacles. The publication and performance 
of such works did not get any easier. It takes so little in the art of 
music to disconcert people ! Not that his harmony was unprecedented; 
but, written in an unfamiliar idiom and serving for the expression of 
new feelings, this music could not fail, very often, to be misunder 
stood. The clearest example is that of Liszt. When, at Weimar, 
at the time of the premiere of Samson and Delilah, Faure showed 
him his Ballade, Liszt, withal so sound in judgment and generously 
disposed, hastily read the manuscript and returned it to the composer 
with the incredible remark, " It is too difficult." 3 

Naturally, publishers still welcomed him but coldly, and only 
Hamelle risked the venture. The risk at this time was small ; and, 
besides, each song was bought for an average of 50 francs (with no 
further rights on the sale). With the hard-headedness of the peasant 
"pere Hamelle " proved sharper than his fellows ; and if he scarcely 
filled the musician s pocket the latter, nevertheless, owed to him the 
chance of having his works spread abroad, a difficult task while they 
were still in manuscript. The Violin Sonata had slipped through 

Mr least at that time, since Penelope was written much later, when he was past 

z The performers were the violinist Maurin, with the composer at the piano. In 
1877 Saint-Saens wrote an enthusiastic article about this Sonata. 
* Anecdote related by M. Bruneau in his address to the Institute. 


his hands, but he had his revenge with the first Quartet, acquired without 
loosening his purse-strings ; x indeed, with no expense beyond the 
engraving and printing. Added to this he had obtained, gratuitously, 
the rights in the profitable Berceuse. But such is the destiny of pioneers. 
Lalo, Franck, Debussy experienced similar difficulties, and no doubt 
it would be the same to-day for any composer of originality who 
took no advantage of the notoriety which a newcomer can always 
claim among snobs, and by which the publishers in their turn are 

Happily, other support was forthcoming, and not only from among 
the musicians themselves. 2 Less perhaps from his marriage, in 1883, 
to Mile. Marie Fremiet, the daughter of the well-known sculptor, 3 
than from other acquaintances. Madame Faure was essentially a 
woman of the home, a faithful wife and devoted mother of her family, 
absorbed in the care of her children ; her fine appearance is not 
easily forgotten. 4 But, attached as she was to her husband, and eager 
to see him appreciated at his true worth, she could do little to add 
to his renown. Faure was forced to lead a life less homely than his 
family not from choice, for he was not one of those flippant dilettantes 
for whom music is no more than a diversion but in order to hear 
and help forward his works. 

The dedications of some of his songs show us that they were welcomed 
by many of the fashionable singers : Mme. Henriette Escalier (after 
wards Mme. Alexander Dumas), Mile. Baugnies (to-day, Mme. de 
Saint-Marceaux), Mme. Qettelbach (Arpege), Mme. Sigismond Bardac 
(now Mme. Claude Debussy), who, it is said, proved a wise counsellor, 
and was the faithful interpreter of the admirable Bonne Chanson 
which is dedicated to her. 

You must bear in mind that this was the time when the composer 
of Mignon held Faure to be a dangerous revolutionary. The latter 
would have liked one of the composition classes at the Conservatoire. 
The high official was indignant. Who did this intruder think he 
was ? He was not Prix de Rome, was not even from the workshop 
which produced them. " Faure, never ! If he is nominated, I 
resign." This veto is authentic, confirmed by reliable witnesses. 

Such ostracism need not astonish us. But the important thing 
is that this " dangerous revolutionary " had proved himself a true 
classic, and at the time of the refusal offered by the illustrious Thomas 
no serious artist worthy of the name could ignore the masterly technique 
which the Violin Sonata or the first Quartet already proclaimed. As 
for the simple " melodies" Clair de lune suffices to reveal the great 

In compensation, supported by the salons of intelligent people, 
interpreted by excellent singers (Therese Roger, Jeanne Remade, 

*He drove the same bargain for the second Quartet. 

*We shall deal later with the Societe Nationale. 

^However, Fremiefs help was precious when his son-in-law stood as candidate for 
the Institute ; it had already been useful in support of his composition pupils in the 
Rome competition. Faure was not on the Board of Examiners since the Institute had 
not yet opened its doors to him. 

*She died in 1925, scarcely a year after her husband. 


Gabriel Faure 

Mile. Fanny Lepine, then 1 Mme. J. Raunay, Mme. J. Bathori, Mile. 
Gennaine Sanderson, Mme. Croiza, etc.). Faure saw himself under 
stood, little by little, by some composers of his generation and above 
all by the younger men. The Societe Nationale had been founded in 
1871 and, as everybody knows, it has rendered great service to 
symphonic art in France. Although it breathed sometimes a spirit 
too exclusively Franckist (particularly after the death of Franck, 
for disciples always overrate their master), it welcomed personalities 
other than those disciples ; moreover, even among those, there were 
many who were just in their attitude towards Faure notably that 
broadminded and sincere artist, M. Duparc. 

The Nationale was of great help to him ; he never tired of 
acknowledging the debt and took care, right to the end, to reserve 
for it the greater part of his first performances. It was the Nationale 
which first presented the two Piano Quartets ; numerous and beautiful 
songs ; Nocturnes ; Barcarolles. They were evenings of rare charm, 
as were the concerts when later, between 1890 and 1900, the music 
of Chabrier and Debussy came to console us with many a ray of light 
in the prevailing darkness. On the other hand, the Requiem (1888) 
was performed at the Madeleine where Faure, as has been said, was 
Maitre de Chapelle. 2 The symphonic style tempted him less (and 
besides, he accorded only secondary importance to the art of instru 
mentation). A Violin Concerto, a Suite for Orchestra and a Symphony 
in D Minor remain unpublished. Ever exacting where his own work 
was concerned, the composer judged these vast compositions to be 
too uneven and, who knows ? perhaps too ambitious. 

Finally, for VOdeon he wrote : in 1888, the incidental music to 
Alexander Dumas Caligula, and in 1889 that to Shylock (adapted 
from Shakespeare by M. Haraucourt). The second set of songs was 
almost finished ; after the second Piano Quartet (1886), these fruitful 
years saw the birth of les Presents, Clair de lune, Nocturne, Larmes, 
au Cimeliere, Spleen. And the collection " de Venise " 3 put the seal 
on his reputation as an interpreter of Verlaine, apart from that unique 
episode in his career, la Bonne Chanson. With Soir, Arpege and the 
beautiful duet Pleurs d"or, he turned to Albert Samain. At about 
the same time, too, he finished the charming four-handed Suite, 
Dolly, and the delightful sixth Nocturne. 

We must not look for " grand adventures " in this career, so modest 
and industrious, where society gatherings were only a custom necessary 
for the production of his music, and concerts and evenings at the 
theatre only professional engagements. But his life was not entirely 
taken up with breadwinning ; there were happy leisure hours con 
secrated to this monument of great musical culture, witness of an 
epoch of enthusiasm, individualism, and in the widest sense of 

l This is to anticipate ; the names which follow belong to a more recent epoch, 
bringing us to our own times. 

*Then, in 1900, at the Universal Exhibition. 

*It was in 1890, thanks to the generosity of Mme. la princesse de Polignac, that 
Faure became acquainted with Venice. It is extraordinary, but true, that his Barcarolle 
{from the first volume) so thoroughly Venetian, had been imagined ; but we have it 
from the master himself that he has been only twice in the city of the Doges : when he 
composed the six songs and, more recently, a few years before his death. 


faith. His fame now was growing. One no longer dared to scoff 
at him as a dangerous iconoclast. The Nationals concerts, the 
sympathy of the elite, and his stream of works of the first order placed 
him at the head of our musicians for those who could discern true 
merit. I know that many brother musicians, many a critic and many 
amateurs who consider themselves knowledgeable in these matters can 
see in him nothing but a pleasant composer of little tunes. No matter ; 
each year sees the circle of his initiates widened, the work of that 
band of unknown but devoted friends who make the reputations 
of great artists and thrust them on posterity. This living power of 
beauty, once a certain extension of its influence has been achieved, 
becomes irresistible ; once it wins the true connoisseurs among the 
public the men of goodwill it is henceforward that gentle power, 
insistent and persuasive, which triumphs over all obstacles even 
envy and slander. It is remarkable that Faure, without intrigue, 
independent, individual, making concessions to nobody, nevertheless 
achieved a high official position at the Institute, with honours later 
showered upon him and an impressive funeral ceremony at his death. 

He was over fifty (at that time, one did not " arrive " quickly) 
when his fame, against which prejudice and ignorance availed nothing, 
opened for him the doors of that Conservatoire from whence the 
preceding director, Thomas, had thought to exclude him. On his 
(Thomas s) death, Dubois had succeeded him. Massenet, who had 
canvassed for the post (and moreover would only accept on condition 
that he was elected for life), the illustrious and triumphal creator of 
Manoti, checked for the first time in his life, sent in his resignation 
(from his composition class). It seemed that it would be difficult 
to replace this eminent teacher without a peer, less even for the 
success of his pupils in the Rome competition than for the value 
of an education both traditional and liberal. Whom could one 
suggest ? Saint-Saens, extraordinarily talented and confident, was 
of too restless a disposition to bind himself to so sedentary an 
occupation ; Paul Dukas was too young. Then Faure offered himself 
(in 1897, the same year as le Parfum Imperissable was composed). 
The name of the minister who made the choice is unfortunately 
withheld from us ; he showed himself either a competent musician, 
or else very ably advised. 

With Florent Schmitt, Louis Aubert, G. Enesco, Pierre Maurice, 
Mile. J. Boulay, and R. Laparra, I was a pupil of Massenet ; with 
them I stayed for some years in Faure s class. I already knew him, 
having met him at friends houses (notably the lamented Jules Griset, 
whose choirs sang marvellously le Riusseau, les Djinns, Madrigal, 
Caligula, the Requiem . . .). I liked his good-naturedness, his extreme 
simplicity. Somewhat distant now and then, rather from his 
introspective nature than from pride (nor even from indifference 
to the respect of his followers). But above all, I was drawn by his 
art, an attraction dating from the impression made upon me by the 
production at the Odeon of Shylock, with his exquisite incidental 
music. It will be imagined how happy I was to work under the 
direction of a musician whom I so profoundly admired. 

In the presence of such a one we all felt both a little shy and 

Gabriel Faure 

immensely stimulated. A fine spirit pervaded his class ; already 
his personality made itself felt. If we imagine, in Faure s place, 
some pretentious nobody, or some honest academic (as, for example, 
Lenepveu), would Ravel have been there, or Roger-Ducasse, or Paul 
Ladmirault ? It is very doubtful. But, like the needle to the magnet, 
they rallied to the new master. 1 

A distinguished member of, the Conservatoire said recently to- 
one of his friends : " One must not bore one s pupils ; perhaps it 
is better not to direct them too strictly. It is preferable that a 
professor should write beautiful music, and have, like Faure, a fine 
appearance." This apparent paradox, pronounced by a man both 
methodical and clear-thinking, is borne out by the example of Faure. 
A good appearance, certainly. One recalls, under the white hair, 
that Mediterranean face, bronzed, with his moustaches and Roman 
nose, and that aspect as of an Eastern dreamer, the eyes, dark-ringed, 
lost in strange milky luminosities of the pupil. But this, for us, 
was accessory ; the musician s work was the thing. And this work 
impelled us on. 

After Massenet, whose volubility dispensed a teaching active, living, 
vibrant, and moreover comprehensive, Faure seemed to read the 
works of his pupils in silence. In actual fact he did make some 
observations, rather rare, but useful in their sobriety, and always 
aimed at an improvement in style. For this " revolutionary " proved 
himself, as a teacher, to be a purist who detested clumsiness and 
carelessness. The most efficient spur, nevertheless, was that provided 
by himself, and the high standard of his own art ; his pupils offering 
to so true a musician only the very best they could write, and fearing, 
as unworthy of his artistic integrity, any concession or platitude. 
Certainly it would be a singular insensitiveness that would invite 
him to listen to anything banal or pompous. However, some did 
risk it : Faure would then remain calm and quiet. He would become 
vacant, distant ; and, the audition over, would turn nonchalently, 
and ask softly, with an air of detachment, " Was there nothing else ? " 
All would understand except the culprit, naturally incorrigible. 

The influence of this Faurien music, both charming and profound, 
was excellent. A teaching more dogmatic or biassed would have been 
dangerous. If that of Faure, far from scholasticism (though not 
from a strictness of writing, to which he held staunchly) was now and 
then incomplete in certain details e.g., orchestration that mattered 
little ; besides, several of his pupils filled this gap by lessons with 
Andre Gedalge. 2 But after all, in spite of the fact that his method 
seemed so different, Faure continued in his own way the work of 

*Here, in alphabetical order, is a list of the more important pupils to pass through 
Faurfs class : Louis Aubert, Mile. Nadia Boulanger, Mile. J. Boulay, Mile. 
Campagna, E. Cools, Defosse, Roger Ducasse, G. Enesco, H. Estienne, G. Grovlez, 
H. Fevrier, Mme. J. Herscher, Ch. Koechlin, P. Ladmirault, JR. Laparra, Le Boucher, 
E. Malherbe* L. Masson, Pierre Maurice, Mazellier, Meunier, J. Morpain, M. Ravtl, 
Florent Schmidt, E. Tremisot, E. Vuillermoz. As private pupil, outside the Con 
servatoire, M. Francois Berthet. 

* And for Fugue too ; for example, Florent Schmitt, Maurice Ravel and the present 


Massenet, directing his pupils towards a musicianship based on a 
serious technique. 1 

The decision to accept this post was taken not entirely from motives 
of ambition, but more especially, it must be said, for its material 
advantages. It was impossible to live on what his composer s rights 
brought in, nor even on the sale of his compositions (we have specified 
the rates). His salary from the Conservatoire, 3,000 francs, was by 
no means a negligible sum, though deplorably reduced. To these 
resources, as well as some private lessons, had just been added his 
fees as organist at the Madeleine (he had succeeded Th. Dubois in 
1896) as Inspector of the provincial Conservatoires and lastly, 
since 1903, as Music Critic of le Figaro. Happily, these diverse 
activities left him some free time. He could continue to write to 
please himself, and the years from 1896 to 1905 were still fairly 
fruitful. Many admirable songs (le Parfum imperissable, laForet 
de Septembre, etc.), a powerful work for piano (Theme et variations), 
other pieces of smaller dimensions, but which are far from negligible, 
the incidental music to Pelleas et Melisande, and lastly that still too 
little known masterpiece, Promethee such, in spite of all his other 
ancillary occupations, is the record of this period of assiduous toil. 
The Pelleas of Maeterlinck was to be given in London in 1898, 
at the Prince of Wales Theatre ; Faure composed some interludes, 
and went himself to conduct the orchestra. This music is well known ; 2 
a Suite of extracts has been often performed. As it is now an open 
secret, especially since M. Vuillermoz has disclosed the fact in his 
contribution to " Fifty Years of French Music," a I can confess that 
Faure did me the honour to entrust the orchestration to me. He 
has admitted collaboration of this sort ; perhaps even the instrumental 
score of Penelope is not entirely his work. 

With regard to Promethee, the performers were innumerable ; 
choirs, soloists, two wind bands (that of the lyre Bitterroise, and that 
of a Regiment of Engineers, from Montpellier) supported by an 
imposing mass of strings and some fifteen harps. The scoring was 
the work of the Bandmaster of the Regiment, a difficult task, carried 
out in a manner which could not be bettered. It is well known that 
these performances at Beziers had, before the war (1914-18), been 
undertaken and subsidised by the sympathetic Bitterois Mycena, 
M. Castelbon de Beauxhostes. 4 It is owing to him that something 
of the art of Greece has been revived. Promethee will be discussed 
again at greater length in a following chapter. Its history can be 
dealt with in a few lines. The work was written in the winter and 
spring of 1900 ; the composer as he wrote it sent it off to his 
orchestrator, along with some general indications as to colour and 
nuance. Then he went to Beziers to undertake personally the final 
rehearsals. These were for him unforgettable days. He found 

*ffe had a horror for the Cantata of the Prix de Rome. In this competition his 
pupils succeeded less often than those of Massenet ; but this is not a point of im> 
portance. On the other hand, in his class chamber music benefited by a lively sym^ 
pathy ; which there is no cause to regret. 

*In France, that is ; it is less familiar over here. (7>.) 

^Published by la Librairie de France. 

*At the instigation of his friend, Camille Saint-S-$a ens t 

Gabriel Faure 

himself again in his native southern country ; the hot sun gave to 
both things and people an intense life. The choristers worked, in 
the evenings, under the open sky, the dark blue infinity ^ studded with 
great diamonds. The combined rehearsals took place in the Arena, 
in the brilliant glare of radiant afternoons. A general exultation 
communicated to all the performers the longing, the desire, to under 
stand and to love. Those who have not seen it can have no conception 
of this bold and superb reproduction of the ancient tragedy. 1 

The case of Beziers is memorable, because an appeal was made 
to the ordinary citizens for the male portions of the chorus ; they 
proved once rnore that in this regard, amateurs are capable of excellent 
results. (The instrumentalists of la Lyre Bitterroise were doubtless 
not in the first class, nor as good technically as their confreres from 
Montpellier, but in the end they acquitted themselves most honourably 
in this difficult score, and the ensemble was magnificent.) We under 
stand that other towns of the Midi, notably Narbonne, have followed 
this example. Some day perhaps we may be able to do things in 
the North with as much intelligence and zeal. 

Promethee is a landmark in the life of Gabriel Faure his first 
contact with Greek art. 2 It influenced the remainder of his career, 
and from then on his art tended towards a simplification almost to 
the point of bareness, reduced to essentials ; themes of a Doric purity 
and, in short, the resurrection of the spirit of Greece in a modern 
idiom (we shall return to this at greater length in the last chapter). 
Equally important is la Foret de Septembre (1903), so heart-rending 
in its premonitions of the future. It seems that from this moment 
the musician, little by little, felt old age gaining on^ him. There is a 
singular gravity, occasionally indeed to be found in works anterior 
to this 3 but whose accent, here, takes on a decisive character, born 
of the composer s personal, living experience. 

Certainly, he had kept his youth well. Youthful in gait, in intelligence 
and inspiration ; musically ever on the alert, his heart still tender, 
his body firm despite his age. At Beziers, approaching his sixtieth 
birthday, he leapt up the steps of the amphitheatre with ease. One 
had the impression that this little man not, indeed, athletic, but 
by no means old would continue the same for many years to come. 
And so in fact he appeared to us, right up to 1917 or 1918. 

When Th. Dubois retired, in 1905, it was with some little astonish 
ment that I learnt that Faure was succeeding him as Director of the 
Conservatoire. I had never imagined that he would have this official 
honour bestowed on him ; besides, I could not credit that he had 
accepted such engrossing duties ! But the news was true. Although 
almost torture to him, he was constrained to give up his time to 
administrative business, the greater part of which could as well have 
been transacted by any of his colleagues. Without a doubt, the 

> We were privileged to assist the following year. We have attempted to describe 
our impressions in an article in the Revue Musicale, on " The Theatre of Gabriel 
Faure" {October, 1922), 

z lf we except la Rose, Hellenic certainly, but less powerful and naturally on smaller 
lines. Caligula and Lydia are Roman ; Faure s instinct never failed him t 

z Cf. Theme et variations, and the 7th Nocturne, in C Sharp Minor, 



minister offering him the post did him honour ; but he could have 
done without it. He was miserable at not being able to compose, 
and one can only deplore the strange way our Third Republic has 
of " supporting " its intellectuals. When a great musician like 
Gabriel Faure, when an artist of exceptional worth a national figure 
has not the means necessary to existence, because fine music brings 
in almost nothing, because wealth is the monopoly of operettas, of 
the music-hall and the veristic drama 1 when, for this artist, it is 
a question of providing for himself and his family, is it not a barbarous 
stupidity that he should be engulfed by lessons, or compelled to 
orchestrate I know not what, or again, reduced to receiving a thousand 
importunators, from morning till night, if he directs a Conservatoire ? 
Perhaps, if one could admit that the personality of the Director might 
create music and induce a healthy outlook in an establishment as 
vast as that of Paris, one would not have such lively regrets for the 
time lost by Faure. But is this admissible ? It is probable, on the 
contrary, that he had more influence as a mere professor of com 
position. Once in the Director s chair he found himself estranged 
from his young pupils. However, he applied himself to certain 
reforms. In the singing classes the repertoire was enlarged improved, 
where possible. More classics ; and lieder such as the Erl King 
and Margaret at the Spinning Wheel. 2 On the examination boards 
for Harmony, Counterpoint and Fugue appeared such notable musicians 
as Claude Debussy, Maurice Ravel, Paul Dukas. Naturally, the 
most gifted candidates had nothing to complain of. But after all 
these were small improvements,, which others besides himself could 
have introduced ; whereas the direction of the Conservatoire took 
up all his time. It is remarkable that, despite so little leisure, the 
balance for the years 1905 to 1920 remains so favourable ; 3 three new 
volumes of songs (la Chanson d*Eve, le Jardin clos, Mirages), the first 
Quintet, Penelope (Monte-Carlo, 4th May, 19 13- then at the Champs- 
Elysees theatre, under G. Astruc), the second Violin Sonata, the first 
Cello Sonata, and the Fantaisie for Piano and Orchestra. 
A double recognition rewarded him during these years of officialdom. 

l With the exception of a few hallowed masterpieces, by chance become lucrative. 

*In the instrumental classes it remained very difficult to modify the repertoire. The 
competition pieces stress, principally, virtuosity ; but this tradition is so powerful that 
it would require a " revolution " in the Conservatoire to accord to phrasing, style and 
rhythm the importance which belongs to them as, on the other hand, to admit music 
other than that commonly known as classic ; / mean, to pay more heed to the 16th 
and 17 th centuries, or to allow the existence of modern, even contemporary, classics. 
As for the composers technique, one innovation is quite certainly attributable to 
Gabriel Faure ; it is the counterpoint class. This has scarcely come up to expecta 
tions. It is clear that in the time of Massenet and Guiraud the majority of pupils 
wrote better fugues than they do to-day ; this was due to a number of causes and we 
have not the time to discuss them here. But particularly, it was quite illogical to 
separate counterpoint from fugue ; for administrative reasons, counterpoint should 
have been kept in the composition class. Since M. Rabaud s taking over the division 
has been different : 1st, counterpoint and fugue ; 2nd, musical composition. But 
we would prefer the combined instruction of Massenet, with A, Gedalge to help when 
needed on the purely technical side, when the master was otherwise engaged. 

3 In quality, if not in quantity ; for this period of fifteen years certainly shows a 
slackening off in production. 


Gabriel Faure 

la 1909 the Institute welcomed him; 27 years after Paladilhe, 31 
after Massenet though these were almost his contemporaries : which 
makes one wonder concerning the choice of the illustrious company 
to which neither Rodin, nor Degas, nor Franck, nor Debussy^ ever 
belonged. And secondly the larger publishers began to notice his ex 
istence. Heugels issued Chanson d &ve and Penelope ; then Durand 1 
followed with le Jardin chs, Mirages, as well as his latest chamber 
music (the first Quintet was published by Schirmers -of New York). 
Decidedly, this was fame. He had never sought it ; it came to him 
simply by reason of the beauty of his music ; the reason that had led 
Dujardin-Beaumetz, on the excellent advice of Mme. Roujon, to 
nominate him as Director of the Conservatoire. 

Faure remained faithful to the Societe Nationale. Nevertheless, 
this did not prevent him from encouraging the foundation of a rival 
society, the S.M.I. (Societe Musicale Independence). It was in his 
study that was outlined a project, in opposition to the old pupils 
of Franck and against the supremacy then enjoyed by the Schola 
Cantorum in the Societe Rationale., for the uniting of a group with 
wider sympathies. The name defines the aims : independence of 
cliques, dogmas and theories. More a wish than a reality ; total 
independence is very rare ! But it was linked with the aesthetic, 
at once liberal and traditional, of Gabriel Faure. The new venture 
intended to accept, without bothering about tendencies, all works 
worthy of interest ; Faure consented to be its president. As is well 
known, the first years of the S.M.L were brilliant. Its very success 
incited the Societe Nationale to a wider view, in the fruitful emulation 
which this rivalry produced. 

During the war Faure longed ardently for their fusion ; it was 
a real sorrow to him that this could not be brought about. But 
at this particular period there were such, divergencies between the 
two committees that a union without autonomy could have led to 
nothing but a hybrid choice, turning away work of any significance 
from each side and admitting only academic music, .devoid of character. 
Perhaps only the real presidency, active and dictatorial, of Gabriel 
Faure or Claude Debussy, could have brought about the fusion in 
a profitable manner. But about 1915 supposing such a role to 
have been in his nature Faure had not the leisure for that ; his 
exacting administrative duties and his advancing age left him with 
neither the time nor the desire to take in hand a control, somewhat 
** fascist " as it would of necessity have been ; and as for Debussy, 
he not only held himself aloof, but was already suffering from the 
cruel illness which was to carry him off in 1918. 

To sum up, Faure*s musical sympathies were with the S.M.I. ; 
his disciples knew this well. And in his heart he never approved 
the change of spirit of the Nationale., which around 1910 had become 

T-Wedo not count en Priere (1890) nor the three earlier songs comprising Poeme <Tun 
jour, exceptionally published by Durand, and which are not numbered among his best 
works. As for Enoch, he had refused la Bonne Chanson as too dissonant and quite 
incomprehensible. This is no exaggeration ; the publisher himself confided this in 
formation to us, with no apparent regrets. It is true that at that time (about 1895) 
the work was still little known. 



almost a branch of the Schola Cantorum. 1 But old friendships 
(particularly with Vincent d Indy), and the memory of all he owed 
to the Nationale -for he was never an ingrate caused him to reserve 
for it the first performances of his second Quintet, the Trio and the 
String Quartet. 

He had at last left the Conservatoire in 1920. In the last two or 
three years his health had been impaired. His lungs had become 
more delicate ; no winter passed without an alarm. I was sadly 
struck in 1917 or 1918 to see him, who at the termly examinations 
had always seemed to us so robust and unchanged, grown thin, 
almost emaciated ; and though as lively in his mind as ever seized 
by a disquieting physical fatigue. A bad attack of influenza had 
aged him had, who knows ? hastened his approaching end. And 
one dreaded to think that in a short time, perhaps, the swan would 
sing no more. 

From 1920, as if in the knowledge that his life was nearly over, he 
laboured feverishly. His works, one after another, express that 
serene beauty his art had attained, and which was already noticeable 
in Penelope, la Chanson d ve, and the second Violin Sonata. How 
unforgettable were the evenings at the Nationale which welcomed 
the second Quintet, the second Cello Sonata, the Trio . . . ! 

He was at that time spending his winters in the Midi, at Nice. But 
the erratic climate, with its sudden changes of temperature, was not 
always favourable. A serious attack of bronchitis brought him to 
the brink of the grave. " The lamp grows dim,** said he one day. 
However, his natural vigour asserted itself, and he made a fair recovery. 
It is sad to reflect, but necessary to repeat, that Fauxe s means were 
still precarious. The increase in the cost of living coincided with 
a sensible diminution of his income ; the State, in 1920, allowed him 
a pension which was quite insignificant. " Since Francois 1st is dead," 
artists of genius, in their old age, cannot hope to be welcomed as was 
Leonardo da Vinci by the " Roi Dilettante." 2 The authorities could 
not be counted on ; it was necessary to make economies to balance 
the budget ! Well, it was better and finer thus ; for a great demonstra 
tion, the result of private initiative, united all his friends and partisans 
in the amphitheatre of the Sorbonne (June 20th, 1922). 

Some friends of the master had had the idea of a concert for his 
benefit with the co-operation of celebrated performers and the 
rendering of his finest works. The government willingly allowed 
the use of the hall ; and they recognised this as a national homage 
with the assent and presence of M. Alexandre Millerand, President 
of the Republic. Truth to tell, Faure was not, is not and never will 
be a popular composer, like the writer of successful operettas ; one 
hardly dared hope adequately to fill the vast hall. But, backed by 
an intelligent publicity, the enterprise succeeded beyond all expectations. 
And not only the inquisitive, and the snobs, were there, but, with the 
still surviving friends of his youth (with many a touching reunion), 

^Which Faure, it is known, scarcely liked. And probably his project for the fusion 
of the two rivals was not unconnected with a desire to balance the " scholastic " 
tendencies of the Nationale by the Debussyan or Faurien outlook of the S.M.L 

^Francois 1st, ** le Roi dilettante" was also known as " pere des lettres" (7r.) 


Gabriel Faure 

there were the best of his colleagues, his pupils, and all musicians 
worthy of the name and lastly, that whole host of obscure admirers 
won. by the magic of his charm. And on this occasion M. Millerand 
was forced to reflect on the power of art, to reckon with the invincible 
force of beauty. Courteous applause had welcomed him. Soon 
afterwards Faure appeared, and the acclamation was enthusiastic, 
unanimous, immense. Such moments are salutary in the history of 
art ; they give confidence in the future. It needs that nothing less 
so that a little optimism may support us in the face of Philistinism, 
too often triumphant. The audience, also, was perfect in compre 
hension and tact, applauding with an intelligent fervour, discriminating 
among the performers but reserving the major place for the master- 
creator and, in this diversified programme, distinguishing easily the 
best from the second-rate Faure, 

tk What consoles me as I grow older," he wrote one day to his 
disciple and faithful friend, Smile Vuillennoz (thanking him for so 
many pages of a profound and subtle analysis) " is your sympathy." 
1 imagine that on this memorable occasion the consolation must 
have come in the form of the certainty of survival. A comfort only 
relative, for he felt still so much creative force in him, knowing that 
the future would not allow him to realise his dreams ! But still, 
courageously,* with indomitable energy, despite the wear and tear 
on his physique, the artist continued to live for his art. The summer 
came, and he went to the neighbourhood of Annecy, to the house 
of his devoted friends M. and Mme. Maillot. There were written 
the second Quintet, the Trio, the second Cello Sonata, and finally 
the String Quartet, which he never heard, the work not having been 
played until after his death. I had the good fortune, thanks to the 
kind hospitality offered me in this residence, to meet him again for 
a few days in July, 1923. 

A large and peaceful country house in Annecy-le-Vieux, on the 
heights dominating the valley. The view from this hill is marveUous, 
over the mountains, almost Italian in the light and contours, fringing 
the blue waters of the lake dear to J-J. Rousseau. In the calm of 
evening the master would sit, contemplating the harmony and peace 
of the countryside. A truly perfect synthesis this of Faurien music 
and the emotion of these closing hours, serene but indescribable ; 
the sun illuminating with soft light the tranquil summits silhouetted 
against the azure sky. There is indeed much -happiness and much 
sadness in this divine quiet, in the almost celestial purity of the light, 
soft air ; under the shadow of night, how is it possible not to dwell 
on the painful end of the artist who perhaps to-morrow will be no 
more? Doubtless, put into words, transposed thus into the realm 
of literature, these phrases seem to you artificially symmetrical, an 
ingenious correspondence between the countryside and the soul. 
However, I know well, as did every friend of Gabriel Faure, that 
in these months when each day his work snatched something from 
death it was impossible not to feel a tender and cruel emotion, an 
almost physical pain which tore at the heart. 

But in this contented house, in the beautiful garden, in the midst 



of kindly nature and surrounded by his affectionate hosts, Faure 
appeared admirably confident and youthful in spirit. He remained 
in touch with the whole life of the nation politically, artistically, 
literary. In the evenings he played chess, having learnt (when nearly 
eighty) this difficult game, with its imperious demands on the attention. 
He won with a naive pleasure, and lost with a good grace. During 
the day he worked. 

The last year, 1924, his weakness increased. He felt himself over 
whelmed by extreme fatigue but he overcame it, determined to finish 
his career with a String Quartet, a work which for a long time he 
had not dared to tackle, because (said he), " of the great difficulty 
of such a composition." Everyone knows this absolute modesty, 
a dominant characteristic of his gifted and rich nature. The night 
of its completion found him in pain ; forced to keep to his bed during 
the following days, he was taken soon after to his own house at Passy, 
in his apartments in the Rue des Vignes. Despite the most diligent 
care his condition worsened. Before leaving Annecy, however, he 
had found strength to write to one of the Vice-Presidents of the 
S.M.I, recommending the score of an old pupil, M. Le Boucher. His 
last days, in the intervals o f respite which his illness allowed him, 
were devoted to the revision of the Quartet, the manuscript of which 
he confided to his faithful disciple and friend Roger Ducasse (2 Nov.) ; 
with a final recommendation that it should be examined closely, to 
make quite sure that it was worthy of performance (sic). 

" Have my works received justice ? Have they not been too much 
admired, or sometimes too severely criticised ? What of my music 
will live ? " He added, a moment afterwards : " But then, that is 
of little importance." Such were his last words. He died a few hours 
later, Nov. 4th, at 2 a.m. 

Everyone knows the " national " obsequies which were accorded 
him. But perhaps it is not so well known that this official recognition 
was not obtained without a good deal of parleying and negotiation. 
A very important personage indeed, when told of the death of the 
great master of French music, asked his very words " Faure 
who is he ? " A whole day was spent in discussions and evasions 
then, finally convinced, the ministers gave way. The Madeleine 
Church, which for so long had resounded to his beautiful improvisa 
tions, was chosen ; his own Requiem pleaded for the clemency divine, 
and the orchestra also played the funeral plaint from Pelleas et 
Melisande}- Words fail to express the emotions felt by the participants 
his friends, at least ; though all were not there, for places had been 
distributed by favour and not by merit. For many it was a question 
of a rare spectacle, rather than a pious commemoration. This was 
noticeable when, at the close of the ceremony, the noise of shuffling 
chairs among the crowd drowned the grave flutes mourning Melisande 
and Faure. Outside, the steps of the Madeleine formed a rostrum 

*The ingoing voluntary was an improvisation by M, Dallier on the theme of the 
filegie for > Cello ; before the Requiem the tender and profound Nocturne from 
Shylock was played by the strings. The soloists in the Requiem were Mme. Jeanne 
Laval and M. 0i. Panzera, the excellent baritone to whom is dedicated PHorizon 


Gabriel Faure 

from which several speeches were made. That of the Minister of 
Education and Fine Arts, M Francois Albert, left no one in ignorance, 
this time, as to " who was Faure." Among the crowd there was 
less reverence ; one cannot expect the impossible. " All the traffic 
must be held up, just for one man who kicks the bucket, " grumbled 
countless malcontents, m a Montmartre accent. No matter : everyone 
could not know, or understand. The fundamental- fact is the power 
of this art, whose beauty finally imposed itself, definitely and beyond 
all discussion, so that the representatives of the nation were forced 
to such an act of homage to salute the memory of the most musical 
of modern composers. 



