'This is an inspired choice in this still early round of Phaidon's excellent, well-presented and illustrated 20th-Century Composers Series.' (Classical Music) 'Jessica Duchen's admirable biography will do much to advance the cause of Korngold.' (Jewish Chronicle) 'As a series, Phaidon's 20th Century Composers has brought remarkable variety and a welter of information, both necessary and delightfully trivial. Intended both for the general reader and for the more enthusiatically musical...' (The Scotsman)
From the Publisher
This is a comprehensive biography of the French composer Gabriel Faure for the general reader, placing his work in the context of his times. Gabriel Faure (1845-1924) is one of the best-loved French composers of his era: works such as his Requiem, "Pavane", "Dolly Suite, and "Cantique de Jean Racine" are perennial favourites. But Faure's importance runs far deeper. His music has a unique blend of vigour and restraint, sensuality and purity: an individual voice with a degree of integrity that helped him to resist the overwhelming forces - notably the music of Wagner - that held his Parisian contemporaries in thrall. His artistic independence served to inspire many of the next generation of French composers seeking to create a new Gallic identity beyond World War I. At the Paris Conservatoire, Faure's composition teaching was vital to such figures as Maurice Ravel, Nadia Boulanger and Charles Koechlin; when he ultimately became the Conservatoire's director, his reforms were the most radical the institution had yet experienced. Faure has often been thought of as a dreamy, somewhat unworldly individual; this book, however, reveals his ambition and decisiveness. Born in southern France and educated at the Ecole Niedermeyer rather than the powerful Paris Conservatoire, he struggled for years to achieve recognition from France's musical establishment, which often deemed him a dangerous outsider; in his personal life he struggled also against bouts of depression, an unsatisfactory marriage and, later, devastating deafness. Faure's life and works are explored in the context of the creative melting pot of fin-de-siecle Paris. His relationship with such figures as Saint-Saens, Liszt, Proust and Verlaine are considered in detail and help to create a portrait of this fascinating milieu. This biography, which charts Faure's long and difficult rise to fame, sets out to illuminate his individuality and reveal his enduring legacy to French music.