The latest in the invaluable series of single-composer editions and collections from Brilliant Classics is a tribute to an oft-acknowledged but little understood genius of the early 20th century, whose late work is as elliptical as any of the modernists to whom he seemed so passé, whose middle-period work is rooted in the then-wildly fashionable Wagnerisme, and whose early work already reveals the impeccable craftsmanship and refined aesthetic that lend his few works which are known to the musical public at large, such as the Requiem and Cantique de Jean Racine, their enduring appeal. But there is so much more to Gabriel Fauré, as this set reveals; not least that he was at heart a formal miniaturist, focusing on moment-to-moment response to words and phrases in the classics of French poetry (and some of his contemporaries too -- he was an exceptionally well-read man of diverse tastes) which he set as songs and song-cycles, and reflecting that ear for harmonic detail in the more abstract forms of piano genres which he inherited from Chopin and developed still further, so that the Nocturnes and Barcarolles are tinged with post-Wagnerian longing a world away from the pointed wit of his Souvenirs de Bayreuth. Perhaps the least familiar treasure in this box, full of idiomatic performances from native artists such as the conductor Serge Baudo and the pianist Jean-Phillippe Collard, is the classic recording made by French radio in 1956 of the composer's only opera, Pénélope, which takes a typically oblique view of the final scenes in Homer's Odyssey, where the hero returns home to find his long-suffering wife battling an increasingly vocal crowd of suitors who insist that her husband will never return. When he does, he exacts a bloody vengeance, but Fauré is more interested in the psychological condition of his heroine, which he charts with leitmotivic drama worthy of the Master of Bayreuth himself.
- The first and only Fauré Edition on the market! No rival box set of Fauré's music available.
- Gabriel Fauré's music might be described as refined, intimate, sensual and atmospheric. He developed his style in a logical and organic way, from the German and French romantics into his own highly personal language, using an extended harmony and fleeting, melismatic melodies.
- Fauré's music is utterly French, chique, perfumed, refined and restrained, a world in itself, there to discover for the sensitive and discerning mind!
- This set offers a rich selection of his orchestral works (of course the famous Pavane, the Suite Masques et Bergamasques and the Dolly Suite), concertante works for solo instruments (flute, piano, violin, cello) and orchestra, the near complete chamber music (the core of his oeuvre, the splendid piano quartets and quintets, the cello sonatas and violin sonatas, the trio and quartet), so generous selection of his songs, master pieces in their genre, choral works and the eternal beauty of the Requiem, Fauré's most popular work.
- Superb performances of the Orchestre National de France/Michel Plasson, Staatskapelle Dresden/Sir Colin Davis, Elly Ameling, Gerard Souzay, Lucia Popp, Jacqueline Eymar, and many others.
- A unique set of a unique composer, a worthy addition to Brilliant Classics' Composer Editions!
- Detailed booklet notes by Malcolm MacDonald.