Vocal Music (Songs, Part Songs and Choruses) 

FOR A LONG time the master was classed as a " charming " musician, 
a song-writer, the " French Schumann." This is not true. Infinitely 
superior to the pretty ballad type, his songs are, however^ not Lieder ; 
and as for the comparison with Schumann, it seems to us artificial 

In this genre there are some essential differences between him and 
the most celebrated Germans (Schubert, Schumann and Brahms). 1 
With the composer of Le Parfum imperissable, there was no " popular " 
origin ; besides, from the time of le Lamento he quickly freed himself 
from the strophic form. In short, illustrative and introspective, he 
shows a French subtlety, very personal, and indefinable in, a few words, 
which derived from his musical language, his taste, a certain reserve 
in the expression, and an imagination rich, diverse and precise ; one 
cannot compare his Song with the German Lied. 

Not that he at once attained his ideal ; it is a far cry from les 
Matelots to le Chanson d Eve, through le Chant d automne, Nell, 
Clair de lime, la Bonne Chanson, le Foret de Septembre, Arid this 
evolution presents some curious irregularities. If one studies the 
sequence of Opus numbers in the first collection one finds pieces 
clearly Faurien alternating with other compositions much less personal, 
the Serenade toscane or Lydia ar,achronistically preceding Rve 
d amour (Op. 5), Trislesse, and 5>/v|e-(Op. 6). Moreover, following 
the poems, the quality of his musical ideas changes ; and to an 
extreme degree, if he is one of those who really penetrate the text 
to the point of translating, almost unawares, even the weaknesses. 
Now Gabriel Faure had this gift, amounting almost to genius, of 
identifying himself with the poets. 2 That is why, after the profoundly 
moving Spleen., and la Rose, infused with clearest paganism (1889), 
we are not astonished that en Priere (1890) to some mediocre lines 
is uneven. 

Another characteristic of his evolution is the progressive abandon 
ment of strophic repetition. 3 Not that this form was incapable of 

*And equally between them and M. Duparc, Claude Debussy, etc. 

2 At times he seems to go further,, to penetrate deeper, than the poet ; he could then 
be said to reveal, by his music, a beauty latent in the text. Sometimes too though 
more rarely he seems to interpret it with a slightly more personal bias. In all other 
cases there is scrupulous fidelity to the intentions of his collaborator, 

*The sense of the word, progressive, is easy to grasp. After some identical couplets 
(le Papiilon et la Fleur), you will find some presenting slight alterations ; later, the 
plan of his songs becomes ternary (chiefly in the second set) ; finally, you admire a 
form quite homogeneous, wherein the idea, in development, is built up to a climax f 
as we shall see in due course. 


Gabriel Faure 

beauty : witness the marvellous Venise of Gounod, or Lydia, in its 
way a masterpiece. But it must be confessed that the generality of 
poems do not accommodate themselves readily to textual repetition 
demanded of folksong, since the nature of primitive perceptions 
requires the repetition, ad nauseam, of the same things. And, from 
the musical point of view, it is certain that a well-ordered development, 
leading to the summit of expression, is more likely to be preferred, 
provided that the artist is cut out for the task. In the second set 
there are, strictly speaking, no couplets. 1 Even from the first set, 
Chant d automne provides us with a veritable symphonic organisation 
in miniature, as much by the plan as by the writing. 2 It is thus that 
Faure, little by little, arrives at those perfect songs wherein the emotion 
becomes more intense in proportion as it makes more clearly for the 
final goal. 3 

1st Collection. We need not dwell on his youthful studies (Op. 1 
and 2) : le Papillon et la Fleur, Mai, les Matelots. Their style is 
correct, the harmony pleasing ; the prosody (especially in the first 
of these) is open to question. Alone, certain modulations in Mai 
give us some inkling of the future, showing, with the influence of 
Gounod, a keenness of ear which is not negligible. The same qualities 
are to be found in dans les Ruines d une abbaye^ slightly " romance" 
but whose charm is perennial, with the naive freshness of its musical 
idea, so youthful and ingenuous. The exact dates of these works 
are not known. " About 1865 " is given for this first set by the 
catalogue published by the Revue musfcale, during Faure s lifetime. 5 
This is vague. One would rather suppose Op. 1 to be earlier than 
1865, the year of le Cantique de Racine, whose technique and harmony 
is greatly preferable. On the other hand, the Serenade toscane and 
Seule (Op. 3) we hold to be clearly later. Seule, nearer to Saint- 
Saens, betrays the organist s craft ; as for the Serenade, it is typically 
Faurien, with the characteristic Mtone, reminiscent of 6 Marguerite s 
air from the Act in the Garden ! But could not one say, without 
malevolent irony, that Gounod s heroine sings here in the style of 
Faure? 7 The Serenade toscane reveals already, in some charming 
details of writing, the feeling for Italy (an Italy of grace and fancy) 
which suggested to him some delicious music, right up to the time 
of Arpege (1897). We have good reasons for admiring Op. 4 : 
Chanson du p&heur, and Lydia. Th. Gau tier s celebrated Lamento, 
after the beautiful settings of Berlioz and Gounod, gave Faure the 

l Even -when the poem suggests it ; for example^ Notre amour, where each strophe is 

z We are thinking here of the movement of the bass, so solid and removed from the 
" song form," which will be found towards the middle of this fine song. 

*Cf. le Parfum imperissable, Dans la Nymphee, many a number in la Bonne 
Chanson, etc. 

*e.g.> on the return of the key of A Flat, by means of a charming and unexpected 
D Flat (bar 8), 

6 Revue musicale, October, 1922. 

6 Cf. " O toi mon ame, ma pensee. . ." For Marguerite s air the question is, 
how to end the act in the best manner. Re-read : " Est-ce de plaisir et d* amour, 
que lafeuille tremble et palpite ? **, 

7 A similar remark applies to some passages in Venise, 


Vocal Music 

opportunity for ample development ; he eschewed the couplet form, 
in which he felt himself decidedly cramped. 1 In Lydia, Leconte de 
Lisle (or, if you prefer it, the good Horace) 2 again inspired him most 
happily. Even to-day, it is not without a poignant emotion that 
we read that adorable phrase, full of pagan resignation and voluptuous 
grace : " Oublions Feternelle tombe . . . laisse tes baisers . . . chanter 
sur ta levre enfleur . . . * And the Coda, in its purity, so astonishingly 
simple, foreshadows the Greek artist of I 7 Inscription sur le sable -, from 
le Jardin clos. Nevertheless, Lydia displays a Latin charm ; a nuance 
indefinable, subtle, but most decidedly perceptible. After this marvel 
one is astonished to find only a superficial pleasantness in Reve d* amour 
(on Victor Hugo s well-known poem, " S il estun charmant gazon . , .") 
But here the composer was- led astray by his fidelity to the text. It 
must be acknowledged that the incomparable interpreter of Verlaine 
was ill-served by collaboration with Victor Hugo. Too many factors 
separated them ; and anyway, the art of that prodigious word spinner 
was rarely suited to music. U Absent (Op. 5, No. 3), is of a higher 
order of inspiration ; even so the somewhat theatrical dramatising 
of the poet accords ill with Faure s nature. This was better suited 
by Baudelaire s Chant d automne (Op. 5, No. 1), which makes up 
for Reve d amour. We have already remarked on the impressive 
development of this work ; it is illumined by that strange Baudelairian 
light which M. Duparc has realised, once and for all, in V Invitation 
au voyage. Read it again, that it may not fall into an unjust oblivion. 
Op. 6 comprises three songs : Aubade (L. Pomey), limpid and 
ingenuous, anticipates VAurore of the second set ; but Tristesse drags, 
with its four stanzas ; and finally, on account of its banal text (P. de 
Choudens), Sylvle is not the best Faure. Op. 7 seems to us much 
superior ; the rhapsodical nostalgia, the moving mastery of Apres 
un reve compels our entire admiration. Despite the disparity between 
their opus numbers it may well be that this lovely inspiration was 
contemporaneous with Serenade toscane, both pieces being written 
on adaptations, by Romain Bussine, of some Italian poems. In 
Hymne there is, perhaps, a flagging of the inspiration ; the profound 
personality, especially, is less evident (despite some novel harmony, 
towards the middle). But the Barcarolle (M. Monnier) is one of 
those God-given inspirations, direct, immediate, which are the 
characteristic of genius. 3 No other music is conceivable to this poem, 
itself without much intrinsic value, but a source of beauty by the 
setting it evokes. The song must have been composed soon after 
1870, the date of the Tarentelle (a Duet on some lines by the same 
author). In a few chords sustaining with their profound modulations 
a recitative of popular gait (but the popular style of the past ; before 
the art of the mob), there is all the infinite harmony of night time in 
Venice. What a magician, already ! The collection, closes with 
Op. 8 : Au bordde Teau (Sully-Prudhomme), whose progressions were 
1 C/. " Sur moi, le nuit immense plane comme un. linceuL . . ," 
*Much of Leconte de Lisle s poetry was modelled on Horace and the classics gener 
ally. (7>.) 

imagined, we have previously said, since Faure became acquainted with the 
Queen of the Adriatic " only much later. 


Gatriel Faure 

daring for their time, and have never dated ; la Ran f on, where, as 
with Hynme, it is a pity that Baudelaire has not inspired the musician 
as he did with Chant d automne ; and Ici-bas 9 tous Us lilas meurent, 
not without charm, but which does not impress as much as Barcarolle, 
Lydia or Apres un reve. 

The dates of the lists which we have consulted indicate a long time 
between the first and the second volumes. But we have remarked 
that the former, to all appearances, extends over a period of several 
years ; from 1863 perhaps, to 1870 or even later. Besides, it is not 
reasonable to suppose such a long interruption in a genre which 
the master always held dear. " About 1880 " for Op. 18 ; 1882, for 
Op. 23 these correspond with the time of publication. But surely 
they were composed much earlier ? For consider : at the beginning 
of this modest organist s career there was no scramble among publishers 
for his manuscripts. After all, for those who know the slowness of 
tfc pere Hamelle " in publishing his stock of music, it would seem 
quite logical that Op. 18, dating from 1876 and sold in 1878, may 
not have been printed until two years later in 1880. But it is of 
little consequence ; let us come to the study of : 

The Second Volume. Nell (Op. 18, No. 1), a marvel of grace, of 
an ardour voluptuously chaste, skilful in technique and supple in 
modulation. 1 Le Voyageur (No. 2) a dramatic Faure, foreshadowed 
in a few pieces in the first volume. Ternary form, as also the 
succeeding Autornne (No. 3). This shows a rare unity, a sound 
construction without a fault. The beauty of the vocal line, with its 
mounting emotion culminating in the final F. Sharp, is supported 
by harmonies akin to those one finds sometimes in Saint-Saens or 
Alexis de Castillon. 2 The three songs of Poeme d un jour (Op. 21) 
are much to the taste of singers ; charm alternates with a certain 
pathetic force, and the work concludes with a subdued resignation 
in which perhaps is seen the best of the work. Even so there is no 
comparison with either le Secret or les Berceaux (Op. 23). There 
is the same perfection in les Berceaux as in Automne ; no one knows 
better than Faure how to reconcile diversity of detail with the discipline 
of a rhythm or design which is pursued with the most rigorous 
constancy. And the emotion is not any the less, indeed on the 
contrary. Le Secret, intimate, and so difficult of interpretation by 
reason of its restrained feeling, shows that the present scorn for 
Annand Silvestre betrays some injustice ; unless a tenable proposition 
it is held only that Faure has transfigured these lines ? Notre amour, 
I -confess, seems less happy, and the artificiality of the poem 3 has 
indeed proved an . obstacle to the musician, despite the excellent 
writing he maintains. Op. 27 is again from Armand Silvestre : 
Chanson tfamour and la Fee aux Chansons, lively and charming 
(particularly |he second) ; the grace of their unexpected modulations 
is Faure s own. Not less attractive is le .Pays des Reves (Op .39, 

1 Cf. the return to the original key, before the final phrase, " la chantante mer> le long 
du rivage. . . ." 

*Marie Alexis Vicomte de Castillon de Saint-Victor (1 838-73), first secretary of the 
Societe Natiooate, and one of the pioneers of modern French song. (7>.) 

*" Notre amour est chose legere . . . charmante . . . sacree , . . etemette" 


Vocal Music 

No. 3), with its indecisive rocking, tonal nevertheless ; and above 
all Aurore (No. 1), wherein reappears the youthful sentiments of 
VAubade, not without some subtle and profound melancholy whose 
contrasting shade makes even more brilliant, though with no harsh 
harmonies, the morning splendour of the return. " Trament de fils 
d argent . . ." Decidedly, is not one compelled to admire the poet 
who could inspire such music ? But the gem of this Op. 39 is most 
assuredly No. 4, les Roses d Ispahan. One wonders at the diversity 
of the composer ; his assimilation of the poets is such that one 
exclaims : these are not translations, but the poems themselves. A 
fantastical imagination would suggest to us, before so real an 
Orientalism, that this dreamy nonchalance sprang from I know not 
what Mussulman stock, contemporaneous with the Moorish invasion 
of the Midi. (Faure s build resembled that of a peaceful Arab 
merchant.) But this would not explain how he showed himself 
worthy of Villiers de FIsle-Adam by two admirable songs : Nocturne 
(Op. 43, No. 2), and les Presents (Op. 46, No. 1), They are held in 
insufficient esteem by the general public ; the profound mystery of 
the first, the elegance of the second, as enigmatic and somewhat 
distant, though extremely sensitive, keep the masses at arm s length. 
Actually, they count amongst the most beautiful .of the second 
volume. 1 The celebrated Clair de June, also always moving in its 
apparent indifference, dates from the same period (Op, 46, No. 2, 
1887). An Italy of imagination, music of flutes, mandores 2 and 
violas d amore a secret anguish which persists in the most harmonious 
perfection of harmony, line and rhythmic form. 3 But how pointless 
is criticism ! and how feeble one feels before the impossible task I 
To the end of the volume there is no flagging. 4 Larmes (1889), 
with its wild augmented fifths, although slightly later than the Second 
Quartet (1886), shows some relationship with the image of the 
" smithy " which appears for the first time in the instrumental work. 
This striking- song is hardly ever sung ; a hitherto unknown Faure 
is revealed in these accents, extremely violent despite their rhythmic 
unity : a vigorous, bitter and almost romantic inspiration. Au 
Cimetiere is not less violent in its middle section ; it enshrines the 
recollection of the peaceful country graveyard, seen in the clear air 
from the cliff s height. Points to note are the harmony, modal 
(plain-chant) and of a rustic humility, and the deep tenderness and 
immensity of it all, 5 in such a few bars. Spleen (" II pleure dans mon 

*The order of this account has caused us to omit No. 2 of Op. 39, Heur jetee, of a 
totally different character and, one would say, from its violent expression, earlier in 
point of time than le Pays des Reves or les Roses cflapahan. But do not forget that 
a great artist is always multiple, and sometimes subjects mastered him rather than that 
he chose them. We see moreover in this work some vigorous modulations by which 
the musician enlarged his kingdom. 

t Mandore, a small stringed instrument of the lute class. (7h) 

*C/. ** Ils n ont pas Tair de croire a leur bonheur. . . Et leur chanson se mele au 
clair de Inner 

*Exceptfor Ea pri&re, aUbeit contemporaneous (1890). We have already indicated 
the reasons why this song is inferior to its neighbours. 

*Cf. " Et pew &vec de vrais regrets Tappeler par son wm" 


Gabriel Faure 

coeur "), one of the best interpretations of this celebrated poem, 
maintains a high standard in its intense melancholy, and how superior 
to Debussy s setting ! (Without setting up any other comparison, 
and while admiring unreservedly other masterpieces such as le Colloque 
sentimental) Finally, la Rose (No. 4 of Op. 51, Nos. 1, 2 and 3 of 
which we have just noticed). In these few pages are a Mediterranean 
vividness, a harmonious and healthy paganism. And what extra 
ordinary suppleness, what easy and youthful perfection, in solving 
so difficult a problem : fitting each word to the music without 
destroying the unity ! * 

The second collection used to finish 1 with the two pieces of Op. 73, 
which the usual lists mention as being later : Prison (Verlaine) and 
Soir (A. Samain). 2 Is not this an error ? For we seem to remember 
quite clearly that they appeared before le Parfum imperissable (Op. 76). 
Rather one would place these compositions about the year 1895 
before le Parfum imperissable (1897), and contemporaneous with 
Pleurs d"or, likewise inspired by Albert Samain. " C est la pitie 
qui pose ainsi son doigt sur nous ..." Certainly, he had already 
written pure, perfect, even very moving melodies ; and la Bonne 
Chanson, truly unique in intensity, had just been finished. But had 
he before, except perhaps in some bars of En sourdine and C est 
Vextase, and the admirable D Flat Nocturne, ever sung with a voice 
so understanding and profound as in this phrase, which will for ever 
stir the hearts of Faure s devotees ? Soir, the crowning achievement 
of the second collection, reaches the summit of tenderness and 
compassion. Prison is by no means inferior, though the two works 
have nothing in common. There is all the anguish of Verlaine, 
dramatic but restrained and which everyone else save Debussy ran 
the risk of making theatrical : " Dis, qu as tu fait . . . de ta 
jeunesse ? " The voice loses itself in the mists of memory, accompanied 
by a boldness of writing so truly necessary and direct that one does 
not notice the audacious perfection of the style. 

Going back a little to the separate collections 3 : the songs " de 
Venise" (1890) and la Bonne Chanson (1891-92), both to texts by 
Verlaine, a favourite of the musician since Spleen. The first of these 
suites opens with a sort of homage to Watteau : Mandoline (from 
Fetes galantes), of a witty and dreamy elegance, with momentary 
glimpses, almost nostalgic, over distant parklands, in the dim twilight 
of a moon " rose et grise." En sourdine and C est I extase reveal 
an emotion similar to that of le Soir of Samain with, in addition, 
something of the particular melancholy of the poet of La Null 
de Walpurgis classique : " Cette ame qui se lamente ..." Un 
doubtedly, the inspiration of these two is on a high level, and 
compared with them A Clymene, though characteristic, pales somewhat 

^Nowadays, these songs (with Larmes, Spleen, etc.") form part of the third set the 
second, like the first., containing only 20 songs. 

s Prison and Soir figure in the old edition of the second set as Op. 73, and not " Op. 83, 
(1900) " as later lists indicate. 

* Since this time the publisher Hamelle has issued a third volume of songs wherein 
can be found those "from Venice " as well as the Madrigal and the Serenade from 
Shylock. The others will be noticed in due course, before la Chanson d five. 


Vocal Music 

and even the very charming Green. But neither Faure nor Debussy 
discovered the extreme sadness buried by the " pauvre Lelian " under 
his fruits, flowers, leaves and branches. The whole of this album, 
with its frequent fragrance of the past, sad, calm and serene, merits 
its vogue among connoisseurs. /But the rhapsodical quality of la Bonne 
Chanson, its extraordinary vital force, the passion of light and happiness 
and all the musical treasures it inspires, remains incomparable. Faure 
preserved an especial tenderness for this work, unique in his existence 
for the optimism, the excitement, the kind of happy intoxication that 
persistently animates it. It is extremely varied, though a hidden 
and undefinable unity binds the pieces together. (1) Une sainte en 
son aureole, a stained-glass window where the musician s art follows 
step by step each word, nevertheless preserving a well-defined form. 
(2) Puisque Vaube grandit like (6) Avant que tu ne fen allies, (7) 
Done, ce sera par un clair jour d ete, and above all, (9) Uhiver a cesse 
affirms Joy triumphant, with an expansive power the master has never 
surpassed. 1 In contrast to this joy is the gentle tenderness of (3) La 
June blanche lull dans les bois ; the anguish, overcome in a superb 
final burst, of (4) TAllais par des chemins perfides ; the breathless 
fever of (5) J*ai presque peur . . ., concluding with the passionate 
avowal " Je vous aime . . . je t aime . . ." ; the opening of (6), 
where the eager morning awakening of nature alternates with the 
uneasy fervour of the poet ; and finally, the last lines of (7), " Et 
les etoiles . . . paisiblement sourirent aux epoux " : a stroke of 
genius, for which he waited long weeks, until suddenly one evening 
he cried to his friends " I have it ! " N*est-ce pas ? (No, 8), no doubt, 
misses the youthful character, the candid confidence, of Verlaine s 
poem. This is not a criticism, but a simple way of stating a difference 
between the poet s conception and that of the musician ; however, 
Faure did suppress certain highly significant lines (" Quant au monde 
. . . que nous feront ses gestes ? . . . unis par le plus fort et le plus 
cher lien "). But the preceding has maintained an ample development. 
Finally, (9), UHiver a cesse ; here foregoing themes are picked up 
again, as in the finale of a Symphonic Cycle ; a radiant ascent towards 
happiness (. . . met de 1 ldeal sur mon ideal ") makes a splendid 
finish to this passionately^ lyrical work. 

It seems that after the successful effort of la Bonne Chanson Faure 
experienced some apprehension with regard to new songs as was 
only natural to an artist so anxious to do good work, so lacking in 
confidence of the value of what he had written. 1893 produced 
nothing, and the year following very little ; only the harmonisation 
of FHymne a Apollon* No one was better qualified for this delicate 

*The same quality is found again (evidently derived from la Bonne Chanson) in the 
beautiful finale to the Second Violin Sonata. As for the communal joy o/Promethee, 
undoubtedly still more brilliant, its feeling is not more intense. 

* Reconstructed by M. Theodore Reinach from an authentic manuscript ; the longest 
fragment of Greek music then discovered. The first performance took place at the 
Hdtel des Societes Savantes, after a well-documented lecture by M. Reinach. Faure , 
at the piano, accompanied one of his best interpreters, the late Jeanne Remade, The 
evening concluded with some of the masters songs, when numerous empty places 
appeared. Doubtless an audience of archaeologists could appreciate only the music 
of two thousand years ago. . . . 


Gabriel Faure 

task. His experience and his taste for the Gregorian modes led him 
to match this venerable monody with harmony most faithfully in the 
Greek style. 

We have placed Prison and Soir about 1895. Op. 76 (Arpege, 
le Parfwn imperissable) belongs to 1897. With Arpege we find 
ourselves again in the unreal gardens of Mandoline and Clair de lune* 
A winged rhythm of infinite grace, dreamy and tender nocturnal 
harmonies, the pure, unbroken and fanciful line of this reserved hymn 
to feminine beauty all combine to produce a work truly admirable 
though with no pretence to the sublime. Le Parfum imperissable is 
more direct (" Mon coeur est embaumee d une odeur immortelle . . .") 
And in this case it can truly be said that Faure has achieved the sublime. 
There is more of infinity here than in la Bonne Chanson, which sings 
of the present ; the work of Leconte de Lisle being of remembrance, 
a sort of haunting memory elevating the passion ," it concludes 
" beyond human time." Later, these appeals to a past of intense 
tenderness make themselves heard anew, in the Andante of the 
Second Quintet. 1 One can see that, in contrast to Victor Hugo 
(without falling into the error of comparing the two), Leconte de 
Lisle brought good luck to the interpreter of Lydia, Nell, Les Roses 
d" Ispahan,, and la Rose ; le Parfwn imperissable is indisputably the 
finest of this collaboration. 

There are no songs between 1897 and 1903, and even in other fields 
his output was less abundant. 2 The year 1900, it is true, saw the 
magnificent achievement of Promethee. Op. 85 (1903) opens with 
la Foret de Septembre^ previously noted (page 10): He was now 
approaching his sixtieth year, and it is impossible not to hear the 
voice of experience in this noble meditation. La fleur qui va sur 
I eau is full of undercurrents of inquietude, pulsing with tumultuous 
and dramatic vitality. Accompagnement soothes the mind a nocturnal 
barcarolle, typically Faurien ; perhaps, however, without achieving 
perfect unity, for has not the musician, by a too scrupulous fidelity 
to the poem, missed some of the underlying meaning ? In 1904 
he returned, surprisingly, to his old collaborator, Armand Silvestre, 
with le Plus doux chemin (Op. 87) and le Ramier (without Opus 
number). But too many years had elapse4 since Aurore and la Fee 
awe Chansons, and there is no doubt that he was no longer the man 
for Gabriel Faure. Le Don silencieux (1906) gave him the chance 
to make a splendid return. 3 This work by the Director of the 
Conservatoire 4 was published by Heugel. Soon afterwards there is 
a new landmark in his musical life la Chanson cTEve (1907-10). 
Js it not paradoxical, that as the master grew older, his muse should 
grow younger ? He conjures up a golden age, the dawn of our Earth, 
the new-born, virgin life of a sunny paradise. And why not ? Would 

^Memories real, or imaginary ? who knows ? and it is of no consequence I 

*The$e were the years of his Professorship at the Conservatoire. 

3 No doubt because it is contained in none of the collections, this song remains almost 
unknown. But rarely was the tenderness of the musician better inspired. Note too, 
from the same period^ a charming Chanson, words by M. H. de Regnier. 

*Faure" r as we know, was appointed to this post in 1905. 


Vocal Music 

the contrary have been more logical? Has not Arkel, in most 
touching language, said much the same to Meiisande? 1 As death 
approaches, man turns with increasing tenderness towards the memories 
of childhood, or to the youth actually existing around him ; visions 
of freshness, adolescence, charm, and in the case of a fine artist 
purity crowd upon him. The inspiration, even the writing, of Faure 
was likewise purified reduced to essentials, with an ever increasing 
self-confidence. He was, moreover, "extremely sensitive (cf. Crepuscule) 
and weighed down at times with an anguish which brings out even 
more strongly the primitive light, the pure atmosphere, of " the first 
mornings of the world." The whole of this very beautiful collection, 
the fruit of collaboration with the poet Van Lerberghe (whose too 
early death is to be regretted), unified and diverse, like la Bonne 
Chanson, merits discussion. But above all, the last of these, O Mort, 
poussiere d etoiles what a great and serene emotion is there enshrined ! 
It is impossible not to regard it as drawn from life ; the aging man, 
contemplating the beauty of night, musing on the fact that one day 
perhaps, who knows ? the next his soul mil dissolve into stellar space. 
La Chanson d ve appears too infrequently at concerts ; the public 
has no chance to apprehend its true worth. To be sure, its thought 
is removed from the current fashion, if that fashion demands the 
detestable syncopations of jazz, or only the diversion of the public 
with picture-palaces and trams-de-luxe. But all this does nothing 
to diminish the Faurien beauty of the work. 

Le Jardin clos (Op. 106, 1915-18), likewise by Van Lerberghe, and 
les Mirages (Op. 113, 1919) both prove to be of the same substance. 
Faure has confessed to us : " I can reckon on 20 years before any 
one of my works is appreciated by the public." 2 It is true that the 
fervent followers of his art, those who have troubled to follow flie 
course of its evolution, understanding this stripping away of super 
fluities and admitting that this apparently tenuous texture was capable 
of very fine music, have not needed these 20 years. Nevertheless, 
and despite the crowd of sympathetic listeners in the amphitheatre 
of the Sorbonne, the number of initiates into this latest style is not 
so great as one would wish. Perhaps the rhythm, shorn of accents 
and seeking no violent contrasts, needs a little getting used to ; but 
no true artist could resist bowing very low before those gleaming 
summits : Dans la Nymphee, whose serenity interprets an intense 
emotion, and which grows until it has filled all our being : Je me 
poserai sur ton coeur, evoking by a subtle simplicity, with every note 
in place, infinitudes of the sea and the soul ; Inscription sur le $able y 
of a pure Greek beauty which would seem to be " made out of notk&ig/* 
were the intimate richness of triis " nothing " not apparent : and the 
extraordinary D&nseuse from Mirages, which seems with perhaps 

*C Pelleas et Mttisande, " Et cependant les vieittards, . . ." (Duet, Arkel and 
M&isande, 4th Act.) 

*This is an average ; la Bonne Chanson did not require so long, since towards 1900 
it was widely discussed ; but the first volume of songs had scarcely won any notoriety 
before 1885, and la Chanson d Bve and le Jardia dos remain almost unknown even 
to-day. It must be added that Faure himself was careful to avoid any bitterness or 
recrimination ; he merely stated the fact, with an air of tranquil resignation. 


Gabriel Faure 

more apparent clearness, yet with quite as much mystery in the secret 
of its total perfection a translation into music of certain pages of 
VAme et la Danse, by M. Paul Valery. The remainder all partake 
of these same qualities, at once intangible and real, likewise also the 
last work, 1 V Horizon chimerique (Op. 118, 1922) which becomes more 
attractive the more one knows it. 

To the solo songs must be added a few part-songs. 

Three Duets : Tarentelle (M. Mdhnier) and Puisqtfici-bas (V. Hugo), 
dating.from 1870, take us back to the Faure of old times, but already 
one can admire the modulations, supple and sure. La Tarentelle 2 
is a joyous Italian song full of rapid and agile vocalises, which one 
occasionally has the pleasure of hearing at pupils concerts ; its 
technical difficulties save it from performance by the tyro, and only 
the most expert among the young ladies will risk it. Puisqifici-bas 
seems one of Faure s best interpretations of Victor Hugo, without 
however offering the interest of the lively Tarentelle. Les Pleurs d or 
is much later, from the period when the master, in the plenitude of 
his art, was discovering Verlaine and Samain. Here the music is 
most expressive, of a refinement and sensitivity almost worthy of Sofr. 

The original version of the Madrigal a quatre voix (A. Silvestre), 
often sung as a chorus, was designed for soloists. Written on the 
liturgical theme from Bach s Cantata Aus liefer Noth, it should cause 
no scandal that Faure has united this motif to some lines of a secular 
poet, and which with another interpretation becomes charged with 
a profound anguish. Note only the result, which is charming ; what 
grace, what suppleness in the vocal writing and the harmony ! This 
leads us to the Pavane (chorus with orchestral accompaniment) a 
more recent work, but of the same order. This is no pastiche of the 
16th or 17th century, but the spirit of bygone times translated into 
a modern idiom which recalls the Modes of yesterday. 

There are few other choruses in existence, except those we shall 
discuss in connection with Caligula. But we must mention les Djinns, 
a youthful work (1873, or perhaps earlier). It is astonishing that this 
work should be by him ; but one should remember to what extent 
the influence of Victor Hugo sometimes disfigures his style. It is 
hard to deny the grandiloquence at the crescendo, " Prophete, si 
ta main me sauve . . ." ; the harmony, moreover, is scarcely Faurien. 
It is in fact something of a freak. The excuse of its juvenility cannot 
be put forward, since le Cantique de Racine., as well as some of the 
songs of the first collection, most probably earlier works, preserve 
a character infinitely more in conformity with the master s personality. 
Quite otherwise is le Ruisseau (Op. 22, 1880), chorus for female voices, 
affecting and attractive, its modulatory lines studded with irregular 
resolutions. There is no need to return to le Cantique de Racine, 
since it has been commented on in the first part. At the time of 
the grand concourse at the Sorbonne it did not seem inferior, and one 
could give no better eulogy. 

The religious choruses will be treated separately. There remains 

*The old marts collaborator here was a young poet killed in the Great War (1914-18). 
H. de la Ville de Mirmont. 

^Dedicated to Miles. Marianne and Claudie Viardot 


Vocal Music 

finally la Naissance de Venus (P. Collin), a kind of pagan oratorio 
(Op. 29, 1882). It is paradoxical, strange, but true that the master 
has sung the praises of the goddess better in some of his songs 1 than 
in this over-long work. One page of la Rose tells us more, and 
suggests more of the life and beauty of Aphrodite emerging from 
the briny wave, than all the musical commentaries accompanying 
the poem of M. P. Collin. Twenty years later it is probable that 
he would have written and even have thought quite differently. But 
there is no doubt that at this distant date Faure had not the mastery 
which he showed so superbly in Promethee. Perhaps also the text 
did not help him. However that may be, the vast and majestic 
monologue of Jupiter, and the vigorous chorus following it, seem 
more suitable for saluting another goddess (apart from a few passages 
more Faurien and genuine : " Reine du monde . . ., page 44). 
However, the work is not, at the opening, lacking in charm ; nor, 
as it progresses, in breadth. It would do great honour to a composer 
of the second rank. Being by Gabriel Faure, one cannot forget 
that it falls short by some distance of those summits, Promethee and 
Penelope. This criticism, like that on V Allegro symphonique and les 
Djinns, ought not to rouse the fervent devotees of the Faurien religion 
to indignation, but should be regarded as a sign of the sincerity of 
our admiration for so many other works, of an indisputable mastery. 2 

Church Music 

IT COULD WELL be maintained that the greater part of truly 
religious music of our age is to be found in certain chamber or 
symphonic works, or even in the theatre (for example, some of Arkel s 
music, in Pelleas et Melisande ; while in Penelope we recall the 
opening of the second act, where the feeling for nature is of the 
most exalted kind). This is surely superior to many of the superficial, 
saccharine, theatrical and sophisticated medleys for cello, harp and 
harmonium. But even so, there are still to be found a few great 
musicians devoting themselves to works for the Church, and such 
a one was Gabriel Faure. His capacity as organist led him quite 
naturally in this direction. 

The essence of his mystical quality was defined by Mile. Nadia 
Boulanger in a remarkable article in la Revue Musicale* " The Church 
may judge and condemn ; the master has never expounded this view, 

*E.g. 9 la Bonne Chanson, or le Parfum imperissable. 

*We ought to mention^ also, a charming vocalise, with piano accompaniment , written 
at the request ofM. Hettick, which figures in the first volume of vocalises published by 

*The issue of 1st October* 1922, already mentioned. 


Gabriel Faure 

any more than he has striven to follow the dogmatism of the text. 
It might be said that he understood religion more after the fashion 
of the tender passages in the Gospel according to St. John, following 
St. Francis of Assisi rather than St. Bernard or Bossuet. His voice 
seems to interpose itself between heaven and men ; usually peaceful, 
quiet and fervent, sometimes grave and sad, but never menacing or 

Faure s conception, all tenderness, pardon and hope, could not 
be otherwise ; it was in fact truly Christian, and opposed to that 
cruel anthropomorphism of a "divine justice" copied from the 
sententious reasoning of human tribunals. Particularly in the Requiem, 
the most well known and the finest of these manifestations, it is quite 
understandable that the indulgent and fundamentally good nature 
of the master had as far as possible to turn from the implacable dogma 
of eternal punishment. His doctrine, therefore, cannot be guaranteed 
inflexible ; but the only concern is the beauty of his music. We need 
not regret that his art could not tackle a detailed and minute picture 
of a hell which his heart could not desire when, thanks to the over 
flowing of that heart, the aeterna requies is of such serene gentleness 
and consoling hope. The Dies irae appears, as it were, incidentally, 
and because it is obligatory (in a Mass for the Dead) ; moreover, 
it is quickly subdued by the return of the noble and almost confident 
prayer ofJLibera (No. 6). Other dark tones alternate with the light 
lux perpetua with which, by visions of angels and paradise, he 
prefers to illuminate this work, a greater than seemed at first to the 
fanatical Wagnerians. The Introit-Kyrie opens an austere portal 
musical austerity which is not that of asceticism ; and everything 
macabre remains banished from this grief. The supreme anguish 
appears in the mysterious terror which hovers over the Offertoire, 
much more than in the ninths of the Christe eleison (page 10 of the 
score). By the simplest means, by the strangeness of unexpected 
modulations, and a canon wherein, enigmatic in their weavings, are 
intermingled the contrasting timbres of contraltos and tenors, the 
disquieting vision of an unfathomable lake cannot fail to be evoked, 
if not at length, at least in a manner extremely striking. But soon, 
what high hope and how sure is in the nobly tender pardon 
suggested by the Hostias et preces ! And the supplication of the 
chorus, on the initial motif of awe : O Domine, Jesu Christe, Rex 
gloriae, concludes peacefully in an Amen, pure and serene. Then, 
in reply, swells up the angelic Sanctus. The Pie Jesu, less heavenly 
but still religious in tone, expresses a piety most deeply felt and loving ;. 
the Agnus Dei unfolds its pathetic prayer, its melodious and decorative 
curve (in the broad but sober style of the XVIIth century) leading, 
by a long crescendo, to a return of the first theme of the work, in 
D Minor. The same key, softened for an instant by the Major at 
the end of the Agnus, is also used for the Libera, to which succeeds 
the seraphic In Paradisum, worthy of Fra Angelico. 

la addition to the Requiem, Faure wrote a fairly large number 
of other pieces of a religious nature 1 : O Salutaris ; Maria, mater 

*The reader will find a complete list at the end of the work. 

Church Music 

gratiae ; Tantum ergo; Tu es Petrus ; Ave Maria; Salve Regina, 
etc. ; also a Low Mass for women s voices and organ, of great purity, 
consisting of Kyrie, Sanctus, Benedictus, and Agnus Dei. Two masters, 
Bach and Gounod, seem to have been his guides. From Bach he 
derived that beautiful contrapuntal writing, compact, pure, and free 
in comparison with the narrowness of scholasticism ; from Gounod, 
a delicate expansion whose sincerity never avoided the use of simple 
chords, or naively expressive melodies. It is well known that Gounod, 
at about the time that Charles Bordes inaugurated the meetings at 
Saint-Gervais, was considering a Mass which would combine his 
very real knowledge of counterpoint, his melodic gifts, and his naturally 
tender inspiration, without theatricality. If he was not able to achieve 
this work, one can say that Faure, in some of his motets, in certain 
pages of his Low Mass, 1 has become the successor to Gounod, giving 
us what the composer of Faust had not the leisure to write before 
his death. At the same time there remains the inimitable Faure, 
not only in resemblances to earlier themes, 2 but especially in almost 
imperceptibly delicate shades of feeling. 

On other occasions (cf. the Agnus Dei of the Mass, noble and 
dignified) the style is almost austere. But as the music, on the other 
hand, never secedes its rights, this austerity preserves an inner charm, 
exercises a secret attraction on our ear and our understanding. The 
unfortunate habit of regarding Faure as no more than a " seductive 
charmer " is so widespread that perhaps the reader will be surprised 
at the word " austere." However, there is no question that the gamut 
of the Faurien inspiration extends so far. A whole volume could 
be written on this aspect of his art, already noticeable in the first 
collection of songs (cf. Seule), fully developed at the time of Protnethee, 
and persisting, whenever the idea seems to require it, right up to the 
time of the Cello Sonatas and the Second Quintet. 3 Curiously enough, 
it appeared only rarely when he wrote for the Church. Then, in 
general, charm was dominant ; a charm lovely, refined and easy in 
its perfection, which reminds us of Renan. Impeccable form through 
out, ideas full of a supple grace, ct humanity " of expression, it is 
hard to see that this is necessarily irreligious, and one would conclude, 
with Mile. Nadia Boulanger, 4 " To have given this to our unhappy 
hearts, to have combined Charity with Beauty, Hope with Love, is 
not this the most beautiful mode of participating in the work of the 
Church ? " 

l For example, the Benedictus. 

z To Lydia, for example, in the Kyrie of the Mass ; to la Bonne Chanson, in the 
Ave Maria (Op. 67, wo2), etc. 
*Cf. first movements and finales. 
*Revue musicale, 1st October, 1922. 


Symphonic Music 

IF WE EXCLUDE Penelope, Promethee and Masques et Bergamasques, 
intended for the theatre, also the incidental music to Caligula, Shylock 
and Pelleas et Melisande, and on the other hand the Requiem and 
la Naissance de Venus which we have just discussed, Faure wrote 
little for the orchestra ; moreover, of a total of three works, two 
have a part for solo piano. Mention has been made of a Concerto 
for Violin, a Suite for Orchestra and a Symphony in D Minor, which 
remain unpublished ; we believe even that the manuscripts have 
been destroyed by the composer. Nevertheless, the first movement 
of the Suite has been preserved as the Allegro Symphonique (Op. 68). 
Besides this we have the Ballade and the Fantaisie. Nothing more. 
No symphonic poem and, but for the Allegro and the Fantaisie, no 
example of absolute music. 

One asks oneself why this is, when in his Quartets he has shown 
himself capable of sustaining, at length, ideas and conceptions which 
are in essence symphonic. There are several reasons. First, the 
difficulties which his times offered to symphonists. The great public 
and the authorities preferred the theatre ; the big concerts mistrusted 
the young men, even indeed those of riper years. Cesar Franck was 
included in their repertory only after his death ; during his lifetime 
he had not one complete performance of his Beatitudes. One had 
to rely only on the sympathy of the Societe Rationale : but this could 
give only one or two evenings of orchestral music a year and these 
were necessarily first performances. Pasdeloup, Colonne, Lamoureux 
confined themselves to the classics, or Berlioz, or Wagner. As Florent 
Schmitt wrote : "... Prerogatives of the Dead, sole depository of 

. Besides, Faure s very nature, the reserve of his art, individual and 
intimate, demanding the epithet " interieure," if this is, indeed, not 
incompatible with the orchestra, the style of instrumentalists accustomed 
to Wagnerian outpourings would find itself in opposition to a system 
of nuances at once modest and very sensitive (a sensitivity intense 
but restrained), which the interpretation of one of Faure s works 
often demands. Sometimes, still unknown and without authority, 
the young musician would have to endure some passage disfigured 
by an " understanding " too superficial affected, or unpleasantly 
expressive something more serious even than a mechanical frigidity. 
It must be confessed that such conditions are far from encouraging. 
He would have persisted in this genre only if orchestral colour had 
been necessary to his inspiration. But in general Faure s inspiration 
seemed best suited to abstract, almost unreal sounds, from which, 
paradoxical as it may seem, the idea of timbre remains excluded. 
And very often the orchestration of his music is uneasy. In the 
Requiem the deliberate adoption of an extreme sobriety does not 
induce monotony. But the same could not be said of the more 
colourful works. If you set about scoring la Rose, for example, the 


Symphonic Music 

difficulty of preserving the sonorous unity with the varied colours 
of the different timbres will be at once apparent. 1 

If there must sometimes be brilliancy, nothing is more opposed 
to his art than picturesque, " amusing " sounds. Sometimes it is 
clear that the piano solo can render his thought. Faure himself 
worked out the orchestral version of Clair de lune, which falls short 
compared with the admirable piano version. One can in fact say 
that the master whose vocal, piano and chamber music technique 
was perfect, was never completely at home with the orchestra 2 ; and 
then, the depth and refinement of his thought often demanded instru 
ments unfortunately now obsolete, or nearly so -or if not, the handling 
of combined colours whose simple refinement conveyed his harmony. 
If the problem is not insoluble it remains very delicate. 

For all that, the orchestral accompaniment to the Ballade (to all 
appearances written by Faure), nicely balanced, supports the piano 
with discretion, even with poetry ; and it contains some charming 
combinations of sounds. Besides, the soloist remains the first con 
sideration ; the score contains neither trumpets nor trombones. It 
would take too long to follow in detail the development of the themes, 
and such analyses, away from the music, bring nothing of great value 
to the reader. We will only remark that in this Ballade Faure shows 
himself at once the disciple of Chopin and Saint-Saens (" . . . Cette 
fantaisie et cette raison . . .") The background is an imaginary 
forest 3 whose myriad rustlings of fairies and sylphs accompany the 
soaring initial theme, limpid, grave and charming, like the love song 
of an adolescent Vigny. 

The Allegro Symphonique is taken from the earlier Orchestral Suite, 
the other movements of which have not been preserved by the composer. 
A plain, almost scholastic, theme is accompanied by harmonies very 
different from those which, even before this early work, we associate 
with Gabriel Faure. If it is less removed from la Bonne Chanson 
than, for example, les Djinns, it cannot be denied that this manifestation 
of the Faurien muse has had no successor. And it is difficult to 
regret it. Not because of its regularity and strictness 4 but because, 
after the fashion of some of the less good works of Saint-Saens, it 
is more plastic than expressive. It would seem to have been a school 
task, never, I think, felt by the artist as an imperious necessity. 

In contrast to this, the Fantaisie for Piano and Orchestra reveals 
on perusal a work of the most lively interest and power. It is played 
only rarely (we are even assured that, up to the present, it has had 
no more than one performance !) 5 M. Florent Schmitt has often 

^Though extreme brilliancy in not desirable., some diversity of timbre would be 
necessary in this song. 

^Moreover, as has already been noted, he was not reluctant to entrust this work to 
some of his friends. 

*We are assured that Faun* had in mind that of Siegfried ; but without Mime, 
Siegfried, Wotan, or the dragon- and without Wagner. One should think rather of 
the atmosphere of ** A Midsummer Nighfs Dream" 

4 Promethee, and many passages in the Sonatas, bear witness to an inflexible dis 
position, but with infinitely more vigour and sensitivity, 

5 This, even if true in 1927, no longer applies ; the work has received an occasional 
performance by the B.B.C. (7>.) 


Gabriel Faure 

deplored the unjust neglect of conductors and pianists in this regard ; 
we concur wholeheartedly in these reproaches. 

The first movement is built on two themes : the first, virile, solid, 
boldly drawn ; the second, very simple, a la Penelope, but full of 
charm and flexibility despite its bareness. The second movement, 
more agitated, relentless in its rhythm, remains obedient to the 
discipline which Faure often imposed on himself during this last 
period of his life. The third part takes up again the opening themes, 
still more crowded with imitations, and brings the work to a close 
in vigorous fashion ; the form closely following Saint-Saens, but 
enlivened by Faure s individuality of expression. The development 
is never stifled by the deliberately canonical writing or the unity of 
the rhythm. The orchestration is temperate ; there is no seeking 
for effect, no " amusing colour," but one feels that it would sound well. 

The times and, perhaps- on account of his modesty, already 
remarked on his lack of confidence in himself prevented Faure 
from writing a Symphony : but not the richness of his ideas, nor the 
breadth of his inspiration. The evidence for this is shown in this 
Fantaisie, so beautifully proportioned, a perfect example of pure 

Piano Music 

THE PIANO WORKS have not the reputation of the volumes of 
songs far from it. The concert world has scarcely accorded them 
the place that they deserve, a place unique in our music. The Preludes 
of Debussy, and Ravel s Gaspard de la Nuit, enjoy a more constant 
favour. However, setting aside their great beauty, the Barcarolles 
and Nocturnes of Faure show writing as perfect as it is interesting ; 
there is no doubt that the master knew wonderfully well the precise 
resources of this much-decried instrument. But perhaps it is that 
they are less favourable to virtuosi than I* Isle joyeuse or Scarbo, 
when the latter can triumph over this perilous Ravelian scherzo. 
It must be remembered, however, that one of the most illustrious, 
M. Alfred Cortot, persists in an admiration which he has expressed 
at length in an excellent article in la Revue musicale}- 

The whole forms a considerable output : thirteen Nocturnes, as 
many Barcarolles, six Impromptus, four Valses-Caprices, three Romances 
sans paroles, nine Preludes, the Ballade (written in the first instance 
for Piano solo), the Pieces breves, a Mazurka, Theme et Variations, 
and finally, Dotty 9 Suite for Piano Duet. 4t All those," wrote Faure, 
" who, in the immense domain of the human mind, have seemed to 
use thoughts and language hitherto unknown, have only been express 
ing, through their personal sensitivity, what others have already 

*l$t October, 1922. 


Piano Music 

thought and said before them." This profession of faith is confirmed 
by the very titles of the collections Nocturnes, Barcaroles, etc. 
also by the nature of certain musical ideas, clearly traceable to such 
well known masters as Chopin and Mendelssohn (particularly in the 
first Nocturnes). But it happened as with the great painters of old, 
intent only on naively copying their master : despite themselves, if 
they had anything to say their art became personal and, without their 
knowing it, they achieved something new. So with Gabriel Faure. 
Even in the traditional " accompaniment " figures he proves himself 
an innovator. Arpeggios, frequently replacing chords, intertwine 
with the melody ; their suppleness allows of surprises in the harmony, 
and does not hinder the ear from following the movement of 
appoggiaturas and passing notes which it may perceive therein. The 
hammering of repeated chords as in a Chopin Prelude does not 
seem to him outmoded ; and how right he was ! But a detailed 
analysis would detain us too long ; there scarcely remains room to 
comment rapidly on the works. 

The three Romances sans paroles are early Faure (1882), they take 
us^ back to the time of le Ruisseau. The young musician in the naivety 
of his inspiration made no attempt to avoid Mendelssohn or Schumann. 
Moreover, he is recognisable already, by umnistakeable signs ; 
especially in the third of these pieces, whose ** romantic " character 
will doubtless appear somewhat facile to the proud who would like 
to admire only the sublime, something worthy of themselves. But, 
as with the good Chabrier, it is here so in place, and done so felicitously, 
that the evocation of this " autrefois sentimental " is one charm more. 
Happy the soul of the artist who knows not the fear of his first 
utterances being sincere and naive ! 

The four Valses- Caprices 1 appear less subjective, one hesitates to 
say superficial ; but the musician has not given himself up to the 
contemplation of night ; the salon is as bright as day, conversation 
is gay, lively and animated. M. Cortot has well expressed it : " music 
so glib and sparkling, whose worldly nature is not glossed over." 
And he rightly praises their tc sensual grace," their " perfect distinction ** 
and their t impassioned tenderness." Moreover, these are not ail 
youthful works, for the third dates from 1891, almost contemporaneous 
with la Bonne Chanson, and the fourth (1894) is catalogued Op. 62 
Quite independent of their real value (the brilliant facility of Saint- 
Saens here enriched by a grain of sensitivity, in just the right proportion 
for this style), they are esteemed as an exercise of lively and vivid 
inspiration. They restore the balance to a mind inclined, on the 
other side, to the Verlainien touch of melancholy. 

The Impromptus play an analogous role in his career, and particularly 
the second, with its tarentelle-like rhythm, and the fifth, whose rapid 
semiquavers (in 2/4 time) anticipate those of the Scherzo of the second 
Quintet. The sixth is none other than a piano transcription of the 
Impromptu for harp, with, of course, virtuosity playing a large part 
but without in any way becoming unmusical. 

*There is in existence too a Mazurka of an analogous character ; but of less marked 


Gabriel Faure 

Dolly is at times allied to the Valses-Caprices, but a more intro 
spective Faure is often apparent. This charming album 1 was written 
as a sort of commentary on the games and pastimes of a little girl. 
Childhood is seen by each of us in his own peculiar manner. Debussy, 
in " Children s Corner," has described with humour the amusements 
of his dear little " Chouchou," as seen by a grown-up. 2 Faure, 
while preserving his poetic feeling, seems nearer to the child : ^ for 
instance, in the Berceuse with which the Suite opens. Who else, since 
the death of Gounod, could have written it? This precise and 
dreamy simplicity, this writing at once artless and wise, seems the 
secret of the master. The combination of ingenuousness and refine 
ment displayed by Dolly s garden (No. 3) and Tendresses (No. 5) 
will perhaps cause some surprise. A profound logic is concealed 
in the paradox ; if the woman can be discerned in the child, is it 
not at bottom most reasonable? correctly and subtly observed? 
The mood of the Vahes-Caprices returns in Mf-a-ou (No. 2), and 
especially in Kitty-Valse (No. 4), so full of animation. And the 
Suite ends with an astounding homage to Chabrier, le Pas espagnol, 
a masterpiece of gaiety, humour and solid architecture. 3 

One of Faure s characteristics, and one which all the great masters 
have not possessed, was his extreme variety the precious gift of 
passing from severe to tender, from grave to gay. Thus, such works 
as Dolly and the last Valse-Caprice^ the C Sharp Minor Nocturne, 
and the Theme et Variations were in point of time very near neighbours. 
This last, in a form so difficult to treat without monotony, is second 
to none in beauty. It can be said that here Faure has played the 
game according to the rules and won. The initial motif is presented 
with that vigour which too many of the ignorant deny to the musician 
of Promethee. A noble melody, stamped with the clearness of an 
old coin. The Variations, while always pianistic and of the greatest 
interest from the instrumental point of view, are cast more than once 
in the form of counterpoint accompanying the original theme, a 
most useful means to the variety which is so necessary. It also 
forces boldness on the musician by the use of passing notes, and he 
proves himself here an incomparable master. Besides, the rhythms 
and harmony are so diversified that boredom is never present for 
an instant. The tenth Variation is a kind of scherzo, very quick, 
a veritable tour de force of modulation, and the work is rounded off 
by the eleventh Variation, most expressive, the harmony translucid 
and serene, tender, moving, consoling, peaceful ; very beautiful 
Schumann, but from the second bar stamped with the indelible, 
original mark of Gabriel Faure. These pages, alone, suffice to place 
it without a peer in the literature of the piano. 

The Huit pieces breves, slightly later (in the maturity, almost the 

l Dedicated to Mile, Dolly Bardac t the daughter of the lady to whom la Bonne 
Chanson is inscribed. 

*And he adds, giving the impression of being a little detached from these games, 
" with the delicate excuses of her father for what follows." 

*The Suite was orchestrated by M Henri Rabaud ; this orchestral version was used 
to accompany an ingenious ballet (the story due to M. L. Laloy) at the Arts Theatre, 
under Rouche s direction, 


Piano Music 

old age, of the master) nevertheless bear witness to a most significant 
youthfulness and freshness. But none knew better than he how to 
banish melancholy ; he was full of serenity, even vivacity, right up 
to the time of the second Quintet. 1 He had the rare and salutory 
gift of overcoming bitterness, of recovering his spirits after days of 
depression, as if some force of clarity and inner joy existed in the 
music itself. And no doubt this force did in fact exist. The collection 
of Eight Short Pieces, in the first edition (which we have before us) 
had no titles. 2 To go rapidly over these several pieces : No. 1, in 
E Flat, typically Faurien, reminiscent of the naive tunes of la Bonne 
Chanson, but now much simplified, the writing very restrained ; 
No. 2, a pleasant Feuillet cT album ; Nos. 3 and 6, fugues in a 
simple and correct style, obviously less rich than those in the Well- 
tempered Clavier., and more careful, but whose reserve conceals an 
incontestable mastery ; No. 4, Andante moderate, serious, grave, 
at once firm and pliant, attaining real beauty ; No. 5, a sight-reading 
test written for the Conservatoire, less meditative than the foregoing, 
but how musical ! No. 7, a song, pure and gay, uplifted towards a 
sunlit sky, a youthful outpouring, full of happiness, foreshadowing 
the admirable finale of the second Violin Sonata, and the overpowering 
joy at the end of the first movement of the second Quintet ; No. 8, 
also included among the Nocturnes, less affecting than the sixth and 
seventh Nocturnes, but full of emotion and sensitivity. 

The Nine Preludes (Op. 103) are almost unknown, both to the 
public and to most pianists ! I know of no injustice so great, unless 
it be the persistent disregard of the first Quintet, or the neglect by 
our concert directors of the fine Fantaisie for Piano and Orchestra 
No. 1, in D Flat, an intimate Andante, a nocturne, of subtle and 
transparent harmonies a golden evening sky ,above " les pins et les 
arbousiers " of En sourdine ; here are to be found also moving 
recollections of C est Vextase y with the same refinement, the same 
clear atmosphere ; No. 2, as it were a paraphrase of the Opium 
Dream of Saint-Saens Melodies persanes (a work certainly too 
neglected), a feverish whirling of dervishes, concluding, in a sort of 
ecstasy, with the evocation of some fairy palace ; No. 3, a barcarolle 
whose development, with its intentional tonal ambiguity, recalls one 
of the " Venetian melodies," A Clymene though perhaps richer and 
fuller. No. 4 is a guileless pastorale, flexible, with succinct and 
refined modulations ; while No. 5 is emotional, violent, the very 
embodiment of rage. Then, as if reflecting on its own folly, its 
conclusion is painfully expressive, reminiscent of the Libera of the 
Requiem : altogether one of the most touching revelations of his 
inner self and, it would seem, an almost involuntary confession 
troubled, yet at the same time carried out in the most perfect musical 
order. No. 6 ? a canon at the octave, supported by a solitary middle 
part. The writing here is strangely bold, in its implied passing- 
notes, with many a surprise arising from the inflexible discipline of 

t-Cf. the charming and brilliant Scherzo of this work. 

*Those which from time to time have been added will be found in the catalogue at 
the end. 


Gabriel Faur 

the corresponding voices. No. 7, with the rhythm of N*est-ce pas ? 
(from la Bonne Chanson) running through it, quietly passionate at 
first, then rising to fortissimo ; No. 8, in jerky and lively rhythm, 
is a vigorous scherzo ; and finally, No. 9, expressive, darkly mysterious, 
and recalling in places the Offertoire from the Requiem. 

Apart from the Preludes of Chopin, it is hard to think of a collection 
of similar pieces that are so important. Richly and subtly concise, 
they bring us face to face with a human soul. Both form and writing 
are impeccable ; but these means are at one with the inner idea, 
and seem as if determined by it. 

We shall return later to the question of Faure s evolution. But 
for the time being let us assume that a division into three periods 
is logical 1 " In the first," writes M. Cortot, " there is the fleeting, 
sensuous pleasure of his waking hours, the charming and glowing 
pictures of his dreams, the emotions and desires of adolescence." 
In the second period : " Later, up to the time of the ninth Nocturne, 
there is the emotional glow of maturity the passionate and deliberate 
conflict of feeling." In the third period, comprising Penelope and 
onwards, " a ineffable grave beauty, a restrained ardour, on which 
a purified and spiritualised musical style confers a sort of serene 
philosophy." "... the reserved and urgent eloquence of a harmonic 
language whose intensity seems to grow in proportion as it frees itself 
of superfluous ornamentation." This latest manner of the master, 
where the form grows from an inflexible but withal supple 2 logic, 
lends itself to the most diverse expression ; it would be dangerous 
to qualify this by the single word ; serenity (that of la Chanson d Eve, 
the Andante of the second Violin Sonata, etc.). It has already been 
suggested that this serenity is only the result of sometimes very 
violent eddies (cf. the Prelude in D Minor). And some penetrating 
words of M. R. Hahn supplement those of M. Cortot : a Faur6 
"ardent, uneasy, of fleeting tonalities and restless, modulating 
harmonies which quicken with a feverish circulation the inner currents 
of an irresistible and insinuating counterpoint." 

The musician of the Romances sans paroles, Aurore and Nell (already 
more developed) is equally the composer of the first five Nocturnes 
and the first four Barcarolles ; which brings us to about the time 
of Op. 37, Still, the first Nocturne, in E Flat Minor, shows at times 
a striking and grave maturity, with typically Faurien harmony from 
the outset, over an accompaniment of chords, a la Chopin. A second, 
rather Mendelssohnian theme, over a growling bass, in sextolets, is 
followed by a very Venetian echo of the Mendelssohn Barcarolle. 
Note too the subtlety of the passing notes and appoggiaturas on 
the return of the principal theme. The openings of the second and 

l These periods, it Is true, overlap to some extent, with no precise demarkation ; 
there are reminiscences and impressions of youthfulness in works later than Promethee, 
and long beforehand there is the suggestion of that gravity which will move us so pro 
foundly from the seventh Nocturne onwards. But on the whole the classification is 
just, and the characteristics clearly defined. 

*Tke suppleness lies in the musical quality of the modulations and the harmonic 
progressions, in certain melodic lines, in delicate shades of meaning ; the order and 
logic are apparent especially in the vigorous themes, the canonic imitations and the 
finely proportioned developments. 


Piano Music 

third Nocturnes affirm the simplicity of the impressions which crowd 
upon one- in the calm of a beautiful evening. But the second has 
some very dramatic episodes, and the third some delicate harmony 
(where too, at the return of the melody, in the left hand, there are 
some resemblances to the middle portion of Aware). The fourth 
also is founded on a very simple idea, of the feuillet d album 
order, which makes what follows still more remote in its undulating 
" barcarollian " mystery ; then comes an expressive outpouring, 
exploiting the Faurien tritone. The fifth, whose opening phrase 
(like that of the fourth) remains " in the present," is developed by 
more refinement of harmony : the form, like the preceding, is ternary 
the middle portion agitated and impetuous. 

The first four Barcarolles date from the same time. 1 No. I, in A 
Minor, in the same style as his setting of Marc Monnier s poem ; 
although never complex, already the harmony is thoughtful and 
flexible. No. 2, G Major, more lively, begins as a sort of serenade, 
but soon becomes more passionate, with the tonality strongly marked. 
No. 3, G Flat, inspired by Chopin to some extent, and from the first 
page much more liberal with modulations than the preceding ; and 
No. 4, A Flat, one of the best known, tuneful, quite short, perhaps 
more direct than the others. 

An interval of some years 1886 to 1891 elapsed before Faure 
returned to piano composition. This was the time of the Requiem, 
of Shylock and Caligula, also of the fine songs of the second volume. 
It was also the beginning of what we have called the second period 
of his art. From 1894 on were produced some new works for piano, 
few in number but of rare beauty. 2 First, the celebrated and excellent 
sixth Nocturne* La Bonne Chanson has had a great influence on it ; 
one finds echoes of it in the passionate outpouring of the very first 
phrase. A new motif follows, with a syncopated accompaniment, 
concealing beneath its apparent tranquillity a persistent inquietude ; 
it is as it were a hesitant questioning, to which the reply (after the 
return of the initial phrase) is a lengthy development on a serene 
melody, subdued and contemplative ; this episode closes with a 
display of pianism, logically evolved, and leading to the recapitulation 
of the principal theme. But analysis is powerless to convey the real 
and profound vitality animating this work. As fine, and possibly 
even finer, is the grave seventh Nocturne, closely akin to the Theme 
et Variations, and also in the same key, C Sharp Minor. Here we 
have extremely concise but clear modulations and masterly part- 
writing. The opening already foreshadows that of the second Act 
of Penelope, full of a great and noble melancholy. It seems that 
after the amorous effusions of la Bonne Chanson* Faure s thoughts 
turned in the direction of the austere always, however, realised 
in a most musicianly fashion ! For example, the Theme et Variations, 

1 Nocturnes 1-5, from 1883-84 ; Barcarolles 1-4, from 1883-86 ; the second Quartet 
was finished in 1886. 

*Irt the meantime there was the third Valse-Caprice (1891) and Dolly (1893). 

*In the favourite key of D Flat, the key also of Soir, Cest Textase and the first 


Gabriel Faure 

and that lovely song, la Foret de Septembre ; also, the fifth Barcarolle, 1 
inspired by the stormy rages of the deep ( * the sea, and the bold, 
free passion of an Antony and Cleopatra which these powerful rhythms 
awaken," writes M. Cortot). 

The works of the third period, published by Heugel and Durand, 3 
show an apparent simplification of technique. 3 There is an economy 
of writing, illustrated by the sixth and seventh Barcarolles ; the former 
is more moderate and tranquil in expression, the latter^ more restless 
and sombre, recalling Crepuscule (from Chanson cTEve), and the 
syncopations which appear in a similar context in Accompagnement 
C* la rame tombe et se releve . . ."). The opening rhythm of No. 8, 
joyous and well-marked, soon gives place to an inner melancholy, 
also characteristic of the contemporaneous ninth Nocturne. 9 - The 
Ninth recalls, as in a hazy remoteness, the happiness of the past. 
Much more tonal, with a certain sedate gravity (as if tired of the 
passion of la Bonne Chanson^ whose influence nevertheless reappears 
in other works in this period), the Tenth Barcarolle preserves the 
monotony appropriate to a grey evening. No. 11, somewhat severe 
in rhythm, obedient to that constant discipline which characterises 
the composer s latest style, contrasts well with the Twelfth, allegretto 
giocoso (dedicated to L. Diemer), opening in an almost popular 
Italian manner from which, with the subtlety one would expect, he 
soon makes his escape. Finally, the Thirteenth and last Barcarolle, 
bare, 6 superficially almost dry, but at heart most expressive with that 
deep nostalgia for vanished bright horizons : sentiments that the 
composer suggests in passing rather than comments on in loquacious 
or theatrical oratory ; he seemed to desire to preserve the soothing 
and illusory serenity of the mirage. 

Besides, this mirage is peculiar to the Barcarolle, Chopin s as much 
as Faure s. That strange impression of unreal light, of the landscape 
reflected in a mirror, corresponds here to the very nature of the 
musical thought, which remains of a dreamy remoteness. By contrast, 
the Nocturnes, particularly the last ones, are more direct ; their 
expression is at least as profound, perhaps more so, but they are 
precise despite the suppleness of the harmony and, sometimes, of the 

The Ninth Nocturne, gravely charming, uses very few notes ; the 
luxuriance of the Sixth and Seventh seems romantic in comparison, 

*This Barcarolle dates from 1895 ; Theme et Variations, 1897 ; the seventh 
Nocturne, from 1898. 

*With the exception of the sixth Barcarolle, published by Hamelle. 

z ln reality, the modulations have become extremely subtle often very concise,or 
else unexpected in their harmony : and the use of retardations^ of " echappees " (see 
note on page 68} and finally, certain progressions in the bass., musically logical but of 
great boldness, have combined to render this third manner sufficiently enigmatic to 
the non-initiates. 

4 Accompagnement (Op. 85, No. 2) dates from 1903 ; the seventh Barcarolle 
(Op, 90) appeared in 1906 the eighth Barcarolle and the ninth Nocturne were pub 
lished in 1908. 

5 The notes reduced to a minimum., whence results the delicacy of certain translucent 
harmonies ; e.g., by a simple retardation in the bass, as in that beautiful song from 
le Jardin clos : " Je me poserai sur ton coeur. . . ." 


