Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center's Composer Showcase: Gabriel Fauré
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The last date listed for Composer Showcase: Gabriel Fauré was Tuesday November 13, 2007 / 7:30pm.
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Fauré: Violin Sonata No. 1 in A major, Op. 13
Fauré: Six Songs on Texts of Victor Hugo
Fauré: Piano Quartet No. 2 in G minor, Op. 45
Although it was Gabriel Fauré’s lovely Requiem (1887) that initially brought him widespread attention, nearly all of his greatest achievements are in more intimate forms, especially his songs and chamber music. This all-Fauré program includes both: a set of elegant melodies, a popular early violin sonata, and a late piano quartet.
The Violin Sonata No. 1 is the composition in which Fauré’s talent was first fully revealed. It was premiered in 1877 by Marie Tayau with the composer at the keyboard, and met with enthusiastic acclaim. It was immediately taken in to the violin repertory, and it remains one of Fauré’s most highly regarded compositions. The work will be performed by guest artist violinist Elmar Oliviera, the only American to win the Gold Medal at Moscow’s Tchaikovsky International Competition, and the first violinist to receive the Avery Fisher Prize, in addition to other awards and honors. Oliviera will be joined by pianist and CMS Two Artist Inon Barnatan.
Six Songs on Texts by Victor Hugo include Fauré’s first published song, Le papillon et la fleur (1861). It sets a playful verse from Hugo’s Chants de crepuscule. Mai (1862) is an evocation of spring. S’il est un charmant gazon (1864) is Hugo’s tribute to his mistress Juliette Droute, and was popular fodder for composers, having been set over the years by Fauré, Liszt, Franck, Massenet, and Saint-Saëns. L’aurore s’allume is Hugo’s evocation of the expectancy of sunrise. Fauré’s song was unknown until its discovery in 1958. Dans les ruines d’une abbaye describes the ardor of young newlyweds dallying upon what was once consecrated ground. L’absent is one of Fauré’s most somber and dramatic songs, its text drawn from Hugo’s Les Châtiments, a volume expressing his outrage over the authoritarian government of Emperor Napoleon III. The songs will be performed by guest artist tenor Paul Groves, winner of the prestigious 1995 Richard Tucker Foundation Award. He will be joined by guest artist Pedja Muzijevic, an award-winning pianist who has been praised for his refined and virtuosic playing, as well as his adventurous programming.
The first movement of the Piano Quartet No. 2 in G minor (1885-1886) begins with a sweeping unison string theme of almost symphonic breadth. It is followed by a Scherzo possessed of a kind of demonic force that is rare in Fauré’s writing, and an Adagio with a twilight mood and meditative serenity that, the composer said, recalled the evening bells he heard as a child in southwest France. The work closes with a thematically rich Finale that resumes the impassioned energy of the opening movement. It will be performed by Artist of the Society pianist André-Michel Schub, guest violinist Elmar Oliveira, former CMS Two artist violist Richard O’Neill, and guest cellist Andrés Díaz.