FAURÉ Gabriel, Élégie Op.24

Originally written as the slow movement of a planned cello sonata, the Élégie was first performed privately at the home of Fauré’s teacher and friend Saint-Saëns in June 1880. After abandoning the sonata (Fauré’s two cello sonatas – both magnificent works – came much later in his career), he decided to publish the Élégie as a stand-alone movement in 1883. It was dedicated to Jules Loeb who gave the first public performance, with Fauré at the piano, in a concert of the Société nationale de musique on 15 December 1883. The outer sections have a quiet solemnity which is underlined by the repeated piano chords heard at the start, over which the cello plays a melody seemingly laden with grief. The central section sees a move to a major key, and the arrival of a glorious lyrical theme – first on the piano, then the cello – which works up to a dramatic climax before a return to the sombre mood of the opening.  


© Nigel Simeone


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