Gabriel Fauré

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I always enjoy seeing sunlight play on the rocks, the water, the trees and plains. What variety of effects, what brilliance and what softness... I wish my music could show as much diversity.

as quoted in
At the
Gabriel Fauré

Marguerite Long

Gabriel Urbain Fauré (12 May 1845 – 4 November 1924) was a French Romantic composer, organist, pianist and teacher. He was one of the foremost French composers of his generation, and his musical style influenced many 20th-century composers.


  • It has been said that my Requiem does not express the fear of death and someone has called it a lullaby of death. But it is thus that I see death: as a happy deliverance, an aspiration towards happiness above, rather than as a painful experience. The music of Gounod has been criticized for its over-inclination towards human tenderness. But his nature predisposed him to feel this way: religious emotion took this form inside him. Is it not necessary to accept the artist’s nature? As to my Requiem, perhaps I have also instinctively sought to escape from what is thought right and proper, after all the years of accompanying burial services on the organ! I know it all by heart. I wanted to write something different.
    • Interviewed by Louis Aguettant on July 12, 1902; excerpt published in Comoedia (March 3, 1954); English translation published in Gabriel Fauré (1979) by Robert Orledge; reproduced in "A Hundred Voices Singing Requiem" by Barbara Snyder, at (October 9, 2009)
  • Now, there are some periods of music, some pitches of which I can hear nothing... of my music as well as of others. I feel that there is on my shoulders nothing more than a terrible cloak of misery and discouragement.
    • Private letter, dated August 1903, discussing Fauré's encroaching deafness; as quoted in At the Piano with Gabriel Fauré (1963) by Marguerite Long, p. 26
  • It was not just in the Andante of the Second Quartet that I remembered having translated (almost involuntarily) the distant memory of bells which in the evening at Montgauzy — and this is some time ago — came to us from a village called Cadillac when the wind blew from the west. From this dull sound a vague dreaminess arose, which, like all vague dreams, is literally untranslatable. Only, does it not happen often that some exterior fact numbs us so that our thoughts become so imprecise that in reality they are not thoughts, and yet are nevertheless something in which we can take pleasure? The desire for things which do not exist perhaps, and this is indeed where music holds sway.
    • Discussing Piano Quartet No. 2, in correspondence with Jacques Thibaud, 2006; as quoted in At the Piano with Gabriel Fauré (1963) by Marguerite Long, p. 107
  • Gabriel Fauré, repeating a thought he had often expressed to me, wrote in a letter on the 2nd August 1910: "In piano music one cannot use padding; one must pay in cash so that it is interesting all the time. It is perhaps the most difficult genre if you want to be as satisfying as possible," and he added modestly, "and I do my best." Then, as if in reply to some unjust reproach, "Only it cannot be done any faster."
    • As quoted in At the Piano with Gabriel Fauré (1963) by Marguerite Long, p. 75
  • But Lortat, I'm not in the habit of attracting crowds.
    • Consoling a disappointed Robert Lortat in June 1914 after the pianist had given a sparsely attended recital of Fauré's work, as quoted in Gabriel Fauré: A Musical Life (2005) by Jean-Michel Nectoux and Roger Nichols, pp. 388-389
  • As to the piece I have started, it will only be the fiftieth or more of my piano pieces that, with rare exceptions, pianists allow to pile up without playing, That has been their lot for twenty years."
    • Private letter, summer 1913, regarding the Tenth Barcarolle; as quoted in At the Piano with Gabriel Fauré (1963) by Marguerite Long, p. 78
  • As for my work, I can say that it reaches its end. [...] I do not want my Quartet to be published and played before it has been tried out in front of my friends, who have always been the first to hear my works: Dukas, Poujaud, Lalo, de Lallemand. I trust their judgment and it is to them that I leave the decision of whether this Quartet should be published or destroyed.
    • Private letter—circa September 1924—regarding his just completed string quartet; as quoted in At the Piano with Gabriel Fauré (1963) by Marguerite Long, p. 109
  • When I am no more, you will hear said of my work: "After all, it is only so much..." You will detach yourself from it, perhaps ... All that has no importance. I have done what I could ... and so, judge, my God.
    • Last words spoken by Fauré (November 3, 1924), as quoted in At the Piano with Gabriel Fauré (1963) by Marguerite Long, p. 28
  • To know an art really well, one must know everything about it, both its origins and its development.
    • As quoted in At the Piano with Gabriel Fauré (1963) by Marguerite Long, p. 25
  • How many times have I asked myself what use music is? And what am I translating? What feelings? What ideas? How can I express something I do not understand myself?                                                   
    • Private letter, as quoted in At the Piano with Gabriel Fauré (1963) by Marguerite Long, p. 25
  • He denied the presence of inspiration: "Without work, which is art, there is nothing," he said. "Say only that which is of value, or stay silent" was the credo of his entire existence.
    • As paraphrased and quoted in At the Piano with Gabriel Fauré (1963) by Marguerite Long, p. 27
  • And I always enjoy seeing sunlight play on the rocks, the water, the trees and plains. What variety of effects, what brilliance and what softness... I wish my music could show as much diversity.
    • Private letter, as quoted in At the Piano with Gabriel Fauré (1963) by Marguerite Long, p. 67
  • Imagining is trying to formulate all one would wish to be better, all that surpasses reality.
    • As quoted in At the Piano with Gabriel Fauré (1963) by Marguerite Long, p. 79
  • For me art and music especially consists of raising ourselves as high as possible above that which is.
    • As quoted in At the Piano with Gabriel Fauré (1963) by Marguerite Long, p. 110

Quotes about Fauré[edit]

  • Music by Fauré is not very familiar to American audiences. He is best known here by his songs and by the incidental music which he wrote for Maeterlinck's "Pelléas et Mélisande"—music, by the way, which is far from showing him at his best. This quintet is in another case. [...] Fauré is reckoned, somewhat mistakenly, among those younger French music-makers who are conveniently summed up as "advanced." Actually, he is in his music infinitely less radical, less adventurous, in his methods of musical expression than are those younger men with whom he has been indiscriminately grouped. Yet in this new quintet there is much that is genuinely, and in the best sense, "modern" In its method of utterance: there are harmonic effects that are delicious in their subtlety and their iridescent hue; there are melodic ideas which captivate the imagination by their freedom and their delicacy of contour. More noteworthy, however, than the surface quality of this music that is unfailingly serene and noble, and that has moments of deep and exquisite beauty. In the second movement, particularly, there are pages where one is reminded that there is such a thing as "inspiration" even—shall one extravagantly say?—in contemporary music.
  • Here is another composer of whom France has a right to be proud. Gabriel Fauré (1845), of whom it has been said that he is the French Schumann. His talent is above all manifested in what might be called intimate music, symphonic in spirit, in his songs. It is entirely unlike stage music, and a frame seems to envelop one who experiences from the music the charm of a journey taken in a dream. He chose his special direction from instinct. Listen to his disturbed songs, the first movement, so vehement, of his sonata for piano and violin, the Andante of the first quartet, for piano and strings, which has a most poignant melancholy; the vigorous first movement and the poetic Andante of the tenth [sic] quartet, many parts of his Symphony in D, certain pages of his music for the dramas of "Caligula" of Alexander Dumas, pere, and of the "Merchant of Venice" of Shakespeare; the beautiful Elegy for piano and 'cello, the gracious and feline Berceuse for piano and violin, and, above all, the admirable Requiem, which might be admired even in connection with that of Johannes Brahms, and you will arrive at the conclusion that Gabriel Fauré merits special mention among the French musicians who have cultivated mainly symphony, and that his note is absolutely personal.
  • Fauré sets to French musicians a matchless example of sincerity and genuineness. Neither following fashion nor listening to would-be advisers, he proceeded untrammelled in his quest for beauty. He remained simple, combining impassioned imagination and lucidity of mind. When one listens to his music one always feels secure that an apex is reached, that here is perfection. In the beautiful proportions of his music, a great lesson is embodied—a lesson that has never been more needful than now, when the younger French school is so deeply thrilled by the innovations of Schönberg, Stravinsky, and Bartók. The main features of French art at its best are continuity and perspicuity.
  • The harmony called modern, considered as a means of technique, does not suffice to constitute a modern music. Such compositions, where are to be found gathered together all the new devices, often give only a negative impression. On the other hand, some works based on harmonies relatively simple can invoke an intensely modern atmosphere. There are to be found many examples in the music of M. Gabriel Fauré, who, by the peculiar and charming turn he gives to some harmonic combinations, which are relatively little complicated, is one of the most modern composers of our epoch. The precursor of the movement of today, with which he still remains associated by his productions, his position in the history of French music will be important. [...] It is thus, as we have said in the preface, that M. Gabriel fauré occupies an exceptional place by the turn, full of elegance and of modernism, which he knows how to give to successions of relatively simple chords.
  • In spite of the torment caused by his hearing, his head was full of music and his inspiration seemed unaffected by his worries. He was the creator of a world of sound whose elements he drew from within his own being, and his work, affected by the inroads of age, became more spiritual. His greatest regret was that he did not have enough time to compose, he met with obstacle after obstacle, his every composition was the product of lengthy deliberation, which required an immense effort from him ("It is like a sticking door that I have to open," he told us), and yet this was the man who left us a body of work whose importance and quality make it one of the summits of human thought.
  • When in 1882, Fauré met Lizst again in Zürich, he submitted to him the manuscript of the Ballade which he had just written. "I was rather afraid that it might be too long, " Fauré told me, "and I said this to Liszt, who gave me the marvelous reply: 'Too long, young man, has no meaning. One writes as one thinks.'" The composer of Mazeppa was certainly not the man to be surprised by lengthy developments.
    • Marguerite Long, in At the Piano with Gabriel Fauré, p. 33
  • I launched into Beethoven's Thirty-two Variations in C Minor, followed by Liszt's Polonaise in E. These were received with great enthusiasm. Since I was satisfied with my performance, I was about to grant the audience some degree of understanding when my host approached, smiling. After showering me with elaborate compliments, he conveyed a message from a young officer present who asked "would I be so kind as to play now one of the piano pieces of Gabriel Fauré". I was aghast, I knew Gabriel Fauré by name, just as I had heard of some of his works, but I had never played a note of them. To my great embarrassment, I had to admit my ignorance. Afterwords I learned that this "herald" of Fauré refused to be presented to me and kept repeating querulously: "I don't understand your enthusiasm for this girl. She plays the piano very well, but she's no musician if she can't play any Fauré." The future was to change his opinion and give me my revenge. Three years later I started playing Faure; and I married that young man.
    • Marguerite Long, recalling her first encounter—circa August 1902—with future husband Joseph de Marliave, in At the Piano with Gabriel Fauré, p. 2
  • When I arrived at Aix, I was delighted to see a poster announcing a concert of music by Fauré, to be performed under the direction of the composer. When we met he asked about my work and suggested that I play him the Schumann Concerto and his own Sixth Barcarolle which had been with me all the while. There was so much I could learn from such a teacher! Unlike Chopin and Debussy, who played their own music as no other mortal could hope to, Fauré was not a virtuoso, nor even a player of any great skill, but to hear him play taught me much of value.
    • Marguerite Long, in At the Piano with Gabriel Fauré (1963), p. 10
  • In 1903 virtually all of Fauré's piano works had been written, with the exception of some Nocturnes and Barcarolles, the Fantaisie for piano and orchestra — but they remained unheard. I plunged into them, the only difficulty, among so many masterpieces, being what to choose. I spent the rest of the summer with my sister, and, keeping to my rendez-vous, I went to Mareval to play the Franck Quintet with a group of amatuers formed by Comte de V ... That fanatical Fauré enthusiast, Joseph de Marliave, decided to be presented to me this time, and even turned the pages for me. There was a young lady there in search of a husband and already she had her eye on him. When the Quintet was finished, he asked her, without any ill intent, what she thought of the music. "It's nice," she replied, in a very knowing manner, and was disqualified at once. Some time later the young officer asked me to share his life. A long engagement followed, interspersed with many happy holidays when we played music together. A very pleasant path was opening in front of us — but for how long, alas? At the side of this enlightened admirer of this music "of fantasy and reason," as he described Fauré's work, I went forward with increased confidence in the mission which I had entrusted to myself.
    • Marguerite Long, in At the Piano with Gabriel Fauré, pp. 11-12
  • In 1905 Fauré was appointed to the post of Director of the Conservatoire National de Paris. His influence breathed a new, transforming spirit into the old institution, and his reforms were so radical that they earned him the nickname of Robespierre. "Monsieur," Théodore Dubois told him on leaving office, "do not forget that, as its name implies, the Conservatoire is intended to conserve tradition." But for Fauré, tradition had quite a different meaning. It was rooted in his knowledge of those great masters on which he himself had been reared, and not in the arbitrary study of a restrictive technique.
    • Marguerite Long, in At the Piano with Gabriel Fauré, pp. 24-25
  • In 1954 the Société des Concerts du Conservatoire asked me to play the Ballade under André Cluytens to commemorate the thirtieth anniversary of Fauré's death. The Théâtre des Champs-Élysées was packed, I was recalled again and again, and the audience was shouting enthusiastically for the Ballade to be encored. Knowing that I was not well, André Cluytens said to me: "Don't tire yourself out." "What? Forty-seven years ago, in this very society, I was told that the Ballade was obscure, today they're shouting for an encore and you think I'm not going to play it again?" And it went down even better the second time round.
    • Marguerite Long, in At the Piano with Gabriel Fauré (1963), p. 36
  • Albéniz was indeed a man of great feeling. He worshipped Gabriel Fauré, and I can say, in all fairness, that he died with his music in his heart. [...] I shall always remember our last visit to him. It was a Sunday, and that afternoon I had been playing at the Concerts Colonne. Albéniz was leaving the next day for Cambo, where he was to die shortly afterwards. Gabriel Fauré and Paul Dukas were at his side. So as not to lose a moment of the precious time left to us to spend with our friend, I was still wearing my concert dress, whose whiteness contrasted sharply with the infinite sadness pervading the room. Albéniz, who was thin as a skeleton, was lifted up, huddled in an enormous, rough dressing gown. He said to me: "Marguerite, play me Fauré's Second Valse-Caprice. Dukas is very fond of it, too." You can guess with how much feeling I sat down to the piano. The atmosphere was oppressive. In the middle of the piece, Albéniz, who was sitting beside me, flung himself on my shoulder and sobbed: "It's all over for me. I won't hear this divine music played any more."
    • Marguerite Long, in At the Piano with Gabriel Fauré (1963), p. 56
  • Gabriel Fauré had two maxims he was fond of and used to repeat "six times an hour": "Nuance is the thing," he would say, "not a change of movement." Or again: "The bass line is with us," and it is to Fauré that I have to thank my love of the bass line in music [sic]. How right he was. I have spent my life demonstrating the truth of this. The entire construction is built on the bass line and without it music collapses. Any musician worthy of the name has this respect for the bass line. It is the root of harmony, the fundamental support of the chord. It must always be laid down, without heaviness, of course, but with sufficient strength to balance the phrase it supports. It is the rallying point which assures stability of the formation of successive modulations. At one of the big concerts given at the Institut, Charles-Marie Widor, who was then Permanent Secretary, asked me to play some of Fauré's music. While I was playing, Widor had his eyes closed and I even thought that he was asleep. As the last note died away, he sat up and said: "Oh, what a lovely bass line." Some months later the great organist underwent an operation for cataracts. I wrote to him offering my wishes for a speedy recovery and as a postscript to his answer he added: "And that lovely bass line — I think of it yet."
    • Marguerite Long, in At the Piano with Gabriel Fauré (1963), p. 66
  • The unintelligibility of any interpretation always derives from being played "with the same colour." It is shading that gives variety. There is a great deal to be said on this subject, one of the most delicate questions posed by playing. Of course, one must respect the requirements indicated by the composer. Nevertheless, it often happened, with Fauré beside me, that I had to differ from what was written. This would be quite impossible with Claude Debussy or Maurice Ravel, who were orchestrators, a thing Gabriel Fauré was not. We knew that he was always assisted by his pupils for his orchestration of Pénélope. Fauré's phrasing was very long, his perorations endless (Debussy said: "He doesn't know how to finish"), and these required support from variety in shading. I tried to make his phrasing more striking, to enhance the value of a dynamic, to find inflections which were not accentuated, but which gave the right kind of sound to a modulation. After I had considered the effect for a long time beforehand, I would submit my proposals to the master for his approval.
    • Marguerite Long, in At the Piano with Gabriel Fauré (1963), pp. 66-67
  • He liked crescendo and diminuendo to be short and effective just like Toscanini, who obtained in this way the most striking effects of his staggering dynamism. Fauré had adopted the rule for shading that Hans von Bülow had laid down: when one reads "crescendo," it means leaving a more "piano" tone for a reinforcement of the sound; and when one reads "diminuendo," it indicates that one is playing as loudly as one can to allow the tone to be so softened.
    • Marguerite Long, in At the Piano with Gabriel Fauré (1963), p. 67
  • Nevertheless, the paradoxes in Fauré sometimes bewildered me. Despite his very great respect for tradition, he was much less intransigent when it came to his own compositions. He could even be disconcerting. During a rehearsal of one of his works, the conductor was not sure about a point in the score, so he asked Fauré, who replied apathetically: "Well, I don't really know." One day, arriving at my house unexpectedly, he found me at the piano, playing his Theme and Variations, which had just been given as a companion-piece at the Conservatoire, of which he was the Director. I said to him: "Will you let the ascending passage in the second-last variation be played in octaves?" "Oh, no," he said, "not in octaves. I forbid it. I detest that." Nonetheless, on the day of the competition he allowed it. Why? Because at heart he did not care. For him his work was like a bottle at sea. He had other points in common with Alfred de Vigny: a patrician turn of mind and the same indifference to the work once it had been completed.
    • Marguerite Long, in At the Piano with Gabriel Fauré (1963), pp. 70-71
  • Composed between 1893 and 1896, Dolly owes its title to the Christian name of the daughter of my friend Madame Bardac. This was the happy lot of this delightful woman for whom in 1892 Fauré had written La Bonne Chanson and who ten years later would be the noble companion of Claude Debussy. Dolly, who now is Madame de Tinan, was then a little blonde girl of charming behaviour and feminine precocity. The music which Fauré wrote for her is quite in her image. It is the only time that the composer used titles other than those of a musical genre. The album consists of six pieces: in the Berceuse one can perceive the musician's feelings in front of such childlike grace. Miau is not, as Emile Vuillermoz wrote, the name of the household cat that used to jump about mischievously, but the nickname that young Dolly gave to her brother Raoul Bardac, who was later himself a pupil of Fauré and Debussy. Le Jardin de Dolly is the garden in an enchanted dream, full of perfumed flowers, while Kitty-Valse illustrates the whirling leaps of a favourite dog. Tendresse makes clear its meaning in its delicate figurations. Finally, the Pas Espagnol is the transposition in music of the bronze equestrian statue of Frémiet, Fauré's father-in-law, which stood on a mantlepiece in Madame Bardac's house and which was much admired by young Dolly.
    • Marguerite Long, in At the Piano with Gabriel Fauré (1963), pp. 96-97
  • The sounds of the divine Requiem ring out in my memory. They accompanied Gabriel Fauré on the day of the final farewells at the Madeleine in November 1924. I cannot hear them without our past surging up. It has been said of the Requiem that it is not "Christian" because it lessens the horror of the Dies Irae and lights up with eternal hope in its In Paradisum. Fauré's genius was in full flight when he composed his Requiem in 1887. He was much distressed by the recent death of his father, and, overwhelmed by his first confrontation between life and death, Fauré still did not any sense of revolt. The melodies of his Requiem are without violence. He did not record terror but a gentle certainty of divine mercy. "If I were God, I would have pity on the heart of man." It is the same credo that Debussy would later put in the mouth of Arkel in Pelléas et Melisande.
    • Marguerite Long, in At the Piano with Gabriel Fauré (1963), p. 110
      Specifically, Act 4, Scene 3.
  • In March 1924 Roger Ducasse brought me the staggering message with which Gabriel Fauré had entrusted him: "I would like to die without leaving any 'scratches' and see Marguerite Long again." And he repeated once again: "No one has played my music like she has and no one has written about my music like her husband." In these last moments he wanted to erase the shadows that had tarnished our feelings. "Come and see him," Roger Ducasse insisted. "He will be waiting for you tomorrow afternoon." It was a Tuesday, I have not forgotten. When I got to his house, my heart beating, I learned that that very day, at five o'clock in the morning, Gabriel Fauré had passed away.
    I saw him anyway. He lay on his death bed, his features ravaged but still recognizable. This was the last time I saw him, and I cannot say what it meant to me, because Fauré's music was one of the reasons for living, because it was tied to everything that was my musical youth. I shall always remain loyal to it. For his music I have joined my belief in Fauré with an infinite gentleness, forgiveness, pardon. With it I have rejected the idea of eternal flames and unattainable Paradise. In Paradisum.
    It is true, as Georges Duhamel wrote in La Musique Consolatrice, that "music watches with us among the ruins and ashes of all our former happiness.
    • Marguerite Long, in At the Piano with Gabriel Fauré (1963), pp. 114-115
  • Fauré, the direct heir of Chopin, has carried through all the methods of composition that one finds in the work of the Polish genius and in that of Liszt. He transforms them into his own style and goes further down the path opened by Chopin, since he feels all the expressive value of pure harmony. Chopin, Fauré — two of the piano's greatest lyricists.
    • Joseph de Marliave, Etudes Musicale (1909); reproduced in At the Piano with Gabriel Faure (1963) by Marguerite Long, p. 35
  • It has already been said that since Richard Wagner the lyric stage has not seen any work which comes as near perfection as Pénélope, nor one which so constantly reaches the heights. Nothing is truer, but however magnificent the praise it is still incomplete. What must be added is that for the first time for more than a century and a half the French scène lyrique has spoken its own language. [..] None but he, furthermore, was capable of being the hero of such a worthy mission. He is the purest musician alive today and such as we have possibly never had here. Mozart, Schubert and Chopin alone had to such an eminent degree the divine gift of producing music as spontaneously as a tree produces fruit, and no one has possessed at the same time such pure craftsmanship.
    • Joseph de Marliave, study of Fauré's Pénélope, written in 1913, published in 1917; reproduced in its entirety in At the Piano with Gabriel Faure (1963) by Marguerite Long, pp. 116, 117
  • He is assuredly the greatest musician that our country can boast of and yet showered with honours, glory, fame, Gabriel Fauré was until yesterday not the least known, but the most badly known in our country. Because he produced above all works of medium dimensions, many thought him to be nothing more than a lesser figure, a 'poeta minor' of music; because he always avoided that grandiloquence which most of Franck's pupils confused with true grandeur; because he is generally happy with moderate means in chamber music he was given the pejorative tag of 'salon musician.' As if the size mattered, or the noise of the music, or the weight of the score, as if in music the content should always be measured by the size of the shell.
    • Joseph de Marliave, study of Fauré's Pénélope; reproduced in At the Piano with Gabriel Fauré (1963) by Marguerite Long, p. 117
  • Under an ancient portrait of Glück can be read this legend: "He preferred the Muses to the Sirens." Fauré, a purer musician than the composer of the Iphigénie operas, showed in Pénélope that he could unite in harmony the voluptuous Sirens with the serious Muses of order and intelligence. So much music and so wonderful, not a useless bar, not a note more or less than is required; much substance yet little material: it was the craftsmanship of Mozart just as that of Fauré, and this simplicity which exudes dryness is so great that it can surprise us before it touches and moves us.
    • Joseph de Marliave, concluding his study of Fauré's Pénélope; reproduced in At the Piano with Gabriel Fauré (1963) by Marguerite Long, p. 130
  • Ah, it's lovely, the Ballade, it really is delightful. I am unfair to Fauré's music in so far as I don't know it very well. When we get back, you'll have to play me lots of it.
    • Maurice Ravel, speaking with pianist Marguerite Long in 1932, after a rehearsal which included Fauré's Ballade for Piano and Orchestra; as quoted in At the Piano with Gabriel Fauré (1963) by  Long, p. 38
  • The songs are, beyond doubt, the crown of his art. They extend throughout his lifetime and form in themselves an interesting historical study of a composer, himself somewhat reclusive, slowly and with constant ingenuity reacting to changing accents in the world outside his window. The suave, chaste elegance of the early songs (of which "Dans Les Ruines d'un abbaye" and the Schumann-esque, exalted "Après un Reve" are the best known), through a quiet struggle of conscience with Wagnerian harmony (most of all in the settings of Verlaine from the 1890s), to a bashful nod toward musical Impressionism in the very last cycle, L'Horizon chimerique of 1922. Not a song in this vast output is less than exquisite; the fashion I have sometimes encountered, of not taking this music seriously, ought to be put to rest by the evidence these two albums contain.
  • He lacks the one fault which for an artist is a quality — ambition.
    • Camille Saint-Saëns, as quoted in At the Piano with Gabriel Fauré (1963) by Marguerite Long, p. 109
  • How can it be that I did not know a work like that? I am bowled over by what I have heard.
    • Richard Strauss, speaking with Marguerite Long after hearing Fauré's Suite from Shylock, performed at the Gabriel Fauré Competition held in Luxembourg from the 25th-27th April 1939; as quoted in At the Piano with Gabriel Fauré (1963) by Marguerite Long, p. 60
  • To love and understand Fauré, one must at all costs have a musical nature. Fauré is pure music in the strictest, acoustic meaning of the word. It is no good bringing anything in the way of painter's or sculptor's gifts to listen to him. One may be unmusical and still love Beethoven or Berlioz. That is what explains the imposing number of the clientele of these two composers. But the same does not apply to Fauré. If you are not sensible to the pleasure given by certain modulations, if you do not taste the disturbing flavor of certain harmonies, if you are not interested in the subtle laws of the gravitation of notes around a tonic, a dominant or leading note, you will understand nothing of this style, disconcerting in its apparent simplicity. Certain foreign amateurs of music have experienced no difficulty in becoming initiated into the style of Debussy or Ravel, but they are put off by the nonchalant fluidity of Fauré's writing, which under its apparent classicism contains the most magnificent revolutionary audacities. There is between this music and the great majority of listeners of every country a terrible lack of comprehension.
    • Emile Vuillermoz, in "The Art of Gabriel Fauré," The Christian Science Monitor (November 1, 1930), p. 9

Further reading[edit]



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