Cinque mélodies “de Venise” Op.58

Composer: Gabriel Fauré (b. 1845 - d. 1924)
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Composer: Gabriel Fauré (b. 1845 - d. 1924)

Performance date: 04/07/2016

Venue: St. Brendan’s Church

Composition Year: 1891

Duration: 00:13:19

Recording Engineer: Richard McCullough, RTÉ lyric fm

Instrumentation: 2vn, va, vc

Instrumentation Category:Duo

Instrumentation Other: S-solo, pf

Artists: Cédric Tiberghien - [piano]
Carolyn Sampson - [soprano]

Success came late to Fauré, but when
it arrived it placed him among the greatest of writers of melodies or French art songs. He hailed from
Pamiers, some
forty miles west of Carcassonne, in the south-west corner of France, where his
father was a school director. His talents were spotted at an early age and he
was sent to the famous École Niedermeyer in Paris where his principal teacher
was Camille Saint-Saëns. The college was oriented towards teaching music for
those intending to undertake a religious calling, especially organists. An
enthusiast for modern music he helped create the Société Nationale de Musique,
where many of his compositions would be premièred. He had a seminal influence
on the development of French song but recognition took a long time to arrive;
eventually he became principal organist at the great Madeleine Church in 1896
and his fame soon spread in the early 20th century.

style was highly personal, influenced by his church music training. Words are
set with exquisite sensitivity, demanding the highest skill for singers if they
are to make their full impact. Because he largely eschewed big musical forces,
even his Requiem is a gentle affair, and preferred chamber music and song with
which to express his unique talents, his importance to the musical world is
sometimes underestimated. But when performed with style and imagination his
music blossoms and his outstanding talent is revealed, particularly as one the
most important French song writers.  A
second song-cycle Le Chanson d’Ève
will be performed in the Crespo Series, here on Thursday afternoon, (see
Programme 58).

subtitled his setting of five Paul Verlaine songs de Venise; as he started writing them during a holiday to the
Italian city in 1891, completing them on his return to Paris. He had been
staying with the American sewing-machine heiress, Winaretta Singer, soon to
become the Princess de Polignac and a major patron of music in France. He
dedicated them to her and they were published that autumn. The cycle was first
performed by Maurice Bagès at a Société Nationale de Musique concert in April
1892.   Paul Verlaine [1844-1896] was a
leading writer of lyrical poetry, whose verses were set by many composers
including Chabrier, Debussy and Stravinsky.

delightful Mandoline is one of the
greatest serenades in the repertory with the piano providing a witty
guitar-like accompaniment. It is followed by the gently flowing lines of En Sourdine, an ecstatic love song,
though it seems the lovers were stealing a moment together. Green has been set by a number of
composers including Debussy. Fauré’s version is marked breathless; a motif in the piano will also be heard in the next two
songs.  Á Clymène reflects a Venetian barcarolle, perhaps recalling his
visit to the city which inspired the cycle. Fauré also brings back moments from
the earlier songs in his ecstatic finale: perhaps a gesture towards the cyclic
form of composing then popular in Paris