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Gabriel Faure Biography

Gabriel Faure

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Born: 1845. Died: 1924. Lived in: France

Born in Pamiers, Ariege, Midi-Pyrenees, he studied at the Niedermeyer school of religious music in Paris with several of the greats including Camille Saint-Saens. He eventually became organist at Eglise de la Madeleine.

He became a prolific composer, and among the most noteworthy of his works are his Requiem, an opera; Penelope, an orchestral suite Masques et Bergamasques (based on music for a dramatic entertainment, or divertissement comique), and music for Pelleas et Melisande. He also wrote chamber music and his two piano quartets are particularly well known. Other chamber music includes two piano quintets, two cello sonatas, two violin sonatas, and a number of piano pieces. He is also known for his songs, such as Clair de lune, Apres un reve, Les roses d'Ispahan, En priere, and several song cycles, including La Bonne Chanson with settings of poems by Verlaine.

The Requiem, Op 48, was started after the death of his father, but before it was completed, his mother passed away as well. The Requiem thus is an expression of Faure's personal tragedy written after the death of his parents, though Faure is thought not to have had strong religious beliefs, or at least not obviously Catholic ones. In setting the requiem he played down the Dies Irae section, though there is a rather short outburst to this text. Several slightly different versions of the Requiem exist, and these have given rise to a number of different recordings. The Requiem is also acknowledged as a source of inspiration for the similar setting by Maurice Durufle.

His position as head of the Paris Conservatoire meant he was regarded as being among the foremost musical educators of his time.

Gabriel Faure died in Paris from pneumonia. He was given a state funeral at Eglise de la Madeleine and is buried in the Cimetiere de Passy, Paris, France.