Friday, April 11, 2008

Faure's Nocturne and Barcarolle

I think Faure's music forming a link between Romantic and Impressionistic piano music.
He was influenced by Chopin's harmony and figuration. He likes unusual scales, ranging from mediaeval modes to the whole-tone scale. His music is “merely charming, discreet or reticent.”
For Faure, music's purpose was "to lift us as far as possible out of the mundane."

Faure composed thirteen Nocturnes. The first one was composed in 1875, and the last one Op.119 was composed 40 years later in 1921. His last Nocturne is his last piano composition as well. Faure's deafness afflicted his last twenty years and distorted his sense of pitch unevenly. Did he know how his music really sounded? He could hear only in his imagination. Faure's later works incorporate an increasing element of counterpoint. His famous arpeggio figure with melody between two hands, and syncopation flowing rhythm are showing in this piece as well.

Faure composed thirteen Barcarolles. The No. 5 Barcarolle was composed in 1894. From that time, Faure brought his genre to maturity. The Barcarolle provides a strong contrast to the nocturne through its rhythms and harmonies, its main melody strangely recalling Brahms's third symphony of 11 years earlier. Somehow, I think the Barcarolle No.5 sounds like carnival. It does have the triple meter rhythm, but most parts are loud and sound like playing in a festival.

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