Piano Music 

despite the classic sureness of development and the nobility of idea. 
It is built on a single theme, appearing first in a lower part, returning 
higher up the scale, and developed in periods repeated at the distance 
of a tone or semitone a method dear to the composer from Promethee 
and the first Quintet to the String Quartet, and which would perhaps 
be monotonous in musicians of second-rate phraseology, but in the 
case of Faure the intensity of his expression makes it legitimate, and 
brings out the true value of the richness latent in this expression. 
Throughout these almost symmetrical periods the inner emotion 
grows and expands, working up effortlessly to a climax of great 
sonority, yet without disturbing the design or interrupting the per 
sistent rhythm. The work ends in B Major with a most moving 
peroration, in a lyrical style inspired by la Borne Chanson. Spiritually 
akin to the foregoing, the tenth Nocturne opens with a very simple 
and slow-moving phrase, as it were made out of nothing ; but which 
grown magnificently, over a strongly moving bass line. Imitations 
between the bass and the treble, a few semiquavers just sufficient 
for the animation of the fortissimo and then comes relaxation, in 
the minor as at first. The following Nocturne, No. 11, "en souvenir 
de Noemi Lalo," a funeral elegy, calm and resigned at first, rises 
gradually to fortissimo, in accents of revolt against the young woman s 
death. There are some peculiar chord progressions, returning again 
and again to a characteristic cadence in one of the Greek modes, 1 - 
ancient in spirit, but extremely modern in the audacity of its concise 
modulations. It remains a very moving work, quite as fine as the 
two preceding and perhaps more so, one whose mysterious tones 
reveal new beauties at each fresh hearing. No. 12 proves to be equally 
austere grave and sombre, and at times enigmatic with its alternations 
of Major and Minor. Finally, the thirteenth and last, without doubt 
the most deeply felt and emotional, the finest of these pieces. It 
dates from 1922. At this period Faure harboured no illusions con 
cerning his age ; the present appeared to him merciless. There can 
be no doubt with regard to the first theme ; whether or no he intended 
it thus, it is his heaviness of spirit, his age, that is depicted for us, 
and with what richness of harmony so simple, but how new and 
striking ! But now, a world of memories besets him, singing the 
extravagances of yesterday ; sudden glimpses of the past, infinite 
regrets followed by a passionately impetuous episode, a renewal of 
life, even ! and then, relapse into the theme overwhelmed with age. 
Fresh bursts of energy follow, a pathetic exuberance ; some pianism, 
this time very prominent (despite the writing which, though never 
scholastic, is most correct) leads us to a su/nmum of expression. Then 
the conclusion, agonised, sombre infinite lassitude and despair 
the inescapable future which opens for him, the aeterna requies. 

All this, we feel, is in this work, so direct, so profoundly human ; 
expressionist (so the modem aestheticians would describe it) even 
almost descriptive, and constructed with an incomparable musical 
logic and solidity of writing. Such pages, although little known 

*The Mode starting on E (Phrygian) ; a notable example is to be found in Herod s 
Air " O misere des rois. . . "from FEnfence du Christ (Berlioz)* 


Gabriel Faure 

and rarely heard, are not for the programmes of virtuosi nor are 
they for the salon. One cannot imagine them offered to the ordinary 
public who, delighting only in empty virtuosity, dread any powerful 
emotion, above all sorrow. One would wish for no audience other 
than the friends of the composer, or the select few whose refined 
feelings and instinct for the beautiful would have prepared them 
for the understanding of this language of all humanity, vibrant, 
profound, but grave and mournful : much sadder in actual fact than 
the Requiem. 

Besides, neither the eleventh nor the twelfth Nocturnes would 
survive the atmosphere of the brilliantly lighted concert hall, in the 
company of fashionable people who perhaps immediately afterwards 
would seek diversion in some night-club. Pianists should not ignore 
them for that reason ; on the contrary, they should get to know them 
and play them, either privately, or at concerts to carefully chosen 
audiences. They should make known these masterpieces the Preludes 
also to music lovers capable of appreciating them, and able in their 
turn to spread them round the circle of the initiates to Faure s art ; 
for the majority of these initiates are ignorant of them. Such a 
desire is not, perhaps, quite incapable of realisation. 

Chamber Music 

THE TRADITIONALIST SPIRIT ought not to be put off by one 
who, unpremeditating and even unaware, " a quarter of a century 
before other composers, spoke readily a prophetic language, with 
an ease, virtuosity and elegance which has not been surpassed." 1 
One must take care, therefore, on noting that the Quartets and 
Sonatas of Faure are conceived in broad outline on what is known 
as the classical plan. 2 Faure has been careful, to quote again from 
M. Vuillermoz, not to " trace his plan from the sub-structure of a 
classical masterpiece," to "reproduce strictly neither the complete 
framework nor the details of the architecture . . ." " Faure knew 
how to create new lines, unseen proportions and unsuspected balances, 
and his work is thus much more solidly constructed than that of those 
engineers eternally reproducing the same mass-produced ideal 
homes . . ." "He was the first to make us understand that one 
could even that one ought to create, each one, his own form," 
Certainly, he was at bottom too good a musician to impose on 
his pupils the harmful tyranny of prescribed forms, or even to permit 
these slavish imitations. Nor in his works do we find any such 

and subsequent lines, in inverted commas, are taken from a remarkable 
article by M. E. Vuillermoz, in k Revue Musicale, 1st October, 1922. 

*The customary meaning of this word, corresponding to the first movements of 
Haydn., Mozart and Beethoven, neglects the quite different construction of Bach and 
Handel s Sonatas, etc. 


Chamber Music 

servitude. 1 If he chose to respect customary usage, he, like Mozart, 
nevertheless preserved a freedom, an extreme flexibility, under an 
apparent obedience. It can be said that there was no modulation 
he would not use if it pleased him, if it sounded well, and if it seemed 
not untimely to his sense of proportion. But these excursions, far 
from a tonality to which he returned how and when he pleased, with 
the perfect grace of a cat falling on its feet, are analysable only by close 
study, by playing or hearing his music. We must therefore once 
again beg to be excused from following step by step the tonal evolutions 
of expositions and developments. It will be better to attempt to 
describe the works. 

The first Violin and Piano Sonata dates from 1876. Without 
knowing the facts one would say that it was inspired by the much 
later work of Cesar Franck. Indeed, the vehemence of the Allegro 
does show some affinity at times with Franck s second movement. 
But render unto Gabriel, and not unto " Cesar," that which is 
Gabriel s. And, as sometimes with Mozart, on what distant horizons 
does the development open ! And to think that for some foreigners 
this art lacks depth ! The humour of the Scherzo is of extraordinary 
freshness, with tonal liberties very daring for the period. In the 
Trio, a graceful quietude reminds us (a rare thing for Faure) of 
Schumann. The maturity exhibited in the Andante (fruit, perhaps, 
ofApres tm reve) is at least the equal of the fine pages of " the classics." 
The feeling of anguish in the ninths dies down towards a complete 
serenity, overcoming this concentrated pathos ; the strongest and 
most moving serenity. The Finale brings us back to the light of 
day in a vigorous rhythm which the " second subject " is not allowed 
to enfeeble. Thus, a master stroke concludes this first attempt. 

The two Piano Quartets have some traits in common., enough to 
justify their being studied together. Each opens, Allegro, with an 
energetic and virile statement of the opening motif* soon followed 
by the second, more flowing, theme, answered imitatively. Next 
comes the development, and then the return of the first phrase, this 
time harmonised in the gentle Faurien way. Is one justified in thus 
transforming a " masculine " theme in metamorphising it into a 
kind of misty memory, into nostalgic thoughts and loving regrets ? 
But why not, if it is done well ? The Scherzos, vigorous, fantastic, 
with their meditative Trios, contrast well with the great charm of 
the Andantes. In the first of these we have a broad and sweeping 
melody, succeeded by a song of infinite tenderness. The form is 
ternary, thus allowing for a repeat, slightly differing. The Andante 
of the Second Quartet opens with a mysterious sound of bells, in 
the bass ; the reply to this is a beautiful recitative on the viola for 
which, if it did not already exist, it would have been necessary to 
invent this noble instrument, so complete is the unity between its 
timbre and the very nature of its subject matter. We cannot go 

l lt would, moreover, be vain to pretend that> because Faure in the main adopts the 
classical scheme, Exposition, Development, Recapitulation, this thereby confirms the 
existence of only one possible Allegro movement. Other forms are allowable and 

Q 4i 

Gabriel Faure 

into all the details of the spacious and pliant development of this 
movement ; but, at each fresh hearing, on the final return of the viola 
theme, we are transported far from reality, into a fairy-land beyond 
the limits of the conscious. Sadness or happiness ? Is it indeed 
of this world ? One cannot tell. We need not seek to know, nor 
are mere words of avail and I must be excused from having recourse 
to them. After these two very beautiful Andantes there is a risk 
of appearing less admiring with regard to the last movements. It 
must be admitted that Faure is not at his best in Finales. Certain 
of the sonatas of Beethoven would seem to have been created for the 
development of a joy which carries everything before it ; we expect 
it, and are not disappointed. Sometimes again, we are ravished by 
an ingenuous cheerfulness, rustic and good-humoured. In Haydn 
and Mozart, too, there are some incomparable masterpieces ; x and if 
the conclusion of the C Minor languishes somewhat (in the recapitula 
tion, and particularly in the return of the Second Subject), that of 
the Eroica remains without a peer. But rarely is Faure so successful ; 
apart from the admirable paraphrase of la Bonne Chanson, naively 
lyrical, joyous and passionate, which rounds off the Second Violin 
Sonata. 2 Nevertheless it remains true that the Finales of both Piano 
Quartets do not lack for real beauty nor even moments of pulsating 

The First Quintet is almost completely unknown, and is very rarely 
played. Perhaps, at its first performance, it was not valued at its 
true worth ? Besides, difficulties of a material kind arose, connected 
with the exchange for it is published by Schirmers of New York. 
But the need to rescue it from oblivion is urgent ; it is one of the 
master s finest works. It opens with a suave and strong theme, 
serene, noble, in an atmosphere of incomparable purity and luminosity. 
A grave second motif follows, given to strings alone ; and then we 
have some pathetic episodes whose eloquence (in their harmonic 
language and the design of the phrases) seem obviously of his Bonne 
Chanson period. It is quite likely that the Quintet 3 promised as 
Op. 60, but which never appeared (that is to say, between the Melodies 
de Venise, Op. 58, and la Bonne Chanson,, Op. 61), is none other than 
this Quintet : the first movement of which we have just spoken (to 
all appearances written during these fruitful years) is thus seen as 
a magnificent culmination of this period. 4 It might be that the 
Adagio is slightly later, contemporaneous with la Foret de Septembre, 
certain harmonies from which here recur, from the second bar. This 
Adagio too is of great beauty ; extremely sparing of notes, and with 
great^ intensity of expression. Some characteristics of the later 
Faure can be seen here ; viz., certain retardations, also the canonic 
Second Subject, so perfectly worked out that one forgets to admire 
the skill and mastery of style where each note seems to fall into place 

^Finale of the ** Jupiter" Symphony, etc. 
*Or better still, the Finale of the First Quintet. 
*See the list of works at the end of the volume. 

*We know moreover, on reliable information, that Faure was long in finishing this 
Quintet which, numbered Op. 89, was published in 1906. 


Chamber Music 

quite naturally, without heed to the rules of imitative counterpoint, 
which nevertheless are obeyed perfectly. As for the Finale, cheerful, 
lively, and at first almost homely (without the least concession to the 
trivial), then, firm and serious on the entry of the somewhat austere 
Second Subject, after which the youthful charm of the first idea seems 
even more sprightly, this movement is sustained with no weakness, 
strongly contrapuntal and rhythmic. Towards the end it is quickened 
and broadened in a transport of joy comparable to that in the last 
movement of the Second Violin Sonata joy sincere, radiant, pro 
foundly human so rarely achieved by musicians and so full of vital 
force. 1 But such expansive force in development, such admirable 
balance of youth and maturity, of mastery and lyricism, is to be found 
all through this Quintet and especially in the conclusion of 
each movement. See, for example, the harmony on pages 29-30 
of the first movement and, towards the end of the Adagio, the 
intensity attained by a tenderness as deep as it is passionate more 
concentrated even than in the Piano Quartets. This is explained 
by the fine writing that perfection of style wherein form dominates 
expression, but without constraint (as is seen in the expressiveness 
of J. S. Bach). 

In actual fact, we are here together with the Second Quintet and 
the Second Violin Sonata In the presence of one of the first classics 
of our time. This will be realised one day ; we can only hope that 
this daywill not be long delayed. 

The Second Violin Sonata (Op. 108, 1917) confirms Faure s evolution 
towards an ever greater purity, towards that Hellenism betrayed by 
all his works since Promethee. JBut as always in the evolution o 
a great artist the* majority of his supporters refused to follow him. 
Even around 1895-1900 there were people to whom the first volume 
of songs seemed preferable to the second. There were the same 
complaints against la Bonne Chanson by the admirers of les Berceaux 
and so on. It is not surprising that the Sonata of 1876 should 
be more favoured by violinists. However, if we had to make a 
choice it would fall on the second. Without knowing its date, one 
would judge it to be contemporaneous with Penelope, if only because 
of the noble and tender Andante, whose convolutions answer each 
other like those of the fine canon which ends the first Act of the lyric 
drama. It will be objected that the motif was to be found in the 
Symphony jn D, now destroyed. Granted ; but as a starting point. 
The real idea is the whole of the development, with the bold serenity 
of its harmonies ; this could have been conceived only at the time 
of Penelope. The opening Allegro strikes a proud attitude ; people 
sometimes find it austere. Expecting of Faure only mellifluous and 
gentle chords (a consequence of the reputation le Secret and les Roses 
d lspahan made for him), they are surprised, even disconcerted, by a 
force calm and sure, and moreover essentially harmonious. So much 

*It is strange that at the first performance this Finals did not command the admira 
tion of the audience ; but if our memory is correct the work gave the impression oj 
stopping abruptly. Was it perhaps that people expected four movements, instead of 
three ? or was it perhaps that the opening of the movement was too quick and the 
development insufficiently powerful? 


Gabriel Faure 

the worse for the uncomprehending ! As for the Finale, it remains, 
as we have said, incomparable. It is a magnificent climb to joyous 
summits, after commencing with a theme astonishingly youthful and 
ingenuous. There are dfcvious reminiscences of la Bonne Chanson ; 
but what a rich inspiration is needed, to make out of a single melody, 
VHiver a cesse, a whole Finale of a Sonata ! Faure brings off this 
dangerous gamble with ease. 

The two Cello Sonatas testify to an equal vigour, to the same 
virility of inspiration. Austere at times, always tdrnperate, animated 
but superbly controlled, they will deceive listeners accustomed to the 
" swooning " of an instrument whose chanterelle too often delights 
in the accents of the operatic tenor. Faure restores the instrument 
to its true role. The Allegro of the First Sonata is built on two 
themes : one, jerky, rhythmic, firm, suggests the air of warlike violence 
which Ulysses sings at the opening of the third Act of Penelope ; a 
second motif succeeds it, simple, and expressive without insipidity. 
The same contrast is found in the first movement of the Second 
Sonata, the writing, in canon, even more compact, and ending in the 
major, glowing and happy. The two Andantes reveal great beauty : 
the first, on a pattern which may be found in Penelope, leading to 
a calm and serene ending a kind of Nocturne whose mood recalls 
somewhat that of the Second Violin Sonata. The Andante of the 
Second Sonata, in C Minor, opens after the style of the Biggie ; there 
is more of serenity, though particularly at the point wheise arises 
the A Flat theme, so pure and consoling. The Finales, animated, 
vigorous and noble, end, in the major, with the same burst of light 
which one finds at the end of the firstmovement of the Second Quintet. 

This Second Quintet is well known. Rare unanimity almost 
everyone admires it, from MM. Louis Aubert and Roger-Ducasse to 
Georges Auric and Poulene. Their approach, it is true, is through 
Penelope. And certainly, at the first performance, it was with pleased 
surprise that people found such vigorous and youthful music in the 
veteran composer. Sympathy is necessary for the understanding of 
all his works, and above all for this one, whose Doric style (as we 
saw in the Second Violin Sonata) could be disconcerting from the 
Allegro onwards. This is built on a vigorous but extraordinarily 
simple theme, such as is to be found in Penelope on three notes 
followed by nobly expressive cadances and retardations (as in la 
Fort de Septembre). The development is spacious, its virile sensitivity 
never becoming insipid by reason of petty nuances. 1 Perhaps we see 
in this Allegro the finest first movement of Gabriel Faure. The 
Scherzo reveals an incredible youthfulness, in its rapid scale passages 
and the light-hearted ease of its hymn to " la vie qui continue . . ." 
And from a man of his years, knowing full well that he must soon 
depart, this is more moving than one can say ! The Andante, even 
more, seems to revive the events that are gone. But, so intense, 
impassioned and tender in its long-drawn notes for the strings, it 

1 Save, sometimes, under the hands of the performers. But this is not the fault of the 
composer, who took care to mark ; f sempre, for long periods. The performance 
should proceed on broad lines, with no fear of monotony which, by reason of the power 
of the inspiration, need cause no anxiety. 


Chamber Music 

reveals an extreme sorrow in this pleading with out-stretched arms 
towards a past which will return no more. The depths of a heart 
still young fiery torches burn there the final glow, strangely revived, 
from fires about to be extinguished. And we remain gripped in a 
meditative sadness before the apparent calmness which reclothes, 
in its musical perfection, a poem till then unique in his artistic career. 
As for the Finale, likewise firm and brisk, what was said of the Piano 
Quartets applies here. It ends less brilliantly than the Second Violin 
Sonata or the First Quintet. 

The Second Cello Sonata, analysed with the first, followed just 
after. Then came the Trio for Piano, Violin and Violincello. It 
seems to us spiritually at one with the Second Quintet, especially 
in the Andante ; it is perhaps as beautiful, though more reserved and 
constrained in tone. Its charm is incomparable ; the balance of 
timbres and tessituras, so difficult to achieve in this medium, is without 
a fault. As for the writing, it is of amazing subtlety ; as in r Horizon 
chimerique, each note has its part to play, and says more than would 
be thought possible. 

The String Quartet is the equal of the masterpieces in this genre. 
It forms a worthy conclusion to this series, though there is no doubt 
that the Finale is not equal in value to the other movements. But 
in these, what profound melancholy the expression of a final farewell ! 
Not that the inspiration falters for an instant ; but one would say 
that here is the traveller on life s journey, bowed down, at the end 
of his resources, infinitely weary, abandoning himself to fate. " Go 
thy way, youth of humanity ; I go no further, awaiting death to 
morrow." He saw departing towards the future, disappearing over 
the horizon, all his companions and fellow travellers. Had Faure 
any idea that all this would be apparent in his work ? We do not 
know. Sometimes the subconscious discloses thoughts one would 
never confess to. No matter ; here, in the most beautiful language, 
is the symbol of that final lassitude, and the presentiment without 
bitterness, but with the most painful resignation of an end not to 
be long delayed. In fact, it came immediately the work was finished. 
But one should not be deceived in the underlying meaning. " All 
here is joy and serenity," wrote one critic. No : this perfectly realised 
serenity cannot deceive one, and it is impossible to forget the sadness 
that it masks. 


Miscellaneous Instrumental Pieces 

TO THE SONATAS and Quartets are added a number of shorter 
works : 

For Violin, the charming Berceuse, well known, but a work one 
hears again and again with undiminished pleasure a sign that its 
simplicity is not empty or trivial. The Andante is catalogued Op. 75 ; 
one would imagine it to be earlier than compositions with neighbouring 
Opus numbers. The nature of the harmony, the very character of 
the expression makes us think so notably the middle portion, then 
the rather Franckian development and the repeat, ff, of the first theme. 

For Cello, there are some pieces of charm (Romance in A) or of 
virtuosity (Papillons) : not unpleasing, but certainly less worthy of 
preservation than rlegfe (Op. 24), a renowned miniature, with its 
beautiful, grief-stricken phrase whose nobility is the equal of that 
in the Andante of the First Quartet also in the same key of C Minor. 1 
The middle section, in the relative major, is very expressive, as affecting 
as the second theme of the Allegretto of Beethoven s Seventh Symphony. 
The first theme is then repeated, ff, and is followed by a Coda on the 
second motif. The whole piece is finely wrought and beautifully 
balanced ; orchestrated, its beauty remains unimpaired. 

The Serenade (Op. 98) likewise for Cello, is too little known. 
Charming, witty, soaring, with touches of Mandoline, more Venetian 
than Spanish, it would figure worthily in the score of Shy lock. 

Mention must also be made of : the Romance (Op. 28) for Violin 
and Orchestra ; the Sidlienne for Cello and Orchestra (Op. 78) ; 
the Fantaisie for Flute and Piano (Op. 79) ; and a little unpublished 
piece for Cello (Op. 49). The Impromptu for Harp is the original 
version of the sixth Impromptu for piano. 

Finally, there are various transcriptions (for Violin or Cello) of songs 
or piano works. But they are not due to Faure ; moreover, there 
is nothing to show that, in his inner heart, he approved of all these 
arrangements, on which we will dwell no longer except to mention 
the skilful adaptations for Piano Solo by M. Alfred Cortot, of the 
Berceuse, from Dolly, and la Fileuse, from Pelleas et Melisande. 

l lt is remarkable how with Faure the same tonality is often used for the expression 
of similar sentiments. Compare the Libera, from the Requiem, with the ending of 
the Prelude in D Minor. 


The Stage 

RAMEAU DID NOT approach the theatre until he was fifty ; 
Faure delayed still longer before Penelope. We cannot regret that 
he waited until he had attained mastery ; how many there are who, 
too soon, have plunged into an art they considered lucrative, indulging 
in carelessness and mediocre ideas which do nothing to conceal the 
inexcusable bombast in a word, an art of inferior quality under the 
pretext that a " theatrical style " is necessary, and that a phrase requires 
a special grossness before it will get across the footlights. The error 
of this unhealthy tradition is demonstrated by Figaro, Boris Godounqffl 
Pelleas . . . Music is a whole, and there is no need for the theatrical 
style to be opposed to that of the symphony. Faure s trump card 
was to have understood this. It does not follow that the wife of 
Ulysses will express herself like the poet of la Bonne Chanson ; and 
already the voice of the Pie Jesu, pleading eternal rest, has been 
distinguished from this ; no one was more master of these nuances. 
But they are never contrary to the regard for good writing ; they never 
destroy the unity of a style which, always, proclaims itself the best. 

Unity is necessary. This salutory axiom determined the subordina 
tion of the drama to the expression of feelings. In the lyric theatre, 
the movement comes from the spirit, and not from sensationalism 
or operatic splendour. That truth, misunderstood by all those who 
used to find that the Garden Act from Faust dragged, and clearly 
proclaimed by the third Act of Tristan, or the fine Duet of Arkel and 
Melisande, Faure did not fail to observe in composing Penelope. By 
these excellent principles (also dictated by his musical good sense), 
this masterpiece stands apart from the mediocrities on the " prix de 
Rome Cantata " pattern, which weighed heavily all their lives on many 
laureates of the Institute. But luckily for him, Faur< was never at 
the Villa Medici. 1 

Finally, one important gift was his a gift denied to many famous 
musicians. Less truly " theatre-minded " than Faure (despite the 
current opinion), their language never varies, their invention does not 
correspond to the diverse characters of the dramatis personae. In 
contrast to this, Faure s melodies revealing a profound poetry with 
a supple precision, so perfectly apt, it was not to be doubted that 
he would succeed even though he had not the " experience " of an 
old hand, though he disdained the tricks of the stage and paid no 
respect to the conventions : or rather, because he remained outside 
this artificial and sophisticated art, which was not the true music 

He began with incidental music ; then, in Promethe~e, which 
approached nearer to the lyric drama, he used large choral forces, 

2 Without Indulging in the pleasure of paradox, it can be stated as a fact that the 
finest lyric dramas of the Modern French School are due to artists who have held 
aloof from this competition, or who- like Debussy and M. Paul Dukas have renounced 
as completely as possible the style and customs of the theatre. 


Gabriel Faure 

and even tragic actors (the Gods). In none of these accents was there 
the augury of the success of Penelope. 

The score of Caligula 1 - permitted only a small number of pieces 
for orchestra alone : interludes and ballet music. The most important 
part consisted of the Four Choruses for Female Voices, so rich in 
that Faurien power of suggestion, whose nuances depend on imponder 
ables. 2 Here there is no doubt of the period or the place the Rome 
of the Decadence, Certainly, the charm is antique and pure, the 
harmonies deiiciously sensual : " Winter flies away." But since it 
would be out of place here the curves of the phrase have not the 
sort of proud, Hellerac attractiveness of the canon, at the end of 
the first Act of Penelope. An infallible and subtle taste guided 
Faure in paths which, though similar, were sufficiently divergent for 
the distinction to be perceptible to cultivated minds. The contrast 
between " Heures guerrieres " and " Heures heureuses " is of the 
same bas-empire, as well as the vocal antiphony of " De roses 
vermeilles , . .", and particularly that fine invocation to voluptuous 
ness with which the work ends : " Cesar a ferme sa paupiere . . ." 
Intoxicating odours ; heavy, fleshly and majestic drunkenness of a 
surfeit of pleasure civilisation debauched by luxury. From the 
first Scene of Salome Richard Strauss, in his realistic manner, gives 
us the uncomfortable mustmess of a corrupt society already nauseat 
ing In this there is certainly a kind of genius ; but the music to 
Caligula remains beautiful, and on a par with the beauty of antiquity. 

Shylock is a free translation which we owe to the distinguished 
talent of M. E. Haraucourt, and it is a matter for regret that it has 
had to wait so long for a revival. It is impossible to put into words 
the Venetian charm by which this score suggests, for the Madrigal, 
the scenes of Carpaccio, homely or worldly and for the Serenade,, 
the picture of elegant gondolas and delightful palaces of pink marble. 
" Forbidden kisses, it is God who ordains them," sings this Serenade : 
a profession of faith which seems to be Faure s, as it was Debussy s 
to write what the " adorable Goddess " suggests and what if 
there are crimes such as to call forth an official report from Harmony s 
yillagjb policeman ! 3 As for the Nocturne for strings alone, it is 
impossible to place this music, so profound and universally human 
is it. The intense tenderness of night here revealed 4 was one of the 
most beautiful incentives of Faure s inspiration, contrary to the general 
opinion, which sees him by preference only the painter of clear, noon 
day waters (an artist so diverse cannot be classified in this narrow and 
precise fashion). 

3 Written, it mil be remembered^ for the revival of Dumas play. 

*Note the difference between the tone of some of the religious pieces, and that of 
analogous secular works. 

*This * statement " does not imply that Faure,, previously, had not been bound by 
scholastic discipline ; and the fifths which he allowed himself were never acts of 
petulant rebellion. The purity of style remains intact ; we shall refer to it again in 
the chapter devoted to his technique But from the first it is necessary to avoid any 

*Cf. the similar pieces for piano, and the Nocturne on Vilhers de FIsle-Adarri* 
poem ; also that fading twilight which opens the second Act of Penelope. 


The Stage 

Pelleas et Melisande, given in London in 1898, was accompanied 
by incidental music conducted by the master. The Prologue is less 
a " decor " than a state of mind ; that forest wherein Golaud discovers 
Melisande appears to our understanding as a legendary atmosphere 
a symbol of the sensitivity soon to be crystallised in the grief of 
the young girl, mourning the enigmatic crown which the huntsman 
descries across the water " which is not very deep." The second 
theme voices this distress, and lasts until the curtain goes up to the 
cries of Golaud. La Fileuse, with its two contrasting motifs, is like 
a paraphrase of le Rouet d Omphale, of Saint-Saens, but more concise 
and refined. However, you will not like it unless you can forget 
for a moment the Melisande of Claude Debussy. In this episode 
Faure s conception of the heroine is of someone much nearer to 
ourselves ; we do not say " coquette," but there is a kind of juvenile 
and almost malicious gaiety on which account no doubt his colleague 
never appreciated this really charming interlude. 1 But with Faure, 
despite his expressive depth and the subtle melancholy of his inter 
pretations of Verlaine there remains a naivete, an ingenuousness, 2 
which seems to have forsaken Debussy at about the time of his 
Nocturnes. We will not dwell on the Sicilienne, which, though 
delightful, was written for a later occasion, and is scarcely related 
to the rest. The last piece (preceding the fifth Act) reveals a poignant 
emotion quite different from that of the lyric drama, but not less 
beautiful. The " Golaud " theme reappears, powerful, tragic ; the 
dull, intense anguish of this Finale, so simply achieved^ attains an 
extraordinary inner pathos. 

In order to finish off the shorter works let us anticipate a little, and 
deal with Masques et Bergamasques, posterior to Penelope. The 
scenario, by M. Rene Fauchois, was inspired by Verlaine s Clair 
de lime from whence the title was derived. To a number of Faure s 
early works (Clair de lime, naturally ; the Madrigal, the Pavane, etc.) 
incorporated into the action, were added some interludes written 
later, and whose style is not without similarity to Mozart a new 
departure for the composer. Of course, he had for long appreciated 
at his true value the musician of Figaro ; but his inspiration (if not 
his technique and his artistic principles) had usually remained fairly 
remote. In Masques et Bergamasques on the contrary, the resemblance 
extends to the nature of the ideas themselves, sometimes evep to 
the harmonisation. A charming tribute to Cost fan tutte, which 
however was not easy to bring off ; nothing less was needed than the 
touch and mastery of Gabriel Faure. 

Finally, before studying his two works for the theatre proper, we 
must mention the incidental music which he wrote for Georges 
Clemenceau s le Voile du bonheur. Doubtless it was not perfectly 
suited to his character which, with the musician of Shylock and 

l lt may be recalled here that the London orchestra was reduced to string quartet. 
In performance at symphony concerts the excerpt loses something of its lightness by 
reason of the considerable number of the strings. 

*Cf. The Finale of the Second Violin Sonata. Accents of great innocence are also 
to be found in some of the works of Debussy s adolescence, 

1/^v!^ - s * If ) 49 

Gabriel Faure 

Caligula, was always the case. The score, however, for what reason 
we know not, remains unpublished ; and since we have not been 
able to hear it, we must be excused from devoting to it anything but 
these too brief lines. 

The circumstances which governed Promethee have already been 
told. Being of a very special nature, they have deprived the public 
of a real knowledge of this superb work. Those composers, few in 
number, the fortunate elect who heard it at Beziers, must have been 
able to realise that the Paris performances gave only a feeble idea 
of its power and incomparable splendour. In the vast Hippodrome 
a performance (with full orchestra) only threw into confusion sonorities 
too loud for a confined space : it needed, most definitely, the open 
air, which favours the full blast of great masses of brass, never confused, 
never needlessly strident. Later, at the Opera (re-scored for the 
occasion : but then, without the brilliance we would have desired) 
the mise-en-scene of the first Act seemed illogical : while the Chorus 
was singing of a joy more than human, and just as we were expecting 
to see them flood-lit with brilliant lighting, a veil of material* was 
interposed between the audience and pulsating Humanity acclaiming 
the discovery of Fire. These veils were removed only towards the 
end of the Act ; they quite spoiled the effect, and were contrary 
both to the composer s ideas and to the real life of the work. And 
all the rest suffered from the absence of the burning sunshine over 
the Arena. To crown all, in the theatre the declamation of the text 
seemed interminable. At Beziers, the fact that it was in the open 
air kept people patient and in a good temper ; one made up one s 
mind, for good or ill, to accept the traditional monotoning delivery. 2 

In Promethee, the poets Jean Lorrain and M, A.-F. Herold made 
an attempt to revive Greek tragedy. Speaking and singing were used 
alternately ; the latter was reserved for the Chorus, also for all the 
roles of the Gods. The conception was not lacking in grandeur, nor, 
after all, in logic. Speech was limited to the human characters. They 
spoke, no doubt, at rather too great length, and this error of balance 
not an unusual fault makes the musical portions of the work 
all the more appreciated. - 

The drama opens with a Prelude of unusual power, constructed on 
the " Prometheus " and " Fire " motifs. They are piles of Cyclopean 
blocks ; but the soul of the Titans is transformed by the art of Apollo. 
A sovereign Reason guides it. And already, is not this the pure 
aesthetic of the Greeks ? 

The Prelude leads without a break into the opening Chorus of the 
first Act. The scene is rugged, wild, mountainous. Men and women 
rush excitedly from all parts : " Eia, eia, hasten from the depths 
of your caves ! " They are celebrating the arrival of the " mystery 
bird," the bird of Fire. " It is about to take the air," cries one of 
the Chorus, "*and it is thou, Promethee, whose glorious cry will rise 

l Ught curtains, but through which the performers were seen as it were through a 
mist. Even their voices were muffled. 

*But it is a hindrance in these lines which, despite a certain " literaryness " are not 
deveid of beauty a fault which Aeschylus, with his absolutely simple lyricism, never 


The Stage 

to greet it ! " This Chorus, vigorously rhythmical, with its repetitions 
so essential to the nature of the work (an open air style, broadly painted) 
this evocation of a primitive, prehistoric humanity, by the same 
pen which sang the Verlaine melancholy, was so manifestly contrary 
to Faure s customary usage that even some of his disciples (though 
not those present at Beziers), did not understand it : " Too solemn," 
said one of them to me. 1 But there is not a single page that does not 
reveal Gabriel Faure, whom by certain harmonies it is impossible 
to mistake. He is here absolutely himself; more powerful, indeed, 
than ever before moreover, with no pomposity, but with a fine 
breadth of .touch, easy and free. Note particularly a number of 
Passing Notes (on page 18, E Natural against E Flat ; page 19, G Flat 
against G Natural) bordering on Bitonality, discreetly suggesting a 
civilisation not yet fully developed. In the Bitterroise Arena, trium 
phant, a challenge to Fire was made resplendent by the ringing voices 
of the tenor Rousseliere. He unleashed the enthusiasms of youth 
with an irresistible force, and in the whole Faurien output we know 
of no more superb lyricism, wherein the refinement of unexpected 
but appropriate modulations never excluded the use of older 
techniques, such as the six-four (page 25, second line). And this is 
the real boldness from which springs the true power, so convincing 
on a single reading that one is astonished that the whole musical 
world even yet has not recognised it, with affectionate but humble 

The first Scene continues, in a more agitated rhythm, on the initial 
Titan s Theme ..." Promethee is Power ! " And the Perfect 
Cadence (page 29) proves in its turn that there are no such things as 
obsolescent harmonies or progressions, but only two sorts of music : 
that which grows old, and that whose spirit remains imperishable. 
And what pure charm, always vigorous and noble, in the soaring 
soprano solo : " Promethee is also Hope ! " Finally, the invocation 
to the happy future concludes (over an energetic reference in the 
bass to the Prometheus theme) on an unexpected chord, opening 
on to untold horizons of mystery, in a species of religious terror 
(page 40, 7th on G Natural, after the sparkling tonality of A Major). 

