Fauré Chamber Works

Article excerpt

Gabriel Fauré. Trio pour piano, violon et violoncelle, op. 120. Urtext d'aprés Gabriel Fauré OEuvres complètes. Édité par = Edited by = Herausgegeben von James William Sobaskie. (Bärenreiter Urtext.) Kassel: Bärenreiter, 2010. [Introd. & editorial notes in Eng., Fre., Ger., p. iii-viii; score (p. 1-39) and 2 parts. ISMN M-006-53958-1, ISMN- 13/EAN 979-0-006-53958-1, pub. no. BA 7902. euro18.95. ]

Gabriel Fauré. Quatuor à cordes, op. 121. Urtext d'aprés Gabriel Fauré OEuvres complètes. Édité par = Edited by = Herausgegeben von James William Sobaskie. (Bärenreiter Urtext.) Kassel: Bärenreiter, 2010. [Miniature score: Introd. & editorial notes in Eng., Fre., Ger., p. iii-xix; score, p. 2-30; ISