Piano Quintet No.2 in C minor Op.115

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


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

Performance date: 05/07/2017

Venue: Bantry Library

Composition Year: 1919-21

Duration: 00:34:26

Recording Engineer: Richard McCullough, RTÉ lyric fm

Instrumentation Category:Quintet

Artists: Alasdair Beatson - [piano]
Quatuor Zaïde (Charlotte Juillard [violin], Leslie Boulin Raulet [violin] Sarah Chenaf [viola] Juliette Salmona [cello]) - [quartet]

ink has been spilt on the concept of late style, the idea that a
composer as he feels his final years approaching creates a new way of
writing. Are there unique qualities of perception that artists
acquire as a result of age and the imminent approach of death?
Speaking unphilosophically one is tempted to say that with composers
who live to a ripe age, a lifetime of experience enables them to say
more with less. More importantly the overwhelming need to compose
enables them to ignore the often terrible infirmities of approaching
mortality as the drive to create overcomes all hindrances. Fauré in
particular in his final years suffered terribly from deafness
combined with a hearing distortion and increasingly bad respiratory

had been Director of the Paris Conservatoire since 1905 where he
initiated a series of important reforms. This made him well known but
gave him even less time to compose. As with so many composers
throughout history, the day job always had to take precedence and
composition was relegated to summer holidays. So finally, aged 75,
with damaged hearing he was free to compose all year round and
produced a series of works that crowned his career – the Piano Trio,
the Second Cello Sonata, his only string quartet, the song cycle
Thirteenth Nocturne and the Second Piano Quintet.

instrumental writing is notably different from other composers for
whom the piano has played a central role. Instead of pitting the
soloist against the strings, doubled in opposition, he seeks to unify
the strings and keyboard textures into a seamless, flowing language.
So a listener hoping for melodrama will be disappointed but close
attention will be rewarded by the harmonic richness and canonic skill
of the writing. The first movement has been extravagantly praised and
justifiably so:
was with delighted surprise that people found such vigorous and
youthful music in a veteran composer.
is one of his finest melodic inspirations, and the movement gives the
impression of a single unbroken curve of lyricism, though its form is
actually a complex system of continuous development. The theme itself
is subtle and rhythmically ambiguous, admirably suited to the
composer’s plan of integrating strings and piano into a unified


in the quicksilver Mendelssohnian tradition, but hardly in the same
idiom. The lightness of foot is occasionally tempered by some
astringent string writing, but the mischievous good humour is never
relaxed. The long
G major has an air of muted resignation, flowing almost unchecked as
if played on one deep breath. The strength of will is there also,
holding the melody in place. But the quality is undeniably autumnal.
The last movement is also unsensational though not without high
spirits. As in the first movement the theme begins in the viola
before being taken up by the remaining strings. The writing remains
spare except in the closing bars when a richness of texture
reminiscent of his piano quartets is conjured up to remind us of
times past.