The Titan enters. This scene is spoken, not sung. Enthusiastic 
and boisterous, he shouts of the joy of his discovery. Just before the 

*If we have insisted more than once during the course of this work on the foice of 
Gabriel Faure, it is precisely because of that reputation of " musician charmant " to 
which many of his critics, even among his friends, are in danger of confining him. 
Camille Benoit compared him ** a tons les points de vue " with Grieg \ (Cf. the 
quotations from M. ff. Imbert and M. O, Se re .} M. J. Poueigh, under the pseudonym 
of Octave Se re (Musicien francais d"aujourd*hui) wrote the following lines on the 
subject of Promethee : " One feels decidedly that Faure" *s muse fs as it were frightened 
{sic) by so much shouting and by all this instrumental violence" And it was none 
other than M. Emile Vuillermoz-> however lucid on other occasions, who could mistake 
the profound Faurienism of this powerful tragedy : " He has put more of hi* soul into 
Sok than in the whole of Promethee." (La Revue Illustree, 1st July, 1905). Such 
also was the opinion of his most fervent admirers in the face of Penelope and the 
Second Violin Sonata. It is rematkable., on the contrary \ how Faure has always 
remained himself, his Muse growing naturally to the dimensions of his subjects. But 
in order to discern this^ a previous initiation is necessary ; one must know the works 
well, and not judge them too lightly, 


Gabriel Faure 

end of this monologue Pandora enters. " Plucking up courage, she 
approaches Prometheus, and arrests him with a supplicating gesture." 1 
The music is resumed : a theme of three notes (A, D, G in descending 
5ths) accompanies Pandora s entrance. But her fear does not stop 
the Harbinger s ardour. He climbs towards the rocks. Then arises 
"a woman of austere countenance, draped in long veils. With 
outstretched arm she tries to stop Prometheus." Gala, the Titan s 
mother, reminds us of the ancient Erda of the Ring. Her. spacious, 
solemn and moving admonition seems like the transposition into 
Faurien terms of the prophecies of the original Goddess who appeared 
to Wotan. But you will find ho reminiscence, nor the least inferiority 
in the later work. This superb air, its harmonies inspired by maternal 
anguish and imperious commands, need fear no comparison with 
the best of Wagner. It seemed to me at once more concentrated, 
more solid in development, fuller and richer. 

Prometheus repulses Gala. He repulses Pandora. Encouraged by 
the Chorus (here the beautiful expansion of the Prelude returns, 
in counterpoint on the reappearance of the theme), the Titan goes 
on his way. He climbs the hill, Reaching the summit, there is a flash 
of lightning : " a branch brandished by Prometheus catches fire." 
" Men, see the gift I promised* you. See the Fire ! " " Horror ! " 
the people cry : Prometheus, thunderstruck by Zeus, is hurled down. 
" Behind the rock have risen a God and Goddess of wild aspect, 
Kratos and Bia. Between them is Hephaistos, the divine smith." 
With a scornful and biting cruelty, they give in detail the particulars 
of the rebel s punishment. Here comes again an extraordinarily 
bare theme, followed by a menacing ascent in the bass. The scene, 
very freely carried out following the evolutions of the script 
nevertheless preserves a perfect unity. Kratos and Bia order 
Hephaistos to lead away the silent Titan, and this first Act conies 
to an end with the evocation of " whirlwinds of snow and sleeping 
winters " wherein " Zeus desired the tortures of the indomitable 
Prometheus to be confined." 

At the beginning of the second Act there is a digression, but one 
whose musical beauty is such that the interest does not flag for an 
instant. Pandora is dead. A long procession of women and girls 
accompanies her funeral, some carrying the body on a bier of leaves 
and branches . . . Those who have not heard, in the Arena at 
Beziers, the calm, heroic voice of the trumpets, far away, diffusing 
their three notes into the serene air and the noble anguish -of the 
harmony alternating with the tolling of the funeral bell, pure and 
clear can have no conception of the evocative power of this scene. 
And from the top of the rocks there winds a procession, a living 
bas-relief, antique, pure while at the same time Chorus and Orchestra 
uplift a great plaint of grief, of virginity of death, light and youth 
all at once through which there flitted visions of the companions 
of Artemis, chaste huntresses, flying headlong through the mountain 
forests. Ode to the dead maiden, wherein Faure at times closely 
approaches Euripedes, and which crowns an Olympian pleading : 

l The words in inverted commas are taken from the librettists own directions. 

The Stage 

" Tu passais, royale et sacree . . ." (page 91) ; words are powerless 
to describe its -divinely pagan beauty. Then the Chorus replies, 
telling of the deathly darkness of Hades, " a country where lurks a 
dumb people . . ." " Pandora is a tiny ghost and the ghost out 
stretches her thin arms. Only the memory of Aede keeps her still 
in the light." 1 

" The women have hidden Pandora in a cave in the mountain. 
They steal away across the rocks. Prometheus appears, on the top 
of a very high boulder, between Kratos and Bia. Hephaistos is 
with them, carrying chains, nails and a hammer." The ensuing scene 
is the one where, against his will but obedient to the chief of the 
Gods, Hephaistos finds himself compelled to chain the Titan, his 
brother, to the rock of the Caucasus, where Zeus eagle is to come 
pecking his liver perpetually regenerated. The invective of Bia and 
Krastos truly withering contrasts with an air of the pitying brotherly 
God, full of deep and noble compassion : " O sublime et bon Titanide " 
(page 101). \VTiat restraint there is in this development the theatrical 
accent, so inappropriate, completely banished ! 2 Then the Smith 
sets to work and, to music of extreme bitterness, prepares the punish 
ment ... " He is now chained." " And thou," replies Kratos, 
" thou canst continue thy insolent cries. Weep, Prometheus weep 
and wail." 

Left alone, Prometheus gives vent to his sorrow (this is the admirably 
lyrical Aeschylean invocation : " fither divin . . .") There is some 
uncertainty in the next scenes, words being provided only for one air 
sung by the cruel Bia. The intentions of the librettists i re not 
sufficiently clear ; having caused Pandora to die (the pretext for the 
fine funeral chorus, and which we cannot regret), she is restored to 
life to satisfy the needs of the drama. And perhaps, dramatically, 
a certain tediousness results, since Bia s air, striking though it be, 
adds nothing to the force of the preceding scene. But Pandora has 
reappeared at the threshold of the cave, swathed in her funeral robes, 
she glances round her, hesitant. Brusquely, Bia stands up and stops 
her with a gesture : " Go ! Zeus forbids thee to approach." The 
Act ends with the lamentations (spoken) of Pandora. 

The action is resumed from this poin in the third Act. The young 
maiden calls upon the Oceanides : " Tell the Titan there is one who 
still loves him that, in the night whose shroud your hands sweep 
away, he is not alone." This, three times repeated, alternates with 
spoken dialogue, wherein Pandora cries aloud her hope and 
Prometheus his fears. The choruses are of gentle, feminine tone, 
whose charm occasionally recalls the Faure of la Bonne Chanson 
and other songs. However, after Pandora s restoration to life, if 
* the composer is not to blame, nevertheless the work suffers a little 
by being too fragmentary and episodic. The first Act formed a 

-writer adds here a note to the effect that " the meaning of these somewhat 
enigmatic words is rather obscure" 

z This was not to the liking of the Bass singer responsible for this rdle : he wanted to 
finish on an F Sharp, instead of the middle A Flat, so submissive ; so incapable of all 
resistance, drawn out with an infinite sadness, If one has a fine voice > what a pity not 
to reveal it ! 


Gabriel Faure 

complete whole ; quite half of the second, also (Pandora s funeral, 
the binding of Prometheus) showed a spacious and simple dramatic 
conception. After which, by contrast, the interest is divided between 
Pandora, Prometheus and the Oceanides ; musically, too, the effect 
is somewhat dispersed by the number of separate pieces, of slighter 
dimensions and which moreover are interrupted by spoken- dialogue 
(thus, Interlude Bia s air conclusion of the second Act Prelude 
to the third the three Oceanides Choruses and, finally, the dialogue, 
sung, between Kratos and Bia). There is no doubt that all this 
engendered a feeling of indecision, an impression of over-long 
expectancy. 1 Given the structure of this drama on broad lines, with 
the opposition of spoken word and song, these pages suifer by being 
cut to a slighter pattern. As for the music, despite the pellucid charm 
of the harmony, the threefold song of the Oceanides cannot be 
compared with Pandora s funeral music ; and the adjoining scenes, 
with Kratos and Bia, being not more prominent than the excellent 
ones at the end of the first Act and in the middle of the second, actually 
seem less so, by reason of the gradation which our* mind demands. 
Very little is needed in the theatre to produce the impression of dragging 
(especially when the musical portion has just been interrupted by 
the spoken word). 2 And perhaps Faure, realising, with his unerring 
taste, this fault in the larger design (even if he would not admit it), 
had less enthusiasm for the composition of interludes which performance 
would render less significant. 

This is, however, merely an hypothesis ; and if some inequality 
is in question it is only in comparison with the summits. It is clear 
that it is relative ; none of this part is without charm or vigour. 
However, from Scene VI in the third Act, the musician comes into 
his own again, making a brilliant return. " At the very top of the 
mountains Zeus and the Olympians appear. With them is Hermes, 
holding a casket. Everyone rushes to the spot at the sound." Over 
a tremendous roll on the kettle-drums, the " Gods " theme blazes 
out on the brass. Here is absolute simplicity a canon at the 5th, 
over the percussion, long sustained. Wherein lies its superhuman 
grandeur? In the character of the theme itself, embodying such 
a vital, dominating force ; in the part played by the bass note, 3 on 
which the chord is built ; in the peroration which, modulating from 
E Flat to C Minor* broadens still more ; in the change of interval 
on the repeat of the canon (now become a canon at the 6th) ; in 

J-It was more damaging in Paris than at Beziers, by reason (as explained above) 
of the optimism,* the tranquillity, free from impatience, which performance in the 
open air induces in the public. 

*Wedo not say, too little action, // would sometimes be the opposite. Here it is 
felt to be irresolute, disunited, superficial more theatrical than Aeschylus. It aspires* 
to movement with Pandora s supplications, and by the double veto of the Gods. These 
episodes perhaps harm each other ; a complete, Aeschylean simplicity would be more 
suited to the flow of the music. It is, moreover, only the slightest dip between the 
peaks. The remainder of this fine poem is fashioned on broad lines, and serves the 
musician admirably, 

*// produces a chord of the 6th on. the G of the drums ; much more spacious in its 
vagueness than the immediate and clear-cut root position chord, 
1 Giving a six-four over the G of the drums. 


The Stage 

the modulations, which animate the following Recit. (of Andros, 
pp. 161-164) ... If this dry analysis gives no idea of the music, 
neither does the score, at this point, suffice. But imagine the vast 
sweep of the Arena (in the fading afternoon, the sounds of nature 
dying away, the orchestra more and more impressive) filled with 
the immense sonority of trombones overriding the thunder of the 
drums the blaring brass mounting to heaven where one can visualise 
the Olympians themselves, resplendent . . . 

Prometheus counteracts the ruse (the casket Pandora is to receive 
contains, as you will remember, all the evils which will spread over 
the earth). But no one believes the Titan ; his prophecy* is in vain. 
Pandora, with the fatal gift, descends towards the crowd. "The 
grave Gods have smiled on us the way is clear where thou goest." 
This is given to the chorus, in an ineffable phrase of youthful hope, 
a phrase whose every harmonic inflexion deserves analysis, wherein 
all is pure, grave and charming as in " The Temple of the Wingless 
Victory." From here the work drives on to its conclusion in a 
crescendo incorporating elements of the Prelude, amplified, and which 
is developed in a majestic omnipotence to be compared only with 
that of the last scene of Goiter dammenmg. And note that Faure 
is not belittled by the comparison. No : this music of the Acropolis 
fears the proximity of no mediaeval City, however gigantic. Here, 
Zeus is as grand as Wotan. The inner robustness of these harmonies 
has the compactness of marble which defies the ages. And the 
Olympian order, the supreme logic of this essentially sensitive lyric 
art, are clear and definite facts. 

So, as splendid as it is well-proportioned, this work is one of the 
finest in modern music we might say, in all music. The only causes 
for regret are the longueurs at the end of the second act and in the 
middle of the third, and the special open air conditions most decidedly 
necessary for Promethee to shine with its complete brilliance ; thus 
performances in an ordinary theatre are hindered from realising its 
whole beauty. I know not if it will ever be performed under the 
Hellenic sky ; it awaits it and cries out for it. 1 But on the day of 
its revival at Beziers its splendour will be reborn, incomparable. 

A considerable time separated the premiere of Promethee from that 
of Penelope (1900-1913). But having lived with Aeschylus, the Titans 
and the Gods, Faure could not forget Greece. It constantly inspired 
him : in the very form, in the conception of his art. Thus la Chanson 
d JSve, le Jardin clos, and the Second Violin Sonata bear the mark 
of the Attic influence. Finally, there was Penelope. More than the 
Iliad perhaps too persistently warlike (even though he has written, 
I think, an admirable setting of the last chant, and though tfce prayers 
of old Priam found in him the most sympathetic interpreter)~--the 

l And why should it not be presented in the Greek theatre (^modelled on that of 
Epidaurus) of Berkeley University, near San Francisco ? America s resources in 
the matter of first-class orchestras and the possibility of producing great choral works 
there make this wish less Utopian than it appears ; the chief obstacle is that the 
reputation of Prom&hee (and of Faure generally) in foreign countries is not to be 
compared with its value as a work of the first order. 


Gabriel Faure 

Odyssey tempted him. Besides, he had no desire to accentuate the 
archaism ; what purpose would it serve ? Prehistoric times had 
inspired sufficient of his pages for him to have no need to treat an 
adventure of Homeric times in the style of M. Rochegrosse s violent 
picture " la Prise de Troie." (After all, Penelope remains substantially 
epic, and even brutal where necessary ; witness the end of the second 
Act). But rather, let us say that, in the musical speech of our times, 
a civilised artist, of the time of Pericles 1 tells us of the return of Ulysses. 
Is the postulate admissible ? Yes ; the work being there to justify 
it, and whose beauty, inwardly Greek, assumes the form of modern 
harmony anfl melody, without the least disparity, in the most complete 
unity of conception and style. He is not interested in erudite science 
concerning the ancient Modes, nor cold architectural reconstruction ; 
in short, there is no false primitive or artificial roughnesses, seeking 
(as puerile as vain) a vigour which would, on the other hand, banish 
charm. Faure remains, constantly and sincerely, himself; but at 
bottom his inspiration is Greek in that he has drawn the most 
faithful and human pictures of Penelope, Ulysses and the Suitors. 
And his power is bound closely with that sincerity which makes the 
work so vivid and profound. As already a sympathetic bond had 
been established between his art and that of Athensfrom 1900, with 
Promthee, and onwards the arrival at this new summit of musical 
civilisation, Penelope, was natural and quite unforced. 

The poem, by M. Rene Fauchois, does not pretend to be so literary 
as that of Promethee. Ought one to complain of this ? And if so, 
why ? It is clear, with no out-of-the-way words, broadly designed 
and since it is the framework of this refined, strong and perfect music, 
there is no need to regret the choice when a libretto less sparing 
in incident, rich in poetic licence and precious in vocabulary might, 
who knows? have done the composer a disservice. In the next 
chapter an attempt will be made better to define this harmony between 
Greece and Gabriel Faure ; it must suffice here to describe the drama 

The exposition is entrusted to the first three Scenes. But first" 
the Prelude has introduced, positively, heroically, the figures of 
Ulysses and Penelope. Heroic indeed is the noble waiting, the sublime 
fidelity of the wife in her invincible hope ; and likewise is the music 
At the height of Penelope s exaltation appears the " Ulysses " motif 
distantly at first of the same Doric simplicity which has already 
been displayed m certain outHnes, almost linear, of Promethee. The 
whole of the development is founded on these two themes 

Scenes I, II and in. " An ante-room to Penelope s "chamber 
As the curtain goes up her maids are discovered, spinning Some 
weary, have let fall their spindles. They yawn and stretch themselves 
and move to lift their drapery in the background. Then one becomes 
aware of the blazing sun."* The Chorus explains the situation 
Ulysses, gone these twenty years ; the Suitors gradually invading 

vUek brinss to ur minds Claude Debussy ~ s 

are take "> with nor alterations 


The Stage 

his house ; Penelope tirelessly faithful. And the serving-maids 
protest that, in their mistress s place anyone else would have given 
way. Enter the Suitors, brushing aside the drapery. They insist 
on seeing the Queen, who is cloistered in the adjoining room. A 
lively altercation follows, for the aged Euryclee opposes their demand. 

Scene IV. Penelope appears, at the top of the steps. Everyone 
moves back. She proclaims her hope : the Gods will protect Ulysses ; 
if Zeus decides so, he will return this evening, even. The Suitors 
give a cynical contradiction ; for them, the exile will never return. 
However, they are uneasy ; the shroud intended for old Laertes, the 
warrior s father, which the Queen promised to weave before choosing 
a new husband what a long time it has been on the loom ; why is 
it not finished? Discreetly, she avoids the question. But, says 
Eurymaque : " From now on you will work under our supervision." 
At thiszpoint (at a sign from Eurymachus) flute players and dancers 
come on the stage, while the intruders crowd round Penelope. In 
despair, she launches a last appeal : " Ulysses, faithful husband . . . 
come . . . relieve my distress ! " And then from without comes a 
voice in reply. It is Ulysses, disguised as a beggar, old and un 
recognisable. He seeks hospitality for the night. He is welcomed, 
despite the hostile Suitors. Arm in arm with those servants amenable 
to their desires, they go off. Man and wife remain together : a 
certain vague presentiment remains unclarified ; she does not recognise 
him, and confides him to the care of the old nurse. Taking advantage 
of her solitude, Penelope has unfolded Laertes shroud ; she proceeds 
to undo the work she has done during the day, as she has done every 
night before. But the Princes are spying on her ; she is discovered, 
and this time they decree : " To-morrow, she must choose one or 
the other. There must be no more delay." The last night has 
come . . , Once more, still hopeful, Penelope decides to climb the 
hill commanding a view of the sea, eager for the appearance of the 
vessel so long expected ! Her guest, returning with Eurycleia, requests 
to accompany them. "... Take my cloak, old man ; the night 
is cool." " Merci ! . . . Tu viens . . . Je vous suis." So ends 
the first Act. 

For this suite of diverse Scenes, unified by one dominant idea the 
return of Ulysses Faure has written music of astonishing pliancy, 
suppleness and truthfulness. We Have seen how, in his simpler 
settings for voice and piano, he succeeded in preserving the unity 
of the rhythm and an impeccable steadiness of form, with emphasis 
where necessary on particular words ; the same is apparent in all 
these changing scenes. To the charming music of the flute, players 
Penelope adds her plea : " Ulysses, fier epoux ..." And here, in 
this extended prayer, the warrior s theme, stealing in in the rhythm 
of the dance, becomes more and more prominent, and finally blazes 
out in Penelope s cry, " Help my distress 1 " 

To the imperious and harsh Suitors theme, its asperity intensified 
by harmonies resulting from the imitations, is contrasted the weariness 
of Ulysses where, in certain chords and melodic inflections, can 
be detected the shadow of that subtlety and cunning which had baffled 
the Cyclops. Penelope s accents have a matchless nobility, regal 


Gabriel Faure 

with an affectionate ardour 1 never surpassed even in la Bonne Chanson. 
In the meantime there are episodes such as he only could conceive : 
the dances, precise, and gracefully supple ; the grave mystery of 
Penelope s warning, " Les Dieux Ouraniens prennent tous les visages " ; 
the passionate monologue when Ulysses, alone for an instant, declaims 
ringingly, " Epouse cherie , . ." ; finally, the marvellous canon with 
which the Act closes, its double line unfolding with the perfection 
of a Greek bas-relief. 

Second Act. Few Scenes simple and spacious but whose intense 
emotion gives them a rare intensity of life. An eminence overlooks 
the sea. At the rise of the curtain, in the still moonlight, a nocturne 
is heard : a dialogue between Eumaeus and a shepherd, over an 
orchestral background of serene melancholy, the harmony ceaselessly 
coiling and uncoiling ("neither wholly itself, nor wholly anything 
else," Verlaine would have said). Can we not say that Faure himself, 
one evening on the shores of his beloved Mediterranean, experienced 
this antique pastoral, among the green oaks of the mountains, their 
Yirgilian shadows lengthening in the sunset? . . . Enter Penelope, 
followed by Euryclee ; Ulysses is with them. She recalls memories 
dreams of former times, when her husband was young and still with 
her. There is a long Duet with the " aged stranger " ; and each 
rivals the other in prudence and discretion. The Queen questions 
him, still mistrustful : ** For all around me is so much deceit, that 
I can trust no one at first sight." Ulysses, fertile improvisor that 
he is, soon concocts a story : the warrior has lived under his roof, 
in Crete, for twelve days. To prove his tale, he describes minutely 
the appearance, the dress, the armour of the hero ; and, carried 
away by his own romancing, his tears fall . . . But his wife is 
uneasy : has Ulysses -remained faithful? He has not fallen a prey 
to the seductions of some stranger ? And here, in the heat of his 
reply, the wily Ulysses, the " fertile inventor," forgets his role : " Could 
he, whose heart has been intoxicated by thy voice, yield to the charm 
of any other wine ? "... he had " one desire only, in all that terrible 
exile ; to feel thee swooning once more in his happy arms ! " It is 
impossible to describe the expressive force the music attains in this 
long, pathetic and sustained development depicting the memories, 
the future hope, which move the hero. What does it matter that 
the unseeing, the devotees of some kind of veristic dream, consider 
this not " theatre," even though it all breathes an indescribable ardour ? 
And, if others, the Wagnerites, have denounced the presence of a 
technique dear to the composer of Tristan (that of leit-motifs), that 
merely proves the technique open to all, for there is no question that 
it has produced music both living and personal. That of Faure, 
here particularly, is of the highest order ; in perfection of writing, 
with a supreme control by which the feeling is never constrained 
is, indeed, by the harmonious form, rendered still more intense^ 

Penelope is astonished: "Comme tu dis cela . . . Comme tu 
dis cela ! " . . . Ulysses almost discloses his identity, but recovers 
himself. While Eumaeus re-enters, he proposes a strategem to his 

1 Cf, page 52, **/*#/ tant d* amour a lui donner encore. . ." 

The Stage 

wife : " Give yourself only to him who can bend the Bow of Ulysses " 
knowing full well that Ulysses alone has the strength ; in his hands 
the weapon will consummate his vengeance. Penelope, almost in 
despair, re-enters the palace. Left alone, Ulysses calls Eumaeus and 
the shepherds. " Behold the most to be pitied of mortals ... I am 
Ulysses, your King ! " He implores their help ; and following this, 
sure of victory, surrounded by partisans who will give their aid in 
slaying the infamous wretches, his theme, triumphal, bursts forth 
in the orchestra, in bold relief and with extraordinary conciseness 
a brilliant triple canon mingled with the clashing of swords, with 
harmonies cruel, savage but logical, analysable and, in spite of all, 
classical . . . One thinks of the Iliad. And this pitiless victory 
makes a picture all the more striking in contrast to the serene ending 
of the first Act, the Nocturne in the second, and the tenderness of 
the incomparable Duet. 

Third Act. Scene I. An Aria (Ulysses), impetuous, violent, dark 
with threats and inflamed with anger. A thundering transition, in 
three chords, from G Flat Minor to D Minor, sets squarely before 
us the heroic figure of Hercules, whose colossal sword Ulysses has 
recognised among his armour. He hides it under the throne whereon 
Penelope will sit. Scene II. The aged Eurycleia tells her master 1 
of the Queen s distress. He reassures her. The strategem of the 
Bow will make him victorious. " And to-night you will see Penelope 
smile." (Here an unexpected modulation, extremely simple, a sudden 
shaft of light, felicitous, charming and noble such as the master 
possessed the secret of !). Scene III. Eumaeus, rejoicing, announces 
to the King that all is as he wished. By a lucky chance the shepherds 
will be there, gathered for a sacrifice ordered by the Intruders : 
" Thirteen sheep, twenty cows and a hundred heifers." Scene IV. 
Entry of the Suitors. They summon Penelope to make her choice. 
" Which of you can bend the Bow of Ulysses . . . shall remain in 
the palace," she replies. But then, struck by a strange presentiment, 
she implores them to renounce it. " Death is here ... I see these 
walls covered in blood and reeking entrails. The warrior returns, 
he is already near . . ," The prophecy is in vain ; it seems to the 
sceptics only a ruse. Each tries to bend the Bow. Each gives it up, 
powerless (extraordinary music, imitative, or .rather suggestive, of 
this abortive effort). In his turn, Ulysses, still disguised as an old man, 
wishes to have a try ; all consent, with -contemptuous raillery. 
Stupefaction : " He has bent the Bow the arrow has gone through 
the rings ! 2 He bends the Bow again ; aiming at Eurymachus, " And 
this time, you are the target ! " The rival falls. His vanquisher 
now throws off all disguise ; he straightens himself, terrible of aspect. 
The Suitors flee in terror. From then on it is a massacre. Ulysses, 
Eumaeus and the shepherds throw themselves in pursuit of the 
fugitives ; not one of them escapes. Re-enter the King, avenged : 
"Justice is done." And the work ends with a triumphal chorus 
acclaiming the happiness of the reunited couple. 

1 Whom she has recognised since the first Act. 

*The trial of skill was not only to bend the bow, but to send the arrow through 
** twelve rings of axes." 1 (Jr.) 


Gabriel Faure 

In this drama, with that creative intuition which gives precise life 
to the decor, the words, the action, the spirit, flagging not for an 
instant with its constant richness and true variety Gabriel Faure 
proclaims himself verily a musician of the theatre. And that with 
no concessions, and by no elaborate devices, and by the most beautiful 
symphonic style ; thus showing the absurdity of that old nonsense 
of " water-right compartments " in the palace of Music. In like 
manner the excuses which patched-up and tasteless works would like 
to put forward the pretended " necessities of the drama," the scenic 
effects, to cover up the " bad places in the music " also disappear. 
But the theatre is a bad place only for those resigned to its decline. 
It was a bad place for Penelope no more than for Pelleas et Melisande. 
It is true, this masterpiece of Faure has not had the success of Madame 
Butterfly. Even at the outset, while it found some ardent supporters, 
and although at the first performances the public was clearly favourable, 
a number of composers found some " harshness " in the score which 
surprised them quite in keeping with their preference for the first 
volume of songs. Always this inability to follow an evolution ! 
And the virile force, and sometimes the Doricism of this language 
disconcerted them. To-day the cause of this is realised : the pro 
fessionals definitely understand ; in company with them, a select 
few of the public have gradually added some fervent enthusiasts to 
their number. If Faure s art, no doubt, will never be popular with 
the musically uncultivated masses, in compensation one finds even 
in the most modest seats (and perhaps particularly there) in the 
gallery which decided the success of Pelleas fanatics confessing 
their love ; Penelope has charmed them, just as they will take care 
never to miss a revival of Pelleas, and can savour all the merits of 
Ariane et Barbe-Bleue. In Paris among the less well-off there exists 
a number of true artists, driven into prosaic careers by the necessities 
of existence ; but no matter they understand and love beautiful 
things ; and by supporting them, form a good part of the conditions 
necessary for their survival. So Penelope from time to time reappears 
on the bills : less often than one would wish but enough for its 
memory to be preserved, and for succeeding generations to be nourished 
by this " body-building marrow "... The part of the heroine was 
created 1 by Mme. Lucienne Breval ; she proved more Queen than 
wife, notably in the last Act, when the action seemed a bit slow. 
Recently, at the Opefra-Comique, there have been Mme. Balguerie, 
with her dramatic intelligence and her superb voice, and then 
Mme. Croiza, displaying a great and indescribable emotion : more 
over, one of the most profound interpreters of Faurien song. 

These pages bring to an end the chapter devoted to the master s 
works. If it has kindled the desire to approach his compositions 
more closely, the volume will be not without value. But to complete 
it and perhaps the most important part is yet to come we must 
embark on a general study of his language, his sensitivity and the 
characteristics of his art. 

V/i the part of Ulysses^ M* Muratore was of the first order. 


The Man And His Style 

IF WE WOULD analyse precisely Fame s technique, some technical 
terms are unavoidable. We use them with apologies, and will make 
them as few as possible. 

A general survey is given by the following quotations : 

" The tonality, harmony, rhythm, form, are those which Gabriel 
Faure found at the beginning of his musical career ; in his hands, 
these ordinary things have become precious." 1 

" What, between ourselves, were the discreet and isolated temerities 
of Printemps .which so scandalised the Institute, or of the Pavane 
pour une Infante defunte, compared with the methodical, rational 
and irrevocable liberation of Faure s style, his profound and essential 
novelty, his conscious and organised enfranchisement ? 2 . , . For, 
make ro mistake, Faure was no mere forerunner, a pioneer whose 
tracks were broadened by explorers better equipped. He was a 
musician who, a quarter of a century before the rest, spoke freely a 
prophetic language with an ease, virtuosity and elegance never 
surpassed." 3 

These verdicts supplement and balance each other. And the 
example of Faure leads to this conclusion : that novelty can be 
achieved by quite ordinary means. The unexpectedness of a con 
glomeration of sounds in the main amounts to very little, even if the 
snobs and the simpletons marvel at it for a time ; moreover, it quickly 
disappears, ousted by the inevitable counter-fashions. The only 
element of value in a work is the quality of its music and its thought. 
The creation of new sounds may be necessary to some geniuses ; 4 
in their case, they will not become obsolete. But others show them 
selves more subtly revolutionary. Persuasive, and without iconoclasm, 
they are no less innovators ; and such a one was Gabriel Faure. 

Reflecting on this question of living harmonic language, one realises 
that the isolated chord is but one, rather accessory, element. It is 
the chord progression., and the way in which this is brought about, 
and particularly its relation to "the melody, to the evolution of the 
phrase and to the gradations of feeling, which is fundamental. The 
art of music, offering such a prodigious wealth of material, permits 
of innumerable combinations with the help of none but well known 
harmonies. As in chemistry the atoms can group themselves in 
thousands of ways, so successions of chord-cells 5 can form a discourse 

Boulanger, article on Faures religious music^ Revue musicale, October^ 

Z E. VuittermoZy " Gabriel Faure" Revue musicale, October, 1922. 
^Extract from the same article. 

- *So much the better , since they enrich the domain of music, 
* Common chords, or Iths. 


Gabriel Faure 

that Is admirable and sublime or dull, banal and devoid of real 
existence. The analysis of the elements has little interest ; it is a 
question, on the contrary, of the life of chords in succession}- Merely 
by concordant writing, Faure is continually innovating ; and more 
so by the use of simple 7ths than ever M. H. Duparc achieved in 
I* Invitation au Voyage. 

What is most striking, first of all, is that feeling for plainchant 
which has been manifest since his youth. We have mentioned all 
that he owed to the teaching at FEcole Niedermeyer, to the days when 
Samt-Saens, himself perhaps influenced by the composer of le Lac 
and his ideas on the accompaniment of the liturgical melodies, was 
already turning towards the ancient Modes. This was new ; for 
the composers of the XVIIIth Century and the first half of the XlXth 
had forgotten the scales in use at the time of the Renaissance 2 This 
very marked preference of Faure shows itself in the employment of 
certain of the Gregorian Modes. 3 We have noted it more than once : 
in the Requiem , in les Roses d* Ispahan (II n est plus de parfum . . .") ; 
and, most expressive, in that fine song, Au Cimetiere (" A sa croix 
les parents pleurant . . .") 4 It is impossible to overestimate the 
importance of this. As we have pointed out, there is no question 
of learned and artificial reconstruction, but of a predetermined 
correspondence between the character of these scales and, most often, 
Faure s very nature It is not by chance that the character of the 
Aeolian (A Minor with G natural and F natural), firm and virile, 
was preferred by the Greeks, or that they showed a marked antipathy 
for " notes sensibles " whose expression seemed to them too restricted, 
too emphatic, one might say too romantic* The leading note lowered 
to G natural in the key of A Minor, or suppressed in the Major Mode, 6 
is often the precise inflection necessary to his thought. However, it 
must not be regarded as a formula ; he himself wrote with the utmost 
freedom, reserving the right to pass from one mode to another : to 
use real leading notes as it pleased him and most characteristically 
in certain passages whose nicety of execution demanded a sharpening 
of the Major Third on the Dominant to the Pythagorian Third. 7 

In the case of this great musician, a good deal of harmony is derived 
from this Gregorian conception. It would take too long to go into 

^Progressions and modulations. 

*With some rare exceptions, eg., the Andante of Beethoven s fifteenth Quartet \ in 
the Lydian Mode ; a few passages in Berlioz and Gounod , and also a certain archaic 
colour* occasionally, in Herolds" 1 le Pre-aux-Qercs. 

z Especially those on A, G, D and E which are also those of the old folk-songs of 
our own country (see the transcriptions of Bourgault-Ducoudray^ M. Emmanuel, 
Vincent d^Indy, etc. 

*To mention three works only^ among many others 

8 " Note sensible *" the Leading Note , i e , a semitone below the tonic (7>.) 

6 This will be dealt with later. There is also the leading note suppressed in the Minor, 
as at the end o/PInscnption sur le sable (from Jardin clos ) 

The Major Third in just intonation is defined by the ratio 5 . 4 , the Pythagorian 
Third, formed by successive fifths CGD AE> is characterised by the ratio 
21 16. Its nature is essentially melodic , but certain chords, from the quality of 
their expression (and following the sense of the phrase) demand it. Good instrumen 
talists are not deceived by it, 


The Man And His Style 

detail ; l but it can be taken that a number of progressions dear ^to 
Faure, and forbidden by the harmony books, are compatible with 
the character of plain-chant. 2 Even the use of the common chord 
on the third of the scale, which Reber 3 held to be " non-existent " 
or dangerous, is charming and therefore legitimate in the Serenade 
from Shylock, in le Secret, in le Pays des Reves, etc. The Faurien 
enlargement of the Plagal feeling (that is to say, Cadences with the 
chord on the fourth degree, Fa la doh, leading to that of the Tonic, 
Doh mi soh, is seen in his well-known Cadence : 

And this remains Gregorian in feeling since an ordinary cadence, . 
a dominant chord (E, G Sharp, B) before the chord of A, would use 
a G Sharp (proceeding to the tonic A) in place of the succession 
G Natural A of the above example (notes belonging to the Aeolian 
scale on A). Finally, this Plagal sense, evinced by a desire to avoid 
an ending involving the semitonal leading-note, extends even to 
harmonies over a Dominant bass preceding the final Tonic chord. 
So we find a chord of the seventh or ninth with the third replaced 
by the fourth, thus : 


The Cadence thus acquires a remarkable quietude. In our days 
this is well established ; but not to resolve such a discord must have 
appeared scandalous in the far-off days when Faure dared this boldness 
for the first time. 4 

l See the writer s tude sur Tharmonie moderae, in TEncyclopedie de la musique, 
published by Delagrave (second part, Vol. 1). 

*//? C * chord of E fallowing a chord ofF ; chord ofD preceded or followed by that 
ofE ; chord of G moving to chord of F, with B-C in the top part (C/. Oair de lune, 
in DFlat : " au calme clair de lune, triste et beau. . ." 

*Reber (1807-80). From 1851 Professor *of Harmony, from 1862 Professor of 
Composition, at the Paris Conservatoire. His TraitS d Harmonie was published in 
1862. Koechlin would seem to be wrong on a matter of fact here ; Reber s observa 
tions concern the third degree of the Minor scale. His actual words are Pro 
visionally this chord {i.e., the Augmented Triad) will be considered as impracticable 
or non-existent "a cautious attitude which every teacher of elementary harmony 
would adopt. (Tr.) 

* Nevertheless logical and even conforming to tradition, if we extend the field of the 
" exceptional resolution" wherein the discordant note remains as a note of the next 
chord (e.g., a Dominant 1th on G followed by a first Inversion on A). 


Gabriel Faure 

So that, while remaining a purist, 1 he could seem dangerous to narrow- 
minded professors. After all, who was there, in the decade 1875-85, 
willing to recognise Gregorian tendencies ? Gounod, Saint-Saens, 
Lalo, Chabrier, Franck (also his disciples, Duparc, Vincent d Indy, 
etc.), and on the other hand, the liberal Bourgault-Ducoudray, so 
enthusiastic over the Greek modes. Perhaps also Massenet, possessed 
of greater breadth of view than his colleagues (cf. certain chords 
in the Saint-Sulpice Act, of Manori). But the rest to begin with 
Debussy (before he heard Palestrina and Orlando di Lassus, in Rome) 
their culture was firmly based on leading-notes and the Dominant 7th. 

With Faure the result was never that the sense of tonality became 
vague. If he achieved " vagueness " it was with precision, and knowing 
perfectly well the direction of the phrase. If this at times seemed 
to lose itself in mysterious undergrowth, the compass directions were 
never ignored. But the tonality, if clear-cut, was sometimes established 
very rapidly, and often transitorily as we see in the XVTth century, 
favoured by the use of the old Modes which permit great suppleness 
of modulation. 2 We note, too, subtle false relations, bold, but logical 
to the ear such as we find in many a Bach Chorale, or in the Fugue, 
for string quartet, by M ozart. In this connection see the Offertoire 
from the Requiem (page 18, 1st and 2nd lines). 

Faur s harmonic style includes a large number of progressions 
little known before his time. In general, he discovered them ; some 
times he made them his own by a treatment so appropriate to the 
feeling and so felicitous, that they became personal to him. The 
elements, apart from common chords, are scarcely more than different 
kinds of 7ths, sometimes of 9ths, with few complicated " alterations," 
he leaves those to the mediocre imitators of Tristan? The Augmented 
Fifth is quite frequent, but diatonic : 4 the chord on the third degree 
of the Minor Scale, inexplicably forbidden by the harmony books, 
though already used by Bach and Rameau. Appoggiaturas but 
always without affectation, and in an admirably natural context 
aim at underlining the expression. We must also remark 6*n his 

1 We shall presently go into this question of purity in writing, as opposed to the 
scholastic precepts of the harmony treatises. It is not easy, without actually hearing 
the music and without considerable development {beyond the scope of this book) to 
explain the possibility of a style really pure, which nevertheless is full of licences from 
the point of view of the kt rules" But in a word, it can be said that the text-book rules 9 
valuable in the academy ; are most conventional ; that the best musical stylists are 
constantly infringing them ; in fact, they are neither sufficient, nor necessary. More 
over, the boldest revolutionaries, with very few exceptions, have begun by submitting 
to their discipline. 

*And Faure^s Gregorian education, we may be sure, developed in him that faculty 
of slipping gracefully and subtly from one key to another. Traces of this can be found 
as far back &$ la Bonne Chanson. Sometimes too the modulation is only apparent ; 
thus, at the beginning of the fourth Chorus of Caligula, the D Flat does not contradict 
the key ofE Flat : it is really the Mixolydian Scale (key of G Major with F Natural 
for the seventh note,} 

* Some refined ** alterations " are, however, to be found in Sok ; the principle is based 
on the Dominant 1th with the Diminished 5th. (In French text-books ** les alterations " 
designate any chromatic inflections of the notes of a chord. 7>.) 

*That is to say, it is never, save for some rare exceptions, derived from the Whole 
Tone Scale. 


The Man And His Style 

deliberate use of Inversions ; in particular he removed the absurd 
suspicion which weighed upon the Second Inversion. At the time when 
Reber s treatise specified them as " rare," Faure was already using 
them. 1 . 

In the handling of this technique, licences from the standpoint 
of the scholastic rules were numerous. Certainly, during his studies 
at Fficole, he submitted to the accepted discipline, without which 
no one can acquire mastery. His style may be free but, on the other 
hand, one can think of no greater purity. But do not compare the 
precepts of harmony books and grammars ; the tradition of the 
most illustrious and most truly pure masters (notably Bach and Mozart) 
is to infringe on each page, almost on each line, the " laws ** relating 
to direct 5ths and 8ves, false relations, etc. With Gabriel Faure 
had become legitimate, and henceforward classic, the following 
licences : 7ths prepared or resolved by transference ; unprepared 
7ths (even on the 1st and 4th degrees of the scale, i.e., Major 7ths) ; 
a rising bass, in a chord of the Tritone or the 2nd ; chromatic false 
relations ; appoggiaturas irregularly resolved, etc. As for the 
" exceptional resolutions " in le Ruisseau, the Requiem^ Madrigal, 
you will find them charming ; Nell, les Roses d* Ispahan, la Fee aux 
Chansons, la Rose, and a great many other songs, show many essentially 
Faurien traits which have passed into current language. 2 In all this, 
Faure s role as forerunner is clear as defined so well by M. Emile 
Vuillermoz. Any more considerable development of the question 
would be in place only in a harmony treatise ; we must confine 
ourselves to a few questions from his works. (See following page.) 

Although he achieved a homogeneous synthesis of all musical 
technique, it is necessary for the purpose of analysis to divide our 
studies : after Harmony, Counterpoint. This is admirably balanced 
in character, with marked independence (after the style of Bach), 
in absolute respect for the harmony (that is to say, the quality of the 
aggregation of sounds simultaneously perceived by the ear). As an 
organist, a pupil of Saint-Saens and a fervent admirer of John 
Sebastian, he would naturally be inspired by the technique of the 
great Cantor. Notice already, towards the end of the Offertoire, 
the broad and smooth working out of the three-part canon, " O 
Domine." The logical movement of parts is found again, with a 
boldness even more Bach-like, in la Bonne Chanson (cf. Une Sainte 
en son aureole, 16th and 17th bars) ; in several bars of Mandoline ; 
in Promethee (the Prelude, chorus, and scene with Bia and Kratos, 
from the first Act ; Pandora s funeral procession, etc.). At about 
the time of the Requiem (1888) a few musicians had revived the style 

*Or, in any case, very soon after this time. * 

*The consecutive Iths in au Bord de 1 eaii are carried out with infinite grace ; their 
audacity remains unnoticed, but in their day it was great. Prison contains two con 
secutive 9ths : but Faure has expressly stated that, to his ear this actual "parallel 
implies a crossing of the inner parts, with contrary motion chancing to correct what 
perhaps he thought was of too free and "facile " a style. This, moreover was before 
Pellas, but after Chabrier s le Roi malgn lui (1886-7), in which can be found an 
admirably clear example of a similar progression (Duet between Alexina and Henn 
de Valois). Later (cf. Prelude in F) Faure wrote parallel progressions without scruple. 

Gabriel Faure 

Echar^ent des pro-pos fa - des sous les ra - mu 

_-r *z=^i -zmzN _ _ 

(a) Unprepared 7th. 

" Mandoline " 

Par de - 1& 1 heure hu - maine et le temps in - ti - ni 



Chromatic false relation. 

" Le Parfum 



Exceptional resolutions. 

(a) Eising bass in chord of the Tritone. 



The Man And His Style 

Moi, ma nuit au som-bre voi le 

j j b_ 



Exceptional resolution. 




" Nocturne n 


ne triste, et beau 


False relation of the Tritone. 

1 ES*- =C 

"ClairdeLune 1 * 

dans le sable ou la pous - sifc - re 

\-X-G _^ j^ _^.. ..^ s ^, S{ ! , , , j 


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*"! ^n. * i m ") P* 

^_ r ^ 

i r ~] *A 

i* m~ -5- 

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-* * r 

Irregular resolution. 




Gabriel Faure 

of Bach, Saint-Saens, and particularly Bizet (cf. TArlesienne, and 
Carmen, with their bold clashes). In this matter then, you may say 
that Faure was not absolutely a pioneer, though much in advance 
of the greater part of his contemporaries. But apart from the 
personal flavour of his contrapuntal harmony his bold passing-notes 
were brought about with a marvellous feeling for fulness and harmonic 
quality ; a rare feat which demanded a remarkable taste. 1 And, 
as with Bach and Mozart, the success is most particularly notable 
when the theme is in the lower part. Then the difficulty is immensely 
increased, since this lower part, though predetermined, must always 
make a good bass. Faure enjoyed such a constraint ; indeed, it only 
stimulated his imagination. But with him because counterpoint 
was never an obstacle to his perfect musicianship the Bass was of 
prime importance. And here a word to pianists : he never ceased 
to advocate this necessary support, too often neglected by virtuosi 
to the point of leaving in rnid-air, suspended in the void, a melody 
thus deprived of all harmonic sense. 

The fugal style was never distasteful to him. He had never the 
narrow-mindedness which condemns a tradition as being scholastic. 
He restored to life these methods of former times. Re-read the 
Requiem, Dolly, the second Violin Sonata, for smoothly-worked 
canons ; and particularly, in Penelope, the last page of the first Act, 
as well as the thundering imitations (on the Ulysses theme) at the end 
of the second. 2 The fugal entries, or rather free imitations (the 
Suitors theme, in Penelope; the second subject of the first Piano 
Quartet ; , the passage for strings only, in the second Quintet ; etc.) 
will completely convince you that he was right. Over-intellectual he 
was never ; what was allowable in this style becomes over-intellectual 
only to those incapable of realising its sensitive beauty. 

To return to the realm of harmony, with the study of his Modula 
tions. They aroused the critics. Lenepveu could not stomach the 
progression, so beautiful and expressive, and so essential, by which 
the primary key is reached at the cadence of the first phrase of le 
Parfum imperissable. Another professor could not understand, and 
has never understood ; it is too late now for him ever to understand. 
Besides, * one only grasps the sense of these subtle transitions by 
musicianship and deep feeling. The logic of an elementary analysis, 
and even the logic of the practice of the eighteenth century " classics," 
are here seen to be quite erroneous. Thus, in Nell : being in a key 

Respite the theoretical independence of the parts, they were never forced into 
unnecessary dissonance, nor poor or platitudinous harmony ; horizontal movement 
could never forget vertical. 

*One could quote many other examples, notably the Adagio from the first Quintet 9 
the Fantaisie^or Piano and Orchestra, the later Nocturnes, etc. The use of" echap- 
pees" and especially ascending retardations, furnished the occasions for all kinds of 
new effects, often very daring, the clashes very dissonant but always apposite and to 
the point. (An anticipation is already seen in the syncopated counterpoint in the First 
Nocturne, at the return of the initial theme}. This study is most fascinating for the 
student ; it is naturally beyond the scope of this work. 

Note. * 4 Echappee an irregular resolution of Passing Notes. Most of the ex 
amples quoted in Reber are either elisions, or developments of the Nota Cambiata 
formula. (7>.) 


The Man And His Style 

(D Flat) nearly related to the main key (G Flat), before the return 
to this key why not a modulation to F Major, this giving oneself 
the pleasure of an unexpected, but throughly musical, reappearance ? 
A parallel " illogicality " (though profoundly logical) appears at the 
end of the Tenor Aria in the first Act of Promethee : in order to 
finish in C already reached he plunges into F, on a 6/4 chord ; 
the incomparable brilliancy of the peroration being due to*the return 
to the preceding, but almost forgotten, tonality. One could easily 
multiply these examples ; we will mention only the final cadence of 
Puisque Vaube grandit (la Bonne Chanson). Try setting the words, 
" Je ne veux pas d autre paradis " with a progression which does 
not modulate, and see the result ! The sense demands this paradoxical, 
but necessary and exact " fancy " : the supple, ingenuous, translucent 
modulation from F to G Major. Thus, the relationship of keys 
springs from a legitimate cause, expressive and musical : it is the 
very essence of the idea, and never empty trifling with ingenious 
scintillation, as it were " shot silk," as was thought by those who 
have never grasped the logic of this art. As for its realisation, it is 
matchlessly easy and assured. 1 The simplicity of his methods should 
be noted, preserving the excellent naivete of writing that he loved. 
Thus, at the end of C est Fextase, a perfect cadence brings to a close 
this exquisite and profound song ; in Promethee, he is not afraid 
of the obsolescent (?) 6/4, to be found also at the conclusion of the 
first song in la Bonne Chanson ( Une Sainte en son aureole). We shall 
return later to the question of Faure s simplicity ; refinement does 
not prevent simplicity, and simplicity is no bar to refinement. 

As for the question of Form, this seems too complex to study 
without even reading the music. The general plan (ternary) conforms 
to. that of the Allegro movements of Beethoven and Mozart. The 
function of the Sequence is not despised ; 2 an old technique which, 
however, he took care not to turn into a " Rosalia." Sometimes 
the tonality will be found established over long periods, with no 
modulation ; then, the fundamental bars first heard will be repeated 
at the 2nd or 3rd. 3 This modulatory life keeps up the interest with 
rich and compact harmonies ; the symmetry remains supple ordered, 
but obeying no merely geometrical instinct. The same suppleness is 
found in Concertante style, with the diflferent parts answering each 
other. Re-read, too (cf. the Chapter on the Chamber Music) the 
quotations from our worthy colleague M. Vuillermoz ; there is no 
one better calculated to make clear the, independence the composer 
could preserve in the traditional framework he imposed on himself. 

Finally, touching the instrumentation, we have already remarked 
on its principal characteristics. Moreover, Dotty was scored by 

*/* would be too long and technical to study all his methods. We must, however , 
mention the use of "pivot chords" that is to say, a modulation produced by the 
ambiguity of one chord belonging to two different keys (usually a common chord or 
6tK). The Supertonic 1th is also a great resource, as often with Bizet (in quite a differ 
ent sense) : it leads with the utmost precision to the Dominant chord, or one of its 
inversions (cf. Prelude to P^lleas et M61isande). 

*And particularly in his later works, in which many periods of 2 and 4 bars are thus 
repeated. Their beauty permits of such repetitions impossible with mediocre ideas. 

*Cf. the first Chorus of ?roin&tt*6e : "Eiaeia. . . ." 


Gabriel Faure 

M. Rabaud ; it is not certain that the orchestral version of Caligula 
was by Faure ; Pelleas et Melisande was confided to the present 
writer ; Promethee to the Director of Music, M. Eustace ; Penelope 
in part (to all appearances) to one of his friends whether M. d Indy 
or M. Paul Dukas I know not, and the secret has "been well kept. 
Sometimes his doublings of Strings and Wood-wind go some way 
towards dfminishing the total effect (as in la N&issance de Venus). 
But since for him this side of his art was somewhat accessory, and 
as most often one cannot state definitely that he was responsible for 
the orchestration, it is better to refrain from criticisms or eulogies 
which may not be his due. 

The study of this Faurien technique shows what will be discussed 
again in due course : his freedom with regard to the fashions of 
his time. He always remained himself, without departing from 
traditional ways (understanding by this the best, those of Bach). Was 
he influenced by Wagner s ninths ? Impossible to say ; but he need 
not have been. The chord was well known ; and besides he used 
it in his own quite personal way. If on the other hand, in that 
beautiful appoggiatura, " J aurais pitie du coeur des homines," 1 Claude 
Debussy seems to have led Faure towards a parallel path (cf. la Foret 
de Septembre, le Don silencieux same harmony and equally in the 
second Quintet, as well as in Penelope ; " Tu pleures . . ." p. 145), 
it is of no importance and no one would dream of speaking of 
reminiscence. Everything that the master obtained by this means 2 
was personal to him. But one should not be too unmindful of all 
this ; to use correctly, and with beauty, chords that have inspired 
you in other musicians 7 hands, needs not less talent than to write 
chords entirely new. Perhaps it needs more. 

Technical study, necessary to any serious monograph, remains 
specialised however, and can give only a vague idea of the physiognomy 
or the sensitiveness of the artist. Only by hearing the music can you 
grasp the bond between the sounds we have just analysed, and the 
expression the state of soul (conscious or not) anterior to the produc 
tion of the work. What we are attempting in this book is to prepare 
for this, by describing the " inmost soul " as it is apparent in his 
compositions, so far as we have been able to recognise it ; after which 
certain general characteristics of his art will present a sort of synthesis. 

Faure s evolution preserves sufficient unity 3 for it to be traced only 
in broad outlines. It is the story of the unfolding of his individuality 
to the point where it displays Itself in the most profound and striking 
manner. Gradually the foreign influences, the parasitical excrescences 
engendered by a literature that did not suit him, became assimilated. 
(Thus appear to us Rev(> d amour, or les Djinns, by Victor Hugo). 
It took him some time to eliminate the dross ; it is noticeable in 
Fleur jetee and perhaps even in Poeme d un jour. With the musical 

Pelleas et Melisande, page 219 (2nd Edition) (ArkeVs phrase). 

Ms Debussy, for his part, took the 9ths of Erik Satie (Sarabandes 1887), and as 
Wagner, certain discoveries of Liszt : for example, the chorus of Brunnhilde" s slumber, 
which we are assured were borrowed from the Faust Symphony, 

^Despite the " three periods " we have particularised abovein the chapter devoted 
to his piano works. 


The Man And His Style 

influences it is quite otherwise ; with a persistent suppleness they 
were turned in the direction of his own domain, enriched by passing 
detours. He was led to the discovery of his own personality by 
certain poems : first, those, lyrical in form, which satisfied a feeling 
for nature (Chant d Automne, Baudelaire), or else his innate love 
of Venice 1 and for the Italy of Frescobaldi and the Florentine painters. 2 
Often too he couples with it a sensitivity washed by the broad current 
of romanticism^ Besides the purely musical considerations 3 you see 
therefore that it is poetry, or travel real or imaginary or the 
orientation due to the subject (Promethe\ and particularly the inner 
evolution (towards that serenity, alternating with anguish, of his 
last years), that are the stages on the road leading to his real self, 
until he obtained complete self-expression and from then on attempted 
only what was profoundly true. In short, we find ourselves led 
to the study of the Man. 

In the Chapter on his Life we drew a rapid sketch of his appearance. 
It is difficult to picture him without that halo of white hair, as we 
have known him for so many long years. To see him as he was 
as a young man we must turn to his eldest SOD, M. Emmanuel Faure- 
Fremiet the very picture, it seems. There is the same delicacy, 
that " breeding " whose distinction clothes the apparent tranquillity 
of an Eastern sage and a certain smile, not entirely free from irony 
but below the surface, and never turning to bitterness. His look 
was strangely distant, as his eyes followed the smoke of the eternal 
cigarette. But study the fine sketch, by Sargent, done in London 
about 1898, at the time of the performances of Pelllas et M&lisande ; 
here you can see the energy, hidden under an air of nonchalance. 
We would have loved to see him some day in Arab costume, as it 
were, the descendant of one of those delightful poets of old, the kind 
we meet in M. Franz Toussaint s translation of Klingsor. But he 
never indulged in such whims even shunning with care a Bohemian 
appearance. No one was simpler in dress : not " smart," but always 
correct ; neither " starchy " nor casual. 

As for his real self, his connection with le Figaro shows him in his 
relations with his colleagues and society. He was above aU benign 
and courteous ; an example by which, if they were capable, the 
pretentious incompetents who think they know everything (or would 
like to seem so), ceaselessly searching for the faults of a work, might 
profit. To say or to write unpleasant things was repugnant to him, 
as much by reason of his natural good-nature as that modesty which 
characterised him. And with Massenet, and Puccini, when he recognised 
music in certain pages it was he, emphatically, who was right a 
wiser attitude than the contempt of the sqobs. His dedication of 
le Parfum imperissable to Paolo Xosti, composer of trashy ballads, 
was not, as might be supposed, irony, biting and cynical (and vain), 
but a souvenir of pleasant relations without measuring the gulf 

separating them. " __________ 

. 1 BarcarolIe, Shylock. 
2 Serenade toscane, Clair de lune, 

*The influence of Bach, Mendelssohn, Chopin* Gounod and Saint-Saens, whom 
U would be unjust to forget. 


Gabriel Faure 

If one adds that he was not essentially literary-minded, nor 
philosophical in conversation or writing, certain reservations are 
necessary. He had a deep affection for the poets. Capable of 
conceiving abstract ideas, he did not dissociate himself from philo 
sophical problems (particularly touching the arts). But he never 
practised dialectic after the current fashion. His bent was not that 
of a Leonardo da Vinci, the explicit knowledge of phenomena ; the 
search for causes formed no part of the depth of his mind. He spent 
no time in analysing. He saw the world, primarily, as a mine of 
harmony ; impressions vividly experienced, his work determined by 
a state of mind a synthesis of which he was profoundly conscious. 
Moreover, he was interested in this searching for causes, this analysis, 
in other people ; often he would find developed there themes dear 
to him. 1 If he reserved his best leisure, not for the study of M. Bergeret, 
but for the transports of poetry or the countryside, transforming them 
into music, his was not the worse choice. 

His articles show no virtuosity of style, no striving after effect ; 
on the contrary, no one was further removed from rhetoric. He put 
forward his views with no elaborate phraseology ; soberly, clearly 
and exactly. But it is certain that he felt more deeply than his words 
show, the art of music being his medium. While life allowed him, 
he sang of life, with a sort of recognition of having loved beauty, 
with that singular optimism, that intimate happiness which carried 
in itself the gift of being made manifest in music. As with all artists 
of lively sensibility, the reality was inferior to his dream, but neverthe 
less fine and wonderfully healthy. 

At present we are, perhaps, attempting the impossible, by trying 
to put Faure s sensibility into words. 

It is both charming and forcible. Opposite poles : too .often 
one sees only the first. But the balance of his art is held delicately : 
in his technique, original discipline and freedom ; in his souk that 
mixture of tenderness and inner energy (although a certain will 
power was lacking, in that he did not always know how to refuse) ; 
finally, in his general aesthetic, that essentially Greek equilibrium 
between feeling and logic. 

The Faurien charm : let us do away with this equivocation. When 
a piece of music is musical, and also possesses the attraction of a 
great success, certain cross-grained people affect to believe that it 
is no more than an ear-tickling appeal to the senses. Thus, the 
detractors of Gounod s Faust. Happily, this contempt seems to be 
going out of fashion ; but it was formidable and unwholesome at 
the time of the Wagner idolatry. But the charm of Faure and 
often of Gounod penetrates deeper than mere sensation. To be 
sure, it is not, in origin, free from sensuousness. This is necessary 
to every artist ; sensual response to the beauty of chord and line, 
to nature, to beauty in all its forms for example, feminine beauty. 2 
*It has been shown in a previous quotation (cf the Chapter on the Piano Works) 
that he was not incapable of expressing these things himself and sometimes, not 
without beauty. 

^Though this general sensuousness extends to many subjects other than that studied 
by Freud, to which some people would reduce all kinds of pleasure a very debatable 
proposition ! * 


The Man And His Style 

But what then ? Does not art rely on matter ? And is not matter 
the primordial condition, the mainstay of all expression that has 
been brought to fruition ? With Debussy, and with Mozart, you will 
find a like attractiveness of the " substantial," without blame being 
attached to it 1 because this substance is quickened by the inner life 
of the human spirit. I would not say, moreover, that an analogous 
ch^rm is not found in Bach, in the luxuriance of his chords, or in the 
ornamentations of his modulations, which have nothing of a dry 
intellectualism. And this sensuoumess of Bach, Mozart, Faure and 
Debussy does not preclude a pure style of writing, constructional 
ability, or the power of evoking the profowdest thoughts. 

If one returns to the man himself, one finds a thoughtful seriousness 
alternating with an amiable and almost childlike playfulness. 2 A 
child he always remained in the best sense of the word : laughing 
heartily at a joke, without unkindness or bad taste amusing himself 
like a little boy with a Quadrille tetralogique (an unpublished work, 
after Wagner), which he played in duet form with his good friend 
Andre Messager. 

And that shows us the complete simplicity of his soul. People are " 
mistaken with regard to the nature of the Faurien refinement The 
writer of the Berceuse, from Dolly, and la Fileuse, from Petteas, 
possessed from the very first that naivete, the result of his individuality, 
from his having something to say from his " ideas. " a These he 
then developed with no care for effect a great source of strength. 
Never did he fear the simplicity of quite ordinary harmonies (it is 
needless to return to the examples quoted, perfect cadences and 6/4 s). 
To grasp the full import of this, modify the final line of C est Vextose 
with, say, some pretentious appoggiatura (E Natural F), or a 
suspension in the manner of M. Reynaldo Hahn (E Flat D Flat), 
and you will see at once how Faure remains audaciously simple. 4 
Writing this, we are reminded of the learned ignoramus who talked 
to us of the " over-elaborate " themes which, as Director of the 
Conservatoire, Faure submitted for the fugue competition ! Nothing, 
on the contrary, could be clearer than these themes 5 so tuneful, 
and free of all false chromaticism. 

In his case the refinement never sprang from the desire for distinction, 
the fear of being banal ; and on the other hand he condescends to 
the most familiar chords with the most perfect good grace. His 
refinement is the expression of the idea. The depth and intensity 
of the phrase often demands those modulatory gradations,* in which 
he never lost his way and those unexpected cadences leading him 
back to the principal key. 7 Faure s simplicity is Verlaine s : " Au 

1 O/z the contrary, it is rather the primary duty of the artist. 

z As the Theme and Variations following his Valses-Caprices. 

3 The action was reciprocal : the musical idea benefited by the anterior simplicity. 

4 The audacity is unpremeditated and unconscious ; but he could act in no other way, 
obedient to the perfect taste of his musical instinct, in keeping moreover with the pro 
fundity of his nature. 

5 As well as his very beautiful Chorales,, for the counterpoint Prize. 
*Cf. Dans la Nymphee, from le Jardin clos. 

7 C/I Le Parfum imperissable : " On pent Vepandre toute" 

D 73 

Gabriel Faure 

calme clair de lune triste et beau . . ." It is simple and refined 
by turns * or rather, it is both at once, for its refinement remains as 
simple as the imperceptible curves in the Parthenon, as the slightly 
modified dimensions of its columns. And so it is always with great 
artists; study the harmony of Bach s fugues or chorales. 

Besides to consider only the nature more or less complex oi a chord 
or progression is an elementary method, and susceptible of errpr ; 
analysis will reveal complexities whose effect is simple, because they 
embody that absolute perfection, that logic where nothing is useless, 
that ease thanks to which the whole thing proceeds without a stop, 
with no faltering phrase and harmony going exactly to their 

s from the youthful affability of TAubade, 

and moving with a thousand successive and variegated evolutions 
towards the inner melancholy of Clair de lune, or that, more explicit, 
of Spleen, culminating at last in la Chanson d Eve and V Horizon 
chimeriqueis founded on goodness, tenderness and love. Before 
all things this music is loving. It never mocks or sneers, never makes 
its way by caricature. 1 It is varied by the thousand sentiments 
touching love. Sometimes it is seen as proceeding from pure and 
sensitive sound, as in the joyous finale of la Bonne Chanson and that 
to the first Act of Promethee, where the master approaches to the 
passionate exaltation of Bach. 2 But often, too, it is the intimate 
mingling of a hidden melancholy with a certain serenity. Sometimes, 
again (more rarely, it is true) one is aware of a stormy night, with 
dark eddies on the sea. Grief is not far from this essentially human 
work 3 nor even (though exceptionally), anger ; look again at the 
D Minor Pr&bide. It is necessary to survey the whole gamut : from 
the vibrant good humour of la Bonne Chanson, the noble ardour 
of Penelope, to the " open wound " and serene forgiveness of le Parfum 
miperissablefiQm the " adolescence " of Aubade, Nell, Aurore, to 
the maturity of la Foret de Septembre, then to the youthfulness, as 
imagined and recreated, of the incomparable Danseuse (from Mirages) 
_ or the Scherzo of the second Quintet that work finishing with the 
hidden farewell that conceals the String Quartet. 

Impossible to classify, to confine within limits, a sensitivity so diverse 
aad nevertheless, so wholly one ; any two bars of Faure are his 
and no one else s. But the human heart is a world in itself which 
this seer has explored to the furthermost corners, the most grief-laden 
deftfhs, as well as describing its most obvious and naively ingenuous 
aspects. He enters at last the serene sanctuary, the haven of rest 4 
after so many storms : a serenity sometimes deceptive : born of 

1 Apart from the good-humoured jest of the Quadrille tetralogique, which did not 
preclude a lively admiration for Wagner. 

*Cf. the Aria from the Pentecost Cantata ; the Resurrexit, from the B Minor Mass, 

fitegie, for Cello ; the Requiem, Spleen, Prison, etc. 

*// is Scarcely necessary to refute certain criticisms,, tending to the conclusion that 
this serenity " lacks emotion " ; that it is perfect, but ** ne faisant point pleurer." 
This shows a lack of comprehension of Faure s art, similar to that suffered formerly, 
among such aestheticians, by Greek art. We shall return to this 


The Man And His Style 

many a previous suffering, the scar not always healed. Do we not 
fi nd among the unfathomable Chorales of Bach something of the 
same nature ? Thus we come to the end of the road leading to the 
heart s depths, to " cet ami sublime que tu as en toi " (Baghavad 
CM). ^ ^ 

- And the power of this sweet and penetrating charm is already very 
great : to the point where it would not require much more for the 
musical and sensitive attraction of le Parfum imperissable to become, 
itself, an intense force. But dynamism properly so-called rhythm 
and solid weightiness, and even a certain brutal energy were never 
lacking in Gabriel Faure. To be sure, this is not an art of fisticuffs ; 
his music is not pugilistic. When it does achieve violence 1 order 
and harmony are present too ; it thus becomes all the more striking. 
In certain cases the power is vivid and undeniable, and it is amazing 
that everyone has not yet recognised it; as for example the first 
Act and final chorus of Promethee. There is realised in music, with 
the most superb elan, the very phrase of that enthusiastic salutation, 
" Promethee est la Force ! " But this Force sometimes appears 
under a different aspect. Thus, the tranquil and expressive austerity 
of tlie deep meditation with which the 7th Nocturne (in C Sharp 
Minor) opens. A dynamic action is there as it were latent because 
of the weight of this music, heightening in the extreme the effect of 
the combination* of " movement " with " mass " a deep sea wave, 
quite the opposite to a breaker, impotent and dispersed in spray. 
This inner but irresistible potential is found in Bach ; a contrast to 
the efforts, often successful, of emotional wrestlers in another style. 

The relationship of the material to feeling is scarcely analysable ; 
but it may be permitted to point out the appropriateness of the 
technique ; notably those inescapable passing-notes tranquil, indis 
pensable, their progress interrupted by nothing whatever. Promtthee, 
like the Bach fugues, makes full use of them : first in the Prelude, 
then in the first Chorus ; later, in the scene with Bia and Kratos, 
** c est dans la solitude effroyable . . ." ; and we niust also mention, 
among so many other examples, the triple canon at the end of the 
second Act of Penelope. 

It may be that the ease with which these are realised has deceived 
people. 2 No doubt, to certain semi-civilised understandings, " vitriol " 
is needed before an art becomes " powerful" 3 People have felt, 
perhaps, because of this clear, logical and perfect musidansbip, that 
it was less strong than many more strident works a disputable point 
But also, white people have not learnt to appreciate this sever strength, 
wherein asperity preserves a charm, they ignore it. Few musicians 

1 Cyi Fleur jetee, or the invective of Bia and Kratos in Prom&bee, or of the Smt&rs 
in P6ok>pe--<?r, again, the anger of the D Minor Pr&ude. 

*And even, is not the deceptive nonchalance of certain works but the outward and 
visible sign of an order which has bound the whole into perfect harmony ? 

*This imp&es no depreciation of polytoml, or even atonal, music. The writer of 
this book has had recourse too often U> these means to be suspected of ill-feeling 
towards the style of Stravinsky or Schmberg* But it is true of pofyt&naMty as of 
language t according to Aesop ; that its worth is as "varied as the worth of those wk& 
use it. 


Gabriel Faure 

know Promethee. The last Nocturnes, the first Quintet and many 
powerful songs are rarely performed ; those who see in Faure nothing 
but slender inspiration hold to the erroneous view that all " informed 
criticism " deems them obsolete. 

In actual fact, they are igporant because they do not understand, 
and do not want to understand ; because to Grecian (or simply 
French) beauty, which has few initiates, they prefer something with 
grosser contrasts, or stupid ornamentation. Which leads us to a study 
of the Hellenic nature of his art, as well as the reasons why some 
people remain estranged from the great master. 

It is advisable, first of all, to clarify matters. Granted that the 
subject of Prometheus, and the closer view of Aeschylus thus obtained, 
were determining factors in this orientation yet it was a question 
less of subject or local colour, than of more inward things ; for 
la Chanson d ve and the second Quintet are as Greek as V Inscription 
sw t le sable, Danseuse or Penelope. 

Conciseness, clearness, choice of technique . . . Athenian clarity in 
an art which has been likened to " shot silk " : but one had only to 
hear Faure at the piano to grasp that a strict style did not preclude 
nuance of expression ; to realise that the melodic line in Arpege^ or 
Mandoline remained precise, with a winged fancy, a dreamy sensitivity, 
and that background, sometimes, of an almost unreal past. And 
always there is the paradox incomprehensible to grosser minds of 
clarity of form and ease, of solidarity and suppleness, of superficial 
nonchalance and latent energy. Thus Faure s charm remains Doric 
Ionic often and never inclines to the Corinthian. 

All these qualities of reserve, of tact, contribute to the force of an 
art persuasive and serene, quite opposed to that of those athletes 
of Herculean build, with veins distended in the effort towards the 
sublime. With Faure there is none of that muscular effort of the 
Last Judgment, no pathos of the Laocoon type, but the perfect, pure 
and complete strength effortless and unobtrusive of a beautiful 
antique torso. 1 And, as we have just pointed out, this force has indeed 
some inner life, which renders it more powerful than many a violent 
progression. There is no striving after effect. When the blow does 
fall, the striking power is in perfect proportion. The harmony, 
compact with music, charged with emotion, is " dense " ; and this 
human density endows the elements of this language with mass, just 
as in the atom the ions are animated by electricity, the resulting vortex 
giving the notion of weight. 

Also, one will never find " pure movement," movement for move 
ment s sake, the rhythms beating in the void because the thought 
is non-existent. 2 The force is from within ; virtual, potential, in all 

*He lapses but rarely, if ever, into a " neo-Greek style a la Saint-Saens" wherein 
the idea and the sensibility are not sustained as well as one could wish, Moreover, 
Saint-Saens by no means always displayed this frigidity, which has been much ex 

*The objection may be raised, that a beauty of pure percussion is possible ; for 
instance, the end of Stravinsky s 1 Histoire du soldat But first, there is the question, 
here, of contrast with the vocal portions ; and secondly, this art foreign to musical 
sounds (for it makes use of intensities, duration, and loudness of noises only) has 
nothing to fear from the platitudes of melody and harmony to which we allude. 


The Man And His Style 

the beauty of the idea. 1 And this again is very Grecian, in the 
harmoniousness of this invincible force. The Prelude to Promethee 
gives us a moving picture of sonorous waves, suggesting the billows 
of the ocean ; and likewise, that great surge of grief which rises, 
sweUs and ^ unfurls itself so nobly in Pandora s funeral ceremony. 2 
All that is ordered, assured, and logical in the support which such 
a mass can contribute to the spring of the rhythmic urge, Faure shows 
equally by his balance of charm and reason : the discreet propriety 
of all this, proportionate to the figure and nature of Man what could 
be more Greek ? Here are no deformities or romantic excesses ; 
not only no grotesque ugliness, but no impossible desires, no irremedi 
able despair 3 even in the Nocturnes, no " cosmic visions," no gigantic 
Milky Ways 4 ; only perfect and serene grandeur (second Act of 
Penelope), limited to the human Mediterranean horizon. 5 To be 
sure,, this Romanticism to which we have alluded may be capable of 
real beauty; it can produce a certain sublimity. And doubtless, 
if one accepts this extension to extra-human or supernatural boundaries, 
the disproportion exists no longer ; if that is granted, there is harmony 
in the emotion of this pathos seeking the infinite. But conceptions 
of this kind, smacking rather of the North (and which appertain even 
more to the Gothic or more still, to that paganism of prehistoric 
Russia, with le Sucre de Printemps), remain as far removed from 
Greek as from Faurien art. Besides, if it is a question of infinity., 
it can be maintained that the immensity of love in the realm of the 
heart need concede nothing to ultra-terrestial dreams under the stars. 
Thus, the profundity of le Parfum, imperissable ; thus, the image of 
eternity which, by means so astonishingly simple, is evoked by those 
la^t bars of rinscription sur le sable, where Death is portrayed as 
essentially Greek. A disciple of Einstein would write, " It is not an 
impression of limitlessness that emerges however, infinitude is not 
absent." Space as vast as one could wish but it remains human. 
It harmonises with our life. 

We would add that the art of Gabriel Faure shows itself Greek and 
pagan in the primordial importance it attaches to this human life. 
It is constantly seen : in the hymns to love which form a good portion 
of the composition of his second period ; in the pantheistic mysticism 
of la Chanson d ve or le Jardin clos (in close sympathy with the 
thought of the poet Van Lerberghe, the author of Pan) ; in such 
evocations of light and antique grace as la Rose, Danseuse, etc. ; in 
the passion which comes to life again in the Andante of the second 

*As with Bach : the return of a theme, well harmonised and suitably timed, will 
have a latent power superior, perhaps, to a pathos more directly theatrical. 

*Here, the actual intensity is of little consequence, going simply from p to mf. 
This power has not always the need for ff. 

*Save sometimes in his last Nocturnes. 

4 With the exception of the ** twinkling stars " which the middle portion of the 6th 
Nocturne probably evokes ; and even here it is only the accompaniment to the melody. 

*The Faurien conception of infinity will be dealt with in due course. Sometimes his 
" human horizon " is extremely vast, especially when the sea is in question {cf. le , 
Lamento, in the first collection of songs, and even the Barcarolle ; au Cimet&re, in 
the second volume ; Je me poserai sur ton coeur, from le Jardin ck>s). 


Gabriel Faure 

Quintet, right up to the despair of the 13th Nocturne, telling of the 
approaching end (this picture of death is quite different from those 
given by Spleen, au Cimetiere, or even by the Elegy and the Requiem, 
works wherein one senses an artist far from the end of his life). The 
intense serenity evinced by the first movement of the second Quintet 
and the songs of his " third style " (I" Inscription sur le sable ; O mort, 
poussiere d etoiles . . .) is not strictly Christian in character. It is 
not a question of the life to come the In Paradisum being moreover 
an exception required by the nature of the Requiem. Nor is it a 
question of the doctrine of Christianity ; and this serenity, more 
philosophical than dogmatic, is very different from that affirmed 
by Bach at the end of the Actus Tragicus (" To-day shalt thou be with 
me in Paradise.") When it does overcome the anguish of a future 
dimly seen (and there is beauty in this strength of mind), a certain 
confidence is perceived, in spite of everything, confidence in Him who 
has created beauty, and hope that * life will continue." We can 
imagine we hear, through the profound voice of music, the confession 
of a spiritual Athenian, for whom the soft skies, and the charm of 
the Mediterranean light, and the feeling of having heard the " inner 
God," remain for ever the essential realities. Philosophers, artists, 
thinkers, all striving to obey the voice of this inner conscience none, 
I know, will boast (if he is sincere) of having attained a superhuman 
goal ; I mean, of having made all his acts correspond to his high 
ideal. But with them this ideal none the less exists. Faure never 
posed as a moralist ; he never adopted the overweening Pharisaical 
attitude towards any one. But the " still, small voice " sings in his 
work ; he puts the best of himself into it : the dictates of his conscience 
are translated into his human language with all the beauty of which 
he was capable. All praise to the artist who has devoted his life to 
so full and complete a consummation of this beauty. 

Such an art, supremely civilised, a legacy from one of the most 
beautifql musical epochs, is moreover marked by no stain of degeneracy. 
Too often civilisation tends to be confounded with the refinement 
of luxury shown by the ages of decadence. And lately we have heard 
a foreign conductor, on reading the Trio of the master, speak of 
" romantic feminity." Nothing could be more false : it is, on the 
contrary, classic and virile art. It does not follow that what is 
sensitive and not barbarian should be affected, or that pure music 
and sound construction should remain absent. 

But precisely because of its qualities, it happens that it is misunder 
stood. It is quite true that, in France, a more and more numerous 
elite of initiates are forming a sort of" Faurien freemasonry," amongst 
whom the musical gifts, the taste, and fineness of their harmonic ear 
are proved, in truth, by this common, sympathy. For them, the 
general incompetency of the critics could be measured by their non- 
coinprehension of Gabriel Faure : aad I for one do not find this claim 
ridiculous. But in opposition to this select band, even in our own 
country, is the mass of the uneducated, and particularly- a more 
serious fact those music-lovers whose culture is specially due to 


The Man And His Style 

the art of Beethoven and his successors. 1 The study of this lack of 
comprehension rounds off this discussion of Faure s character. 

And first, we do not wish to infer an a priori eulogy because his 
art is French. We do not praise these qualities because they are 
ours, but because they seem praiseworthy ; and we can congratulate 
ourselves that they represent at the same time the pure French 
tradition, Droving that the spirit of our artists, poets and musicians 
is rooted in things good in themselves, and exclusive of all nationalistic 
vainglory. But we cannot overlook the fact that elsewhere, perhaps, 
these things are misunderstood, and that a public for whom Tschaikow- 
sky (with the undesirable Pathetic Symphony) is a great master, has 
necessarily quite a different conception from ours and less classic. 

Two trends are clearly discernible in the musicians of other countries : 
the one, a sentimentality (necessarily harmful), emphatic, turgid and 
cloying all at once ; the other, brutality often barbarous, but vital 
(R. Strauss, Hindemith, Prokofiev, etc.). 2 In contrast to these two 
tendencies there are respectively : 

1st. The Logic of Faure, because of which the Beethoven fanatics, 
misled, consider him cold, or at least, " perfect, but with no emotion." 
We have had occasion to discuss the matter with a music-lover of this 
sort ; but as (with the assurance of ignorance) he addressed the same 
reproach to Bach judging him scholastic we carried the discussion 
no farther. These dullards have blinkers or rather, earplugs which 
render them deaf. It is probable that such a listener, swooning at 
the floods of emotion of the Pathetic Symphony, would be insensitive 
to the 2nd Quintet. That is regrettable, but what can be done? 
And one is reminded of Boubouroche denying his wife s unfaithful 
nature. . . . 

2nd. His Sensitiveness, considered by some, as we have seen, to 
be " romantic femininity." Lately, some criticisms from beyond the 
Rhine have contained denunciations of God knows what " Parisian 
superficiality." 3 Some modern theories, analagous to those of Saint- 
Saens on the possibility of a " purely plastic " 4 music, would have 
Form and Expression opposed to each other. 5 A priori this is open 
to question, and a posteriori there is nothing in the history of music 
to confirm it. People go to the extent of neglecting the very profound 
and ever-present sentiment of Bach, clinging to the inteHectualism 
of his " exact form " whereas his form shows great diversity and 
his art great expression ! This " revolt against expression " (pedantic 
rather than new), this neo-classic conception (though there is little 

1 7% point requires a little elucidation. It is principally a matter of harmonic 
culture, more even than the expressive character, or the turns of phrase. But there 
is no doubt that the style of Brahms, and even on occasion that ofBeethoven* is very 
Cerent from the styles, of Back, Mozart and Faure. It mmst mt be concluded from 
this that the latter did not understand Beethoven \ 

2 /r is doubtful -whether to add Stravinsky, -whose sort of inner barbarity is so imtural 
and precise i so lucid and well-fumed, that it acquires the qualities of classicism, even 
apart from the fine transcription c^Pulcinella. 

3 Always this old nonsense of the French being light, incapable of depth I 

4 Cf. the Letters of Saint-Sains to Camille Bellaigue (Revue des Deux Mondes). 

*Pec?pte have tried to make m " impressionist " ofCkwde Debmsy, mi ** exprestfion- 
ist " of Gabriel Faure. In which is the Form less solid ? 


Gabriel Faure 

" classic " about it), this gratuitous, anti-musical fashion of separating 
the expressive element from the constructional factors all this, it 
must be realised, is the fashion of the day. Our artists will do ^well 
not to let their heads be stuffed with the ideas of the aestheticians. 
It is obvious that the construction, even the form, can vary with 
the sentiment, and should do so. We will not labour the point ; 
the works of Faure, displaying as perfect a harmony in their balanced 
design as one could wish, are there for all to see. Clearly, if one 
banishes love, if one fears all that comes from the heart and ventures 
only on a sort of " Meccano " construction, one cannot understand 
his music. But in that case, what true musician could one under 
stand ? And even those who delight in a style of brutal violence, 
do not they display a sort of expression in reverse ? If their works 
are living they preserve a relation to human feelings. 

There is added a last obstacle, and this not the least one : the 
language of Gabriel Faure. More than anything, in the Songs, this 
habit of expressing himself without insistence perplexes on first hearing ; 
one has to re-read them and pore over them. 1 But there is also the 
novelty and subtlety of the syntax. 2 If its elements appear traditional, 
in reality this music (descending from Gounod and Chopin) differs 
from Beethoven s. And not only in the general aesthetic (much 
closer to Bach), nor even in the contrapuntal writing, but above all 
in the nature of the harmony ; it is this, evidently, which perplexes 
the traditional Beethovenian before a work of Faure, however great 
it may be. 3 We have spoken at length of his taste for Plain-song, 
his Gregorian feelings, his plagal cadences, his very personal modula 
tions. In all these regards he is seen to be infinitely further from 
those one calls "the classics" than Richard Wagner. Beethoven 
in his time, and after his fashion, was extremely bold ; a creator of 
the utmost freedom, as the dismay of many musicians at his first 
performances in France will testify (cf. Berlioz Memoires). And 
it is a very regrettable convention, contrary to the true Beethoven 
tradition of feeling and independence not to venture from his 
principal harmonies ; but the intolerance of the ear is great, and 
audiences are easily disconcerted. An art as new, in its turn, as 
Faure s was received with reserve by Ambroise Thomas just as, even 
to-day, is done by certain belated critics, unable to see that a warm 
welcome for the present does not prevent them, if they wish, from 
holding in permanent affection the beauties of yesterday. 

To appreciate at its true value the music of Penelope, la Bonne 
Chanson or the 2nd Quintet, the ear must be guided along harmonic 
lines already familiar : usual enough in France that is, among the 
elect since a number of our composers have similar ways of expressing 
themselves but much rarer in other countries, , where the majority 
of the public still thinks in the language of yesterday, 4 accepting if 

*This is why French music, with its reserve and compactness, is more difficult to 
understand than Wagner. 

*More than the vocabulary. 

3 For it is often by the beauty of this harmony that the expression, in his case, is made 
so intense. 

^With a notable inability to understand any harmonization derived from Gregorian 


The Man And His Style 

need be a certain uncouth bitonality, less new at bottom than Faure s 
conceptions. In addition, some general culture appears necessary 
an Attic sense whose value Is not appreciated by everybody 1 ; and 
the understanding that quality outweighs quantity. Finally and this 
is perhaps essential there must be a moral sense ; a leaning towards 
goodness, seriousness and depth; never admitting an art merely 
amusing, or brutal, or vulgarly emphatic. 

Considered from this point of view Faure s art offers a most 
instructive lesson. It will be not unhelpful to particularise, which 
we propose to do in these final pages. 

From its Greek nature it follows first that this art, sober and 
temperate, is not overwhelming. Its spaciousness, free from ambition 
and vanity, is the final goal led up to by song, sonata and quartet 
(sometimes it has been achieved earlier, almost at the outset of this 
journey ; cf. Chant d automne, Apres un Reve, the 1876 Violin Sonata, 
etc.). Nothing is more salutory than to remember that such an 
artist, despising non,e of his colleagues, and no technique, however 
common with no proud pre-meditation and almost unconsciously, 
could produce such great and powerful music ; it should teach us 
both confidence and modesty. Certainly, his emotional capacity 
was very great, and the gift is indeed rare which can discover harmony 
in matter, can ensnare the beauty existing in the world and finally 
transpose life into terms of art, bequeathing to men the best of himself. 
Others may be less liberally endowed ; but if they develop the gifts 
of the good fairies in the best and healthiest conditions, they need 
not lose heart. 

In the first place, the regard for expression, needful at all times, 
would to-day be the surest antidote to that withering indifference which 
paralyses inspiration. As for the Faure modesty, and the summits 
to which it leads the musician, the question is closely connected with 
the relativity of the force and the artistic grandeur. No need to pile 
Pelion upon Ossa to reach the Olympians ; and the route to Parnassus 
is " with a good grace " and simplicity of soul. More true grandeur 
is to be found in a few clear lines w (such as a Bach Chorale, or a 
Faure Melodie : " O Mort, poussiere d etoiles . . .") than in many 
a long and ambitious symphony, empty and bombastic. A simple 
hand sketched by da Vinci, a negro study by Rubens, are durable 
things ; it is of slight importance that the study in question does 
rtot deal with a precise subject, or is only a fragment I Life and 
beauty are the things which count, not the genre of the work, nor 
its apparent dimensions, nor even that it is " unfinished " : there is 
but one Act only of la Briseis^ by Chabrier, or of Mussorgsky s 
Mariage. Mozart s "Exercises in strict counterpoint," 2 Claude 
Debussy s or Maurice Ravel s harmony exercises, would be infinitely 
superior in interest to some mediocre lyric drama or symphony. 
It will not be contested that there is some absolute quality in the power 

which attention goes hand in hand; Faures music is not such as one can 
listen to inattentively. 

^Beethoveris have been published and very unequal they are {to say the least}. 
He could never conform to this discipline, despite real effort. But the ** school studies n 
of Mozart ought to be charming. 


Gabriel Faure 

of the orchestra, as in the time-scale. Certain thoughts, certain, works, 
demand a vast canvas ; for example, Promethee. But it is clear 
(and Faure continually provides the example) that a highly sensitive 
artist, given the talent to render this sensitivity articulate, requires 
but a page to achieve a rare beauty. U Invitation au voyage or VElegie 
suffice to prove M. Duparc a great musician. In fact, we come 
back always to the comparison of the Parthenon with la Cite of 
Carcassonne or simply, that of a marble fragment, a relic of the 
Acropolis, with a clock casing in " artistic bronze," or the official 
and deplorable public statue. 

We have already gathered that his compositions originated in a 
sort of moral quality, as much as in what comes from the heart, as 
in that confidence in an unambitious type of beauty, and in that 
calm assurance of the relativity of greatness since the inner life of 
the music and the manner of its realisation are the only things of 
importance. The very life-story, the study of Faure s art, from the 
moral point of view, offers the most profitable object lesson. 

" Cultivons notre jardin ..." Aptitudes and tastes vary, but it 
is a universal maxim. To realise it you have only to ask yourself 
this question : How came Faure ceaselessly to develop, and not 
squander, the gifts which the Goddess brought to his cradle? 

By unremitting work, in the balancing of discipline and freedom. 
This discipline, dating from 1 ficole Niedermeyer and also from 
the excellent lessons he had from Saint-Saens, fugue and strict counter 
point this respect for order, to which he submitted, and which he 
continued to observe of his own free will, that harmonious Reason 
that he loved, that his artistic nature demanded such were also the 
characteristics of the composer of Henry VDIth. 1 But the latter 
included in his intellectual equipment a certain amount of needless 
science. He reasoned sometimes a priori; an argument in general 
superficial and not rigorous, and positively false, since one is tempted 
to apply it in all cases. Faure had the advantage on the contrary, of 
never wasting his time in that way. He had the wisdom to control 
Ms feelings only by his instinct ; by the bounds of taste, and not by 
regrettable hypotheses about " purely plastic " compositions. He had 
little interest in how a work was labelled, or any of the side issues of 
art, and particularly whether or no he was writing " pure music." 
He cared only for music, pure and simple. Then the magic flower 
blossomed, with its undying perfume. 

But Faure s freedom is more than simply the disdain of useless 
theories, or than technical daring. It proceeds from moral causes, 
from the character of the man. 2 

This freedom showed itself independent of the dictates of fashion ; 
having "something to say" he remained free from pushfulness, 
from commercialism, from histrionics, from all taint of playing to 
the gallery whence the most fecund individualism. It is needless 
to insist on the dangers of fashion, the unhealthy futility of bowing 

*i.e. 9 Samt-Saens. 

*And after all> it is always the man that we find in the works of an artist : we benefit 
or suffer from the good or bad qualities of his inner being. 


The Man And His Style 

to its decrees. 1 This kind of " novelty " declares itself the very 
negation of art lacking personality, feeling, or creation. To say of 
music : this harmony is demote, these accompaniments should be 
thrown on the scrap-heap this is clearly stupid. All durable beauty 
is born, lives and survives eternally, apart from fashion* The artist 
demands an aesthetic diametrically opposed to that of the " man 
of the world " whose eye is (temporarily) accustomed to some baroque 
line, some illogical proportion, ugly in itself, simply because it is 
chic. Faure was neither Wagnerian, nor Franckist, nor Debussyist 
nor Ravelian, nor " Eriksatieist "nor Stravinskyist. All the move 
ments which influenced the opinions of the snobs, if he did not seek 
to flee from them (which would have been a slavery in reverse) at 
least he was never shaken by their eddies. 3 

To be oneself : on this condition only, can one show oneself diverse 
profound, and true. . 

^ But individualism has sometimes, a bad press. It will be objected : 
" If the composer shows himself individual, living in his own thoughts* 
dreaming only of what he finds in the poets, in nature, and in the events 
of his own life if he neglects to this degree the surrounding feeling, 
he will not be truly representative, he will have no existence for the 
crowd." And this means discussing the question of popular music. 
But first, what is this " surrounding feeling ? " If one considers it 
in its less elevated and most customary aspect, it is only a question 
of the art of the populace, of unpleasant demagogy. Why may the 
artist not be aristocratic ? Why indeed, should he not be, if you 
take the word in its original connotation, derived from " the best ? " 
" Enough of learned music, made for an elite of Mandarins \ " 
What a dangerous thesis I Must there not, always, be some develop 
ment of the musical sense, acquired by repeated hearings ? Without 
a little culture to start with, would you understand Beethoven s 
Fourteenth Quartet? This has been necessary for us, the profes 
sionals 4 ; by what privilege is the rest of society exempt ? Moreover, 
the experience of all high inspiration demands a different culture ; 
not specially literary, but rather general and, ultimately, moral Thus 

^This. does not mean that, in certain exceptionally privileged epochs, the best art 
cannot be in agreement with official and national fashions a general style, a universal 
feeling. This is to be seen in the time of Pericles. But the dtizem of Athens formed 
an aristocracy ; and even then it is not certain that each artist did not preserve h s own 
fdiosyncracies, and sometimes (as with Euripedes) a cast of mind hardly satisfactory 
to the opinion of the majority. 

*Or at least , if it is found to be in agreement with the fashion^ this is a coincidence 
and not obedience on the part of the artist. 

3 It is of the first importance to recall that Faurg never ceased to be faithful to those 
he admired, and that the disparagements of cliques had no effect on him. At the time 
of the Wagner idolatry, when it was the height of fashion to despise Gounod, Faurg took 
care never to change his opinion o/Venise and the Duo from Faust, More recently, 
when a " triple alliance " of the Schola Cantorum, a number of Debussy s followers 
{but not including Ravel I), and some of the polytonalists, mis battering down Samt- 
Saens* reputation an excess of censure after a glory perhaps too effulgent the old 
pupil ofTEcole Niedermeyer was not only proclaiming that he owed everything to the 
composer of the charming and little known Ascanio, but even maintaining that, w his 
opinion* this musician was one of the foremost of the French School. 

*And even before the study of technique, of which there is here no guestiw ; the 
culture referred to is the knowledge of and insight into the works. 


Gabriel Faure 

after a little acclimatising in these works we see people whose 
musical education has been quite negligible enthusing over Penelope, 
and Pelleas et Melisande, by reason of their own sensitivity, ^ and 
thanks to the quality of a sufficiently developed "inner being." 
Conversely, some vulgar souls, despite their natural aptitude for the 
art of sounds, will never understand, music, except by a miracle, 
and momentarily, never lifts them above their level, or awakens in 
them anything of nobility. But they would never be converted by 
means of the mediocre. However, what is the meaning of this vague 
term, " learned music " ? It is used to describe an elevated, contra 
puntal style that is to say, writing in several parts, with harmony 
not absolutely elementary. Some would wish to see it banished. 1 
Happily, an experience of M. Albert-Doyen, with the Mastersingers 
at the Fetes du Peuple, was conclusive. The polyphony of the third 
Act discouraged none of the participators all very modest in 
technique. 2 The Bach Chorales met with a like success. It is 
probable that some scenes from Promethee would succeed no less 3 ; 
Faure s art, personal though it may be, reveals itself as universal, 
and even popular in the best sense of the word. But it is necessary 
to educate the people up to it. And no slogan of " art for all " will 
excuse concessions to the " vulgum pecus" 

At bottom, it seems that the objections to individualism spring 
from a confusion of words. The artist " collective " or not is 
necessarily an individual. His metier, his imagination, his feeling 
are his own ; the truer he remains to himself, the more living, enduring 
and human he is, and the further, in the long run, will his work spread. 
Paradox, if you will ; but an incontestable truth proved by the actual 
history of music. 

It is a curious thing, that in the " simple soul " of Gabriel Faure 
should be found a certain affinity with young people, though his 
sensitivity seems quite different. To become a child again, or never 
to lose one s childlike simplicity of character, that one may love 
certain chords, and dare to write them some newcomers have under 
stood the worth of this quality. Chabrier reveals it, in la Bourree 
Fantasque, and Faure very often. Do not think that this is antagonistic 
to forceful maturity ; it only makes it sincere and strong. For 
Promethee, in its prerequisite ingenuousness has nothing of a false 
rusticity or manufactured archaism, of elemental demagogy or 
fictitious power. It is to be sincerely hoped that the generations 
to come will be able to profit by this lesson. The great musicians, 
the Faures, Debussys and Stravinskys, are themselves. If it is not 
wise to shun a priori the " impressionism "* of Debussy i.e., an art 

*But then, the Beethoven Quartets would have to be included in this banishment ! 
And it is not clear why Faure s Promethee, or his Second Quintet, would be any more 
mandarin-#e than the Andantes of either the 16th or 15th Quartets. 

*The choral part was sung by heart We would not say that the public grasped 
straight away alt the beauties of this work ; but they were not absolutely against it. 
And gradually , by helpful repetitions^ they came to understand the music. 

^The first Act, for example. Remember^ too, that it was sung by Bitterois amateurs. 

*With all reserve concerning the legitimacy of this word as applied to Debussy 
and remembering that the composer of Pelleas, when he Iiked 9 could show himself 
powerful, even violent. 


The Man And His Style 

of soft and pleasing values in the hope (sometimes vain) of being 
strong ; if, as always, it is a snare to yield to fashion (that of to-day 
being to extol raucous sounds) 1 , it is another thing to be hypnotised 
by the distinction of the Debussyan and Verlainian melancholy, 2 in 
the fear of all homely expression, in order to achieve a certain 
degeneracy (the fashion of yesterday), in point of fact far removed 
from Debussy. 

This hankering after distinction, under the influence of Pelleas and 
VHeure espagnole, has its dangers. But on the other hand it is both 
vain and weak to turn one s back on Debussy. Now Faure s example, 
morally speaking, is much healthier, because, being master of himself, 
he had the strength to shun violent changes ; because he despised no 
art ; because he strove to recognise the beautiful in all its forms. 

" Pure music." There can be no question about that. But why 
is this " musicality " beautiful ? And what is the lesson ? Not to 
imitate him. For are there any chords or progressions that one could 
class a priori as ugly or beautiful ? (Nevertheless, in the plastic arts, 
running shorts, or a moustache cut " a la americaine," are ugly, 
and the robe of the huntress Diana beautiful ; but there is here the 
intervention of the proportions of the whole, a human logic and even 
of sensitiveness, because of expression resulting from lines more or 
less felicitous). In music, would it be sufficient to adopt certain 
well known progressions a la Faure, to achieve a Faurien beauty, 
or simply, Beauty ? Not at all ; and what traps one would fall into ! 
Quite definitely, it seems to us that good sounding harmony corresponds 
to the Greek perfection, to a certain serenity of soul. But there is 
also the dramatic impetus ; sometimes this demands other progressions, 
unexpected asperities. And then, in some instances, there is a mingling 
of sentiments apparently opposed to each other ; the two kinds of 
harmonisation can be combined in what proportion will depend on 
the individual case. Romanticism assimilated, put in order, overcome 
and mastered, becomes a source of riches : art becomes then trans 
formed into a broad and new classicism ; it is seen in the case of 
Gabriel Faure. On the other hand, the artificial, catalogued, formalised 
serenity is no more than lifeless academicism false and stereotyped 
classicism. There is no recipe for Faure s art, for none would prove 
itself sufficiently supple ; and one could use his progressions to 
advantage only if one already possessed, in a kindred form, something 
of his own beauty in the sentiments expressed : it would then be 
coincidental, as with the Tritone in Marguerite s air (from Faust) 
and the harmonies we admire so much in the Serenade toscane or 
le Lamento. 

In conclusion, it is then the moral teaching of his work, his life, 
his being as we have just defined it which is the beacon for the 
younger generation, if they will only make up their minds to be 
guided by it ; and with this wish we close the volume. There lies 

1 In contrast, mark the harmonious forcefulness 0/Promethee, 

* Already, in Wagner s time, the supporters of complex ** alterations " displayed a 

most unmusical and limitless contempt for Gounod. Always Fashion and its evils 

and always Pride, " the deadliest of human counsellors \ n 


Gabriel Faure 

the road of art in charm, purity, and strength of writing in serious 
ness and depth of feeling in the natural, honest conscience and the 
high ideals of an individualism which yielded to no concession 
such is his lesson. Already some of his qualities have ceased to be 
misunderstood by the younger generation ; their successors, if they 
will reject the influence of Operetta and the clamour of the market 
place, will be able to comprehend him to the full as a " gloire classique " 
of France : " the greatest living musician " wrote Gaston Carraud 
just before his death. But is he not still living, will he not live for 
ever, while men are capable of the love of Music ? 

List of Work, 

This list is based on that published during Faure s lifetime in la 
Revue Musicale, Oct., 1922. Some emendations and corrections have 
been suggested in the course of the work ; thus, the songs of the first 
volume probably extend over a fairly long period, somewhere around 
1865. With regard to the first Quintet, it is very probable that the 
opening Allegro corresponds to the work announced as Op. 60, and also 
that the rest of Op. 89 was finished well before 1906, the date of its 
publication. Finally, Prison and Soir, formerly were numbered Op. 73 
and not 83, their composition and even the date of publication being, 
to all appearances, anterior to that given in the official list (1900). 

Many of the songs being published in different keys, it has been 
thought useful to indicate what was the original key ; this has been 
inserted, in brackets, after the title, where necessary. 

Opus No. 


1 /Le Papillon et la fleur (Victor Hugo) 
\Mai<y. Hugo) 

2/Dans les mines d une abbaye (V. Hugo) 
\Les Matelots (TheopMe Gautier) . . 

3/SeuleCTh. Gautier) 

\Serenade toscane (Roma in Bussine) 

4 /Chanson du pScheur (Th. Gautier) 
\Lydia (Leconte de Lisle) 

5 f Chant d automne (Charles Baudelaire) 
< Reve d amour (V. Hugo) . . 
LL Absent (V. Hugo) , 

6/Aubade (L. Poiney) 
\Tristesse (Th. Gautier) 

7 fSylvie (P. de Choudens) 

J Apres un rdve (R. Bussine) 
1 Hymne (Baudelaire) 
[Barcarolle (Marc Monnier) 

8 fAu bord de Feau (Sully Prudhomme) 
1 La Rancon (Baudelaire) 

tlci-bas (SuUy Pmdhomme) 

About 1865 


10 f"Puisqu*ici-bas (V. Hugo) (duet for two 

J Sopranos) . . - 

1 Tarentelle (M. Monnier) (duet for two 

L Sopranos) - 

11 Cantique de Racine (Chorus, mixed voices, 

with accpt. for rmrrnonium and * T 
quintet) - 



About f$70 


About 1873 

Les Djinns (V. Hugo) (Choros for mixed 

voices, with orchestral accpt) .. .. Abo&t 1875 ,^*i W Y 

(The actual dates of these twa coaiix>sitjoias wcife nsuoi easier.) 

Sonata, in A, for piano and violin.. .. W6 Brertfeopf & Hfetti 
Concerto for Violin and Orchestra .. 17 Uapoblisied 

1st Quartet (C. Minor), piano and strings 1879 ftandk 


Opus No. 




16 Berceuse, for piano and violin . . . . 1880 Hamelle 

17 3 Romances without words, for piano solo 1883 

18 ["Nell (Leconte de Lisle) (G fiat) . . . . About 1880 

< Le Voyageur (Armand Silvestre) (F min.) 

1. Automne (A. Silvestre) (B min.) .... * 

19 Ballade, for piano and orchestra (originally 

for piano solo) 1881 

20 Suite, for orchestra .. .. " .. .. 1875 

Unpublished except 
for first movement 
see Op. 68 

21 Poeme d un jour (Chu Grandmougin) .. 1881 

Rencontre (E maj.) 
Toujours (E min.) 
Adieu (E maj.) 

22 Le Ruisseau, chorus for female voices . . Hamelle 

23 f Les Berceaux (Sully Prudhomme) (B flat min.) 1 882 

< Notre Amour (A. Silvestre) (E maj.) . . 

LLe Secret (A. Silvestre) (D min.) .... 

24 Elegy, for piano and violoncello .... 1883 

25 1st Impromptu, for piano solo (E flat) 

26 1st Barcarolle, for piano solo (A min.) 

27/Chanson d amour (A. Silvestre) F maj.) 

\La Fee aux Chansons (A. Silvestre) (F maj.) 

28 Romance (B flat), for violin and orchestra 1882 

29 La Naissance de Venus (P. Collin), 

mythological scene for soli, chorus and 
orchestra n 

30 1st Valse-Caprice (A), for piano solo .. 1883 

31 2nd Impromptu (F min.), for piano solo 

32 Mazurka, for piano solo . 

33 Three Nocturnes (E flat min., B, A flat), 

for piano solo 

34 3rd Impromptu, (A flat) for piano solo 

35 Madrigal (A. Silvestre), vocal quartet (or 

chorus) and orchestra 1884 

36 4th Nocturne (E flat), for piano solo 

37 5th Nocturne (B flat), for piano solo .. 

38 2nd Valse-Caprice (D flat), for piano solo. . 

39 Aurore (A. Silvestre), (G maj.) .... 
Fleur jetee (A. Silvestre) (F min.) 

Le Pays des r6ves (A. Silvestre) (A flat) . . 
Les Roses d Ispahan (Leconte de Lisle) . . 

40 Symphony in D minor Unpublished 

41 2nd Barcarolle (G maj.), for piano solo .. 1885 Hamelle 

42 3rd Barcarolle (G flat), for piano solo 

43 Noel (Victor Wilder) *1886 

44 4th Barcarolle (A flat), for piano solo . . " 

45 2nd Quartet (G min.), for piano and strings 

46 fLes Presents (Villiers de 1 Isle-Adam) (F maj.) 1887 
\dair de lune (Paul Verlaine) (B flat min.) 

47 ro Salutaris, solo About 1887 

\Maria, mater gratiae, duet .... 

48 Requiem Mass, for soli, chorus, organ and 

orchestra .. .. 1887-88 


Opus No. 


49 Petite piece, for violoncello and piano 

50 Pavane, for orchestra, with chorus ad. lib. 

51 f Larmes (J. Richepin) (C min.) 

I AU cimetiere (J, Richepin) (D min.) 

] Spleen (Verlaine) (D min.) 

(^ La Rose (Leconte de Lisle) (F maj.) 


About 1887 

About 1889 










Incidental music to Caligula, tragedy in 5 8th Nov. 1888 
Acts and a Prologue, by Alexander Dumas (Odeon) 

Ecce fidelis servus, for soprano, tenor and 
baritone, with organ and double bass . . 

About 1890 

Tantum ergo, 

for tenor solo and 4-part 

Dolly, 6 pieces for piano duet (Berceuse ; Hamelle (1st edn. 

Mi-a-ou ; Dolly s garden ; Kitty- Valse ; Metzler & Co., 

Tendresse ; le Pas espagnol) .. ,. 1893-96 London) 

57 Incidental music to Shylock, drama in 3 

Acts, in verse, by Mons. E. Haraucourt 17th -Dec. Hamelle 

(after Shakespeare), (Original keys : 1889 
Chanson, B flat ; Madrigal, F maj.) . . (Odeon) 

58 Five songs, the so-called " Venice " songs, 

to words by Verlaine 1890 

Mandoline (G) ; En sourdine (E flat) ; 
Green (G flat) C est Textase (D. min.) ; 
A Clymene (E min.) 

59 3rd Valse-Caprice (G flat), for piano solo 1891 

60 Quintet, announced under this No. (see Op. 


61 La Bonne Chanson (Verlaine) Song cycle . . 
(Une sainte en son aureole ; Puisque Taube 

grandit ; La Lune blanche ; J allais par 
des chemins perfides ; J ai presque peur, 
en verite ; Avant que tu ne t*en allies ; 
Done, ce sera par un clair jour d ete ; 
N est-ce pas ? ; L Hiver a cesse) . . 1891-92 

62 . . 4th Valse-Caprice (A flat), for piano solo . . About 1 894 

63 6th Nocturne (D flat), for piano solo 

63 Hymn to Apollo, Greek Chant of llth 
Century B.C., discovered at Delphos by 
the French School of Athens. Greek 

text reconstituted by H. Weil. Tran- S. Bomernan 

scribed by Th. Reinach. Accpt. by (Published also by 

Gabriel Faure 1894 Novello) 

Ave Verum, duet (or chorus) for female 

voices .. Aboutl894 

Tantum ergo, Chorus for three female voices 

with soli - 

5th Barcarolle (F sharp min.), for piano solo About 1 895 

Salve Regina, solo .. About 1895 

Ave- Maria, solo . . - 

Allegro symphonique (first movement of 

Op. 20), for orchestra . . . . - . 1875 

Romance in A, for violoncello and piano. . About 1895 

6th Barcarolle (E flat), for piano solo . . About 1896 



Opus No. Title. Date. Publisher. 

71 Theme and variations, first announced 

under this No. (see Op. 73) .. .. Hamelle 

72 Pleurs d or (A. Samain), duet for mezzo- 

soprano and baritone . . . : . . About 1896 

73 Theme and variations (C sharp min.), for 

piano solo 1897 

74 7th Nocturne (C sharp min.), for piano solo 1898 

75 Andante, for piano and violin (probably 

earlier than the date indicated) .... 

76 Le Parfum imperissable (Leconte de Lisle) 

(E. maj.) 1897 

Arpege (A. Samain) (E min.) .... ,, 

77 Papillon, for violoncello and piano . . 1898 

78 Sicilierme, for violoncello and piano 

79 Fantaisie, for flute and piano (written for 

the examinations at the Conservatoire) 

80 Incidental music to Pelleas et Melisande, 

(Maeterlinck), produced at the Prince of 

Wales Theatre, London .... 

Prelude ; La Fileuse ; Sicilierme ; Molto 


81 Fileuse (from Pelleas) transcribed for piano 

solo by Alfred Cortot f> 

82 Promethee, lyric tragedy in 3 Acts, by J. 

Lorrain Beziers, and F.-A. Herold . . 27th Aug. 


83 /Prison (Verlaine), (E flat min.). (Both probably earlier than this) 
\ Soir (A. Samain), (D flat) .. .. 1900 

84 8 Short Pieces, for piano solo (Cappricio ; 

Fantaisie ; Fugue ; Adagietto ; Impro 
visation ; Fugue ; Allegresse ; Nocturne) 1902 

85 Dans la foret de Septembre (Catulle Mendes) 

(G flat) 

La Fleur qui va sur Teau (C. Mendes) 

(B min.) 

Accompagnement (A. Samain) (G flat) 1903 

86 Impromptu, for harp . . . . . . 1904 Durand 

87 Le plus doux chemin (A. Silvestre) . . 1904 Hamelkr 

88 Incidental music to Le Voile du bonheur, 4th Nov. Unpublished 

Play in 2 Acts, by G. Clemenceau . . 1901 

89 1st Quintet (E> min.) s for piano and strings 1906 Schirmer 

90 7th Barcarolle (D min.), for piano solo . . Heugel 

91 4th Impromptu (D min.), for piano solo . . - 

92 Le don silencieux (Jean Dominique) . . 

93 Ave Maria, duet - 

94 Chanson (H. de Regnier) 1907 


Opus No. 















La Chanson d Eve (Van Lerberghe), Song 
cycle (Paradis ; Prima yerba ; Roses 
ardentes ; Comme Dieu rayonne ; 
L aube blanche ; Eau vivante ; Veilles- 
tu, ma senteur de soleil ? ; D un parfum 
de roses blanches ; Crepuscule ; O Mort, 
poussiere d etioles) 

8th Barcarolle (D min.), for piano solo . . 
9th Nocturne (B min,), for piano solo 
Serenade, for violoncello and piano 
10th Nocturne (E min.), for piano solo . . 

9th Barcarolle (A min.), for piano solo . . 
5th Impromptu (F sharp min.) 

9 Preludes, for piano solo (in D fiat, G min., 
F, D min., E flat min., A, and C min.) . . 

1 1th Nocturne (G min.), and 10th Barcarolle 
(A min.), for piano solo 

llth and 12th Barcarolles (G min., E flat), 
for piano solo 

Le Jardin clos (Van Lerberghe), Song cycle 
(Exaucement ; Quand tu plonges tes 
yeux dans mes yeux ; La Messagere ; 
Je me poserai sur ton coeur ; Dans la 
nymphee ; Dans la penombre ; II 
m est cher, amour ; Inscription sur le 

12th Nocturne (E min.), for piano solo . . 

2nd Sonata (E min.), for violin and piano 

1st Sonata (D min.), for violoncello and 


" Une chatelaine en sa tour/* for harp solo 
Fantaisie (G maj.), for piano and orchestra 

Masques et 

Bergamasques, Suite for 

113 Mirages (Baronne de Brirnont), song cycle ; 

(Cygne sur Feau ; Reflets dans Feau ; 
Jardin nocturne ; Danseuse) 

114 Cest la paix (Mile. Georgette Dubladis) . . 

1 15 2nd Quintet, for piano and strings. . 

116 13th Barcarolle (C maj.), for piano solo . . 

117 2nd Sonata, for violoncello and piano 

(G min.) 

118 L Horizon chimerique (Jean de la Ville de 
. Mirmont,) Song cycle. (La Mer est 

infinie ; Je me suis embarqu6 ; Diane, 
Selene; Vaisseaux, nous vous aurons 

1 19 13th Nocturne (B min.), for piano solo . . 

120 Trio, for piano, violin and violoncello 

121 String quartet 
















Works without Opus numbers : 

En priere (Stephane Bordese) .. .. 1890 Durand 

Le Ramier (A. Silvestre) 1904 Hamelle 

Vocalise (in vol. 1 of a collection of vocalises 

byM. Hcttich) 1907 Leduc 

Tantum ergo, for soprano or tenor and 

mixed voices 1905 Durand 

Tantum ergo, for mezzo-soprano or bari 
tone, with unison chorus ad libitum . . 1905 Durand 

Tu es Petrus, for baritone solo and mixed 

voices . . . , . . . . . - 1 884 

Low mass, for three female voices and 

organ accpt. 1907 Heugel 

(date of 

Penelope, lyric drama in 3 Acts . . . . 1913 Heugel 



L. Aguettant, " G. Faure " (Lyons, 1924 no pubHsher given). 

La genie de Gabnel Faure (Lyons, ** Aux deux collines," 1924). 
C. BeUaigue, " Etudes musicales " (3rd Series) (Delagrave, 1907). 
Camille Benoit, " Le Requiem de Gabriel Faure "-(Schott and Co., 1888). 
A. Bnmeau, " La musique franchise " (Fasquelle, 1901). 

" Notice sur la vie et les oeuvres de G. Faure " (read before the Institute, 
March 28th, 1925). 

V. d Indy, " Cours de composition musicale," 2nd volume (Durand). 

Ch. Koechlin, contributions to " 1 Encyclopedie de la musique" (Delagrave). 

2nd part, vol. 1 (a) Les tendances de la musique francaise contemporaine ; 

(b) Etude sur rharmonie moderne. 

J. de Marliave, " Etudes musicales " (F. Alcan). 

H. Riemann, " Dictionnaire de musique," translated and revised by G. Humbert 
(Perrin, 1899). 

Oct. Sere, " Musiciens d aujourd hui " (Mercure de France, 1911). 

Ed. Schure, " Profils de musiciens." 

L. Vuillemin, " G. Faure, sa vie et son oeuvre," (Durand). 

E. Vuillermoz, " Musiques d aujourd hui " (C, Cres., 1923). 

" Cinquante annees de musique francaise (Librairie de France, 1924-26) ; articles 
by L. Laloy, H. Malherbe, E, Vuillermoz, Ch. Koechlin, P, Hermant, A, 

Special number of " la Revue musicale/* Oct. 1922. 

Books, periodicals, etc. not listed by Koechlin. 

(a) French books : 

Vladimir Jankelevitch, " Gabriel Faure et ses melodies " (Librairie Plon, Paris). 
Philippe Faure-Fremiet, " Gabnel Faure " (Paris). 

(These two have been published, since Koechlin s " Faur6 "). 

A. Cortot, " French piano music (O.U.P., 1932, translated fay Hilda Andrews). 
Andre Coeuroy, " La Musique francaise moderne " (Librairie Delagrave, 1922). 

G. Jean-Aubrey, " French music of to-day " (Kegan Paul, 1919, translated by 
Edwin Evans). 

(6) English reference books and periodicals : 

W. W. Cobbett, " Cyclopedic Survey of Chamber Music " (O.U.P., 1929-30 
brief summaries of most of the chamber works. 

Grove s Dictionary of Music (Macmillan). 

Aaron Copland, " Gabriel Faure, a neglected master," article in the " Musical 

Quarterly," Oct., 1924. 

M. D. Calvocoressi, obituary notice in " Musical Times," Dec,, 1924. 
Florent Schmitt, obituary notice in the " Chesterian," Dec., 1924. 
Leslie Orrey, two articles on " the songs ** and ** the chamber music,** <4 Musical 

Opinion," April-May, 1945. 
LesUe Orrey, " Gabriel Faure, 1845-1924," " Musical Times," May, 1945. 

" The songs of Oabriel Faure/* " The Music Review," May, 1945. 
Norman Suckling, " The songs of Faure," " The Listener," Mar. 15th, 1945. 

"Gabriel Faure, Classic of Modern Times/* "The Music 

Review," May, 1945. 

Norman Suckling, " The Unknown Faur6/ " Monthly Musical Record," May, 1945. 
Martin Cooper, " Some Aspects of Faure s Technique," " Monthly Musical Record," 

May, 1945. 
Edward Lockspeiser, ** The unknown Faur6," ** Monthly Musical Record," May, 




Adam, A., 2 

Aeschylus, 50, 53, 54, 55, 76 
Albert, R, 16 
Albert-Doyen, M., 84 
Annecy, 14, 15 
Ariege, 1 
Astruc, G., 11 
Aubert, L., 7, 8, 44 
Auric, G., 44 

Bach, J. S., 2, 29, 40, 43, 64, 65, 68, 70, 
71, 73, 74, 75, 77, 79, 80 

Actus Tragicus, 78 

Cantata, Aus liefer Noth, 26 

Mass, B. Min., 74 

Chorales, 64, 75, 81, 84 

Preludes & Fugues, 2, 35 

Pentecost Cantata, 74 

Balguerie, Mme., 60 

Bardac, Mme. S., 5 

Bardac, Mile. Dolly, 34 

Barguitiiere, 1 

Bathori, Mme, J., 6 

Baudelaire, Ch., 19, 20, 71 

Baugnies, Mme., 5 

Bazin, 2 

Beethoven, 40, 42, 69, 79, 80, 81 

Eroica Symphony, 42 

Symphony No. 5, 42 

Symphony No. 7, 46 

Quartet No. 14, 83 

Quartet No. 15, 62, 84 

Quartet No. 16, 84 

Benoit, C, 51 
Bergeret. 72 
Berlioz, 18, 30, 62, 80 

VEnfance du Christ, 39 

Berthet. R, 8 

Beziers, 9, 10, 50, 51, 52, 54, 55 

Bizet, 68, 69 

V Arlesienne, 68 

Carmen, 68 

Bordes, Ch., 29 
Bossuet, 28 

Boulanger, Nadia, 8, 27, 29, 61 
Boulay, Mile, J., 7, 8 
Bourgault-Ducoudray, 62, 64 
Brahms, 17, 79 
Breitkopf & HSrtel, 4 
Breval, Lucienne, 60 
Bnmeau, A., 1, 4 

Messtdor, 1 

Bussine, R., 19 

Campagna, Mile., 8 
Carraud, Gaston, 86 
Castelbon de Beauxhostes, M., 9 
CastiUon, Alexis de, 20 
Cellier, U 3 
Oiabrier, 6, 33, 34, 64 

La Bourre e fantasqtie, 84 

Briseis, 81 

le Rot malgre M, 65 


Champs-Elysees Theatre, 11 
Chopin, 31, 33, 36, 37, 38, 71, 80 

- Preludes, 36 
Choudens, P. de, 19 
Clemenceau, G., 49 
Clignancourt, 3 
CoUin, P., 27 
Cologne, 3 
Colonne, 30 

Conservatoire de Paris, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 

10, 11, 12, 13, 24, 35, 73 
Cools, E., 8, 

Cortot, A., 32, 33, 36, 38, 46 
Croiza, Mme., 6, 60 

Dallier, M., 15 

Debussy, Claude, 5, 6, 11, 12,. 17, 22, 

23, 47, 49, 64, 70, 73, 79, 81, 83, 


- Chansons de Bilitis, Les, 56 

- Children s Corner, 34 

- Colloque Sentimental) Le, 22 

- Ulslejoyeux, 32 

- Nocturnes, 49 

- Petteas, 25, 27, 47, 60, 65, 70, 85 

- Preludes, 32 

- Print emps, 61 
Debussy, Mme., 5 
Defosse, 8 
Degas, 12 

Dettelbach, Mme., 5 
Dietsch, L., 2 

D Indy, Vincent, 13, 62, 64, 70 
Diibois, Th., 3, 7, 9, 10 
Dujardm-Beaumetz, 12 
Dukas, Paul, 7, 11,47,70 

- Ariane et barbebleue, 60 
Dumas, Alexander, 6, 48 
Dumas, Mme., 5 

Duparc, Henri, 6, 17, 19, 64 

- U Invitation au voyage, 19, 62, 82 
Durand, 12, 38 

ficole Niedermeyer, see Niedermeyer 

Emmanuel, M., 62 

Enesco, G., 7, 8 

Enoch, 12 

Escalier, Mme. H., 5 

Estienne, H., 8 

Euripedes, 52, 83 

Eustace, M., 70 

Exposition universelle, 4, 6 

Fauchois, R., 49, 56 
Faure, Gabriel Works : 

A Clymene, 22, 35 

Absent, L\ 19 

Accompagnement, 24, 38 

Allegro symphonique, 27, 30, 31 

Andante, for violin, 46 

Apres un reve, 19, 20, 41, 81 

Arpege, 5, 6, 18, 24, 76 

Au Bord de Veau, 19, 65 

Au Cimetiere, 6, 21, 62, 77, 78 

Aubade, 19, 21, 74 

^wm/-e, r, 19, 21, 36, 37, 74 

Automne, 4, 20 

Avant que tu ne fen allies, 23 

ylve Maria, 29 

Ballade, 4, 30, 31, 32 

Barcarolle (song), 6, 19, 20, 71, 77 

Barcarolles (piano solo), 6, 32, 33, 

36, 37-38 

Berceaux, Les, 20, 43 
Berceuse, 5, 46 

Bonne Chanson, La, 5, 12, 17, 18, 22, 
23, 24, 25, 27, 29, 31, 33, 35, 36, 

37, 38, 39, 42, 43, 44, 47, 53, 58, 
64, 65, 69, 74, 80 

Caligula, 6, 7, 10, 26, 30, 37, 48, 50, 


Cantique de Racine, Le, 3, 18, 26 
Vest Vextase, 22, 35, 37, 69, 73 
Chanson, 24 
Chanson d amour, 20 
Chanson d ve, La, 11, 12, 13, 17, 

22, 24-25, 36, 38, 55, 74, 76, 77 
Chanson dupecheur, 18 
Chant d* Automne, Le, 17, 18, 19, 20, 

Clair de lime, 5, 6, 17, 21, 24, 31, 49, 

63, 71, 74 
Crepuscule, 25, 38 
Dans la nymphle, 18, 25, 73 
Danseuse, 25, 74, 76, 77 
Djinns, Les, 7, 26, 27, 31, 70 
Dolly, 6, 32, 34, 37, 46, 68, 73 
Don silencieux, Le, 24, 70 
Done, ce sera par un dair jour, 23 
legie, 15, 44, 46, 74, 78 
En Priere,, 12, 17, 21 
En sourdine, 22, 35 
Fantaisie, for Flute and Piano, 46 
Fantaisie, for Piano and Orchestra, 1 1, 

30, 31-32, 35, 68 

Fee aux Chansons, La, 20, 24, 65 
Fileuse, La, 46, 49, 73 
Flew jete*e, 21, 70, 75 
Fleur qui va sur Veau, La, 24 
Foret de Septembre, La, 9, 10, 17, 24, 

38, 42, 44, 70, 74 
Green, 23 

Hiver a cessg, L\ 23, 44 

Horizon chimeriqjue, L\ 15, 26, 45, 74 

Hymne, 19, 20 

Hymne a Appolton y 23 

Ici-bas, 20 

Impromptu, for Harp, 33, 46 

Impromptus (Piano solo), 32, 33 

Inscription sur le sable* 19, 25, 62, 


Fai presque peur> 23 
T aliens par des chemins p&rfides* 23 
Jardm clos, Le, 11, 12, 19, 25, 38, 55, 

62, 73, 77 

Je me paserai sur ton coeur, 25, 38, 77 
Lamento, Le y 17, 18," 77, 85 
Larmes, 6, 21 

Low Mass, 29 

Lime blanche, La, 23 

Lydia, 10, 17, 18, 19, 20, 24, 29 

Madrigal, 1, 22, 48, 49, 65 

Madrigal a 4 voix, 26 

Mai, 18 

Mandoline, 22, 24, 46, 65, 76 

Maria, Mater gratias, 28 

Masques et bergamasques, 30, 49 

Matelots, Les, 17, 18 

Mazurka, 32, 33 

Melodes " de Yenisei 6, 22, 42 

Mirages, 11, 12,25,74 

Naissance de Vtnus, La, 27, 30, 70 

Nell, 4, 17, 20, 24, 36, 65, 68, 74 

N*Est ce past, 23, 36 

Nocturne (song), 6, 21, 48 

Nocturnes (Piano solo), 6, 32, 33, 35, 

36-40, 76, 77 
1st Nocturne, 68 
6th Nocturne, 6, 22, 35, 77 
1th Nocturne, 10, 34, 35, 36, 38, 75 
9th Nocturne, 36, 38 
13th Nocturne, 78 e amour, 18, 20 
O Mort, poussiere d^toiles, 25, 78, 81 
O Salutaris, 28 
Papillons (Cello), 46 
Papillon et lafleur, La, 3, 18 
Parfum imperissable, Le, 7, 9, 17, 18, 

22, 24, 27, 68, 71, 73, 75 
Pavane, 26, 49 

Pays des rves, Le, 20, 21, 63 
Petteas et Metisande, 9, 15, 30, 46, 

49, 69, 70, 71, 73, 84 
Penelope, 4, 9, 11, 12, 13, 27, 30, 32, 

36, 37, 43, 44, 47, 48, 49, 51, 55-60, 

68, 70, 74, 75, 76, 77, 80, 84 
1st Piano Quartet, 5, 6, 41-42, 46, 68 
2nd Piano Quartet, 6, 21, 37, 41-42 
1st Piano Quintet, U, 35, 39, 42-43, 

45, 68, 76 
2nd Piano Quintet, 13, 14, 24, 29, 33, 

35, 43, 44-45, 68, 70, 74, 76, 78, 79, 


Piano Trio, 13, 14, 45, 78 
Pieces breves, 32, 34-35 
Pleurs d or, 6, 22, 26 
Plus doux chemin, Le, 24 
Poeme d unjour, 12, 20, 70 
Preludes, 32, 35-36, 40 
Prelude, D min., 36, 46, 74,|75 
Prelude, F maj,, 65 
Prelude, No. 1, 37 
Presents, Les, 6, 21 
Prison, 22, 24, 65, 74 
PromtMe, 9-10, 23, 24, 27, 29, 30, 

31, 34, 36, 39, 43, 47, 50-55, 56, 

65, 69, 70, 71, 74, 75, 76, 77, 82, 


Puisqtfici bos, 26 
Puisque Vaube grandit, 23, 69 
Quadrille te tratogique, 73, 74 
Rarrder,Le, 24 
Rancon, La, 20 


Requiem, 6, 7, 15, 28, 30, 35, 36, 37, 

40, 46, 62, 64, 65, 68, 74, 78 
Reve d* amour, 17, 19, 70 
Romance (Cello), 46 
Romance (Violin and Orchestra), 46 
Romances sans paroles, 32, 33, 36 
Rose, La, 10, 17, 22, 24, 27, 30, 65, 77 
Roses d Ispahan, Les, 21, 24, 43, 62, 


Ruines d^une Abbaye, Les, \ 8 
Ruisseau, Le> 7, 26, 33, 65 
Salve Regina, 29 
Secret, Le, 20, 43, 63 
Serenade, 22, 48, 63 
Serenade (Cello), 46 
Serenade Toscane, La, 17, 18, 19, 71, 


Seule, 18, 29 
Shylock, 6, 7, 15, 22, 30, 37, 46, 48, 

49, 71 

Sicilienne (Cello and Orchestra), 46 
Soir, 6, 22, 24, 26, 37, 51, 64 
Spleen, 6, 17, 21, 22, 74, 78 
String Quartet, 13, 14, 15, 39, 45, 74 
Suite (Orchestra), 6, 30, 31 
Syhie, 17, 19 

Symphony, D min., 6, 30, 43 
Tantum ergo, 29 
Tarentelle, 19, 26 
Theme et variations, 9, 10, 32, 34, 37 


Tristesse, 17, 19 
Tu est Petrus, 29 

Une sainte en son aureole, 23, 65, 69 
Valses-Caprices, 32, 33, 34, 37, 73 
Violin Concerto, 6, 30 
1st Violin Sonata, 4, 5, 41, 43, 81 
2nd Violin Sonata, 11, 13, 23, 35, 36, 

42, 43-44, 45, 49, 51, 55 
Violoncello Sonatas, 29, 44 
Violoncello Sonatas, No. 1, 11 
Violoncello Sonatas, No. 2, 14 
Voile du bonheur, le, 49 
Voyageur, Le, 20 

^, 1 

Faure, Mme., 5 
Faur-Fremiet, M., 71 
Fetes du Peuple, 84 
F6tes galantes, 22 
Fevrier H., 8 
Figaro, Le, 9, 71 
Foix, 1 
Franck, Cesar, 2, 5, 6, 12, 30, 46, 64, 83 

- Les Beatitudes, 30 
- - Violin Sonata, 41 
Francois 1st, 13 
Franco-Prussian War, 3 
Fremiet, M., 5 

- Mile. Marie, 5 
Frescobaldi, 71 
Freud, S., 72 

Gaillac-Toulza, 1 
Gautier, Th., 18 
Gedalge, A.,8, 11 


Gigout, E., 2 

Gounod, 18, 29, 34, 62, 64, 71 
72, 80, 83, 85 

Faust, 18, 47, 72, 83, 85 

Venise, 18, 83 

Greek influence, 10, 55, 76 
Gregorian Modes, 2, 23, 62, 80 
Grieg, 51 
Griset, J. 7 
Grovlez, G., 8 
Guiraud, 11 

Hahn, R., 36, 73 
Halevy, 2 

Hamelle, 4, 20, 22, 38 
Handel, 40 
Haraucourt, E., 6, 48 
Haydn, 40, 42 
Herold, A-F., 50 

Le Prg-aux-Clercs, 62 

Herold, L. 
Herscher, Mme., 8 
Hettich, M., 27 
Heugel, 12, 24, 38 
Hindemith, P., 79 
Horace, 19 

Hugo, Victor, 19, 24, 26, 70 
Hippodrome (Paris), 50 
Iliad, The, 55 

Imbert, H.,1, 51 
Institute, L% 5, 7, 12, 61 
Italy, 18, 21 

Jazz, 25 

Klingsor, 71 

Koechlin, Ch., 8 

tude sur Vharmonie moderne, 63 

Ladmirault, P., 8 
Laleine-Laprade, 1 
Lalo, 5, 64 
Lalo, Noemi, 39 
Laloy, L., 34 
Lamoureux, 30 
Laparra, R., 7, 8 
Lassus, Orlando di, 64 
Laval, Jeanne, 15 
Le Boucher, 8, 15 
Leconte de Lisle, 19, 24 
Leduc, 27 
Leit-motif, 58 
Lenepyeu, 8, 68 
Lepine, Mile. Fanny, 6 
Liszt, 1, 70 

Faust Symphony, 70 

London, 9, 49 
Lorrain, J., 50 
Lyre Bitteroise, 9, 10 

Madeleine, Tne, 2, 3, 6, 9, 15 

Maeterlinck, 9 

Maillot, M. et Mme., 14 

Matherbe, E., 8 

Masse, Victor, 2 

Massenet, 2, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 64, 71 

Manon, 7, 64 

Masson, L., 8 
Maurice, P., 7, 8 
Maurin, 4 
Mazellier, 8 
Mendelssohn, 33, 36, 71 

Midsummer Nighfs Dream, 31 

Messager, A., 3, 73 
Meunier, 8 
Meyerbeer, 2 
Midi, Le, 10, 13,21 
Millerand, A., 13, 14 
Miolan-Carvalho, Mme., 3 
Monnier, Marc, 19, 26, 37 
Montgauzy, 1 
Monte Carlo, 1 1 
Montpellier, 9, 10 
Morpain, J., 8 

Mozart, 40, 41, 42, 49, 65, 68, 69, 73, 
79, 81 

Cost fan tutte, 49 

Fugue, for String Quartet, 64 

Figaro, 47 

Jupiter Symphony, 42 

Munich, 3 
Muratore, M., 60 
Mussorgsky, Boris Godounov, 47 
Manage, 81 

Narbonne, 10 

Nice, 13 

Niedermeyer, 1, 2, 3, 62, 82, 83 

Le Lac, 1 

Odeon, Le, 6, 7 
Opera, L (Paris), 50 
Opera-Comique, L , 60 

Paladilhe, 12 

Palestrina, 64 

Pamiers, 1 

Panzera, Ch., 15 

Pasdeloup, 30 

Passy, 15 

Plainsong, 21, 80 

Polignac, Princesse de, 6 

Pomey, L., 19 

Poueigh, J., 51 

Poulenc, F., 44 

Prince of Wales Theatre (London), 9 

Prix de Rome, Le, 5, 9, 47 

Prokofiev, S., 79 

Puccini, G., 71 

Madame Butterfly, 60 

Rabaud, M., 11,34,70 
Rameau^47, 64 
Raunay, Mme., J,, 6 
Ravel, Maurice, 8, 11, 81, 83 

Gaspard de nuit, 32 

LHewe espagnol, 85 

Pavane, 61 

Reber, 63, 65 
Regnier, H. de, 24 
Reinach, M., 23 
Remacle, Jeanne, 5, 23 
Renan, 29 
Rennes, 3 

Revue Hlustrde, La, 51 

Revue musicale, La, 2, 3, 10, 18, 27, 29, 

32, 40, 61 
Reyer, 12 

Rochegrosse, M., 56 
Rodin, 12 
Roger, Therese, 5 
Roger-Ducasse, 8, 15, 44 
Roujon, Mme., 12 
Rousseliere, 51 
Rousseau, J-J. S 14 
Rubens, 81 

Saint-Augustin, 2 
Saint-Honore d Eylau, 3 
Saint-Gervais, 29 
Saint-Marceau, Mme,, 5 
Saint-Saens, C, 2, 3, 4, 7, 9, 18, 20, 31, 
32, 33, 62, 64, 66, 71, 76, 79, 82 

Ascanio, 83 

Melodies persanes, 35 

Rouet d Omphale, 49 

Samson and Delilah, 3, 4 

Henry VHIth, 82 

Saint-Sulpice, 3 

Samain, A., 6, 22, 26 

San Francisco (Berkeley University), 55 

Sanderson, Mile. Germaine, 6 

Sargent, 71 

Satie, Erik, 83 

Sarabandes, 70 

Schirmer, 12, 42 
Schola Cantorum, 12, 13, 83 
Schonberg, A., 75 
Schubert, 17 

Margaret at the Spinning-Wheel, 1 1 

The Er I King, 11 

Schumann, 2, 17, 33, 34, 41 
Schmitt, Florent, 7, 8, 30 
Sere, O., 51 
Shakespeare, 6 
Silvestre, A., 20, 24, 26 
Societe Musicale 

Independante (S.M.I.X 12, 13, 15 
Societe Nationale, 5, 6, 7, 12, 13, 30 
Sorbonne, The, 13, 25, 26 
Strauss, R., 79 

Salome, 48 

Stravinsky, I., 75, 79, 83, 84 

Histoire du soldat, 76 

Pulcinella, 79 

Le Sacre de Printemps, 11 

Sully-Prudhomme, 19 

Thomas, Ambroise, 5, 7, 80 

Mignon, 5 

Tosti, Paolo, 71 
Toussaint, Fr., 71 
Tremisot, E., 8 
Tritone, The, 18, 37, 85 
Tschaikowsky, Pathetic Symphony, 79 
Turgeneff, 4 

Valery, Paul, 26 
Van Lerberghe, 25, 77 
Venice, 6, 19, 71 


Verlaine, Paul, 6, 19, 22, 23, 26, 33, 49, Wagner, 2, 30, 31, 52, 58, 70, 72, 7,3 

51,58,73,85 74,80,83 

Verniolles, 1 Mastersingers, 84 

Viardot Family, 4 Tfte Ring, 3, 52 

Viardot, Claudie, 26 Rhinegold ,3 

Viardot, Marianne, 4, 26 Tristan^ 47, 58, 64 

Viardot, Pauline, 4 Twilight of the Gods, 55 

Vigny, Alfred de, 31 Valkvrie 3 

ViHe de la Mirmont, H. de la, 26 wntfeai 22 

Villiers de 1 Isle-Adam, 21, 48 w^r *A 

Vinci, Leonardo da, 13, 72, 81 wT r h tf ^ 

VuiUermoz, Emil, 8, 9, 14, 40, 51, 61, Widor, Ch. M., 3