Pénélope - Gabriel Faure

Gabriel Urbain Faure was born on 12 May 1845, Pamiers, Ariège, Midi-Pyrénées–France. He was the youngest child of six. He showed an early interest in music, improvising freely at the piano, though at first his parents didn’t especially his musical development. It took a schools teacher’s comments about Gabriel’s talent to convince the Faures that they should send the nine-year-old prodigy to the new Niedermeyer School of religious music in Paris.

Since the French Revolution, church music in France has been marginalized and trivialized. The aim of Niedermeyer School was to reverse this trend by training new organists and choirmasters in a strict traditional manner. Faure stayed at this schools for 11 years, he learned the subject of harmony, counterpoint and solfege. However, his focus was piano and organ performance. He never received good grades at the organ, but young Faure proved to be an exceptional pianist.

Faure’s early compositions hint at his developing originality but were written in the strict classical style he had learned. However, Faure always wanted to try something new and different. He never followed the fad of his day, instead choosing follow his heart. Despite his popularity with the ladies, Faure was especially in love with one particular woman: Marianne Virdot. In 18877 Faure asked her to marry him. For months, Marianne was unable to make up her mind regarding marriage. When both Gabriel and Marianne became ill, they separated, Faure going to the Pyrenees and Marianne to the Normandy Coast.

In 1986 Faure was appointe4d professor of composition at the Paris Conservatoire and became director in 1905, holding that position until 1920. Faure’s most famous students are Maurice Rave and Nadia Boulanger, who was the 20th century’s most influential teacher of composition. In addition, Faure was a music critic for the periodical Le Figaro from 1903 to 1921.In 1902, at the age of 57; Faure began to notice problems with his hearing. Faure’s declining hearing and health made it nearly impossible for him to perform his job at the Conservatoire properly. During his last few years of illness, he composed his last two works, the Piano Trio in D minor, Opus 120, and the String Quartet in E minor, Opus 121.

Faure passes away quietly November 4, 1924, from pneumonia at the age of 79. He was given a state funeral at the Madeleine, and his Requiem was played. Faure is remembering as a virtuoso pianist who excelled in performing the music of Mozart. His best compositions exhibit French characteristics of his conservative music style.

Penelope was one of his most prodigious compositions of Faure, this composition make one to feel many feeling at the same time. Penelope is a opera that consist of three acts, most current composers still perform this beautiful composition on the opera seasons around France. It’d good be a good idea to learn more about France by listening to this wonderful song.

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