FAURÉ Gabriel, String Quartet

Allegro moderato 

Fauré’s String Quartet was his last composition, completed in 1924 shortly before his death. It was also his first chamber work without piano. For the first movement he drew on ideas composed 45 years earlier for his Violin Concerto, but now reworked in a much more compact and tightly organised sonata form structure. The Andante was written first, in September 1923 at Annecy. The opening Allegro moderato was completed in Paris and the third movement (combining elements of scherzo and finale) was finished in 1924, back in Annecy. The result is a work of great expressive power, with, as the British musicologist Robert Orledge has noted, ‘the craftsmanship being so consummate that we need to listen hard even to notice the joins or the thematic counterpoint that gives the Quartet its virile strength.’ On 12 September 1924, Fauré wrote to his wife from Annecy announcing that ‘yesterday evening I finished the finale. So that’s the quartet finished’. A month later, weakened by a bout of pneumonia, Fauré returned to Paris where he died peacefully early in the morning of 4 November. Two days later, the composer Albert Roussel wrote a moving tribute in the magazine Comoedia: Fauré ‘occupied a place apart in the history of music and, without noise or fuss or meaningless gesture, he pointed the way towards marvellous horizons overflowing with freshness and light.’ 


© Nigel Simeone, 2024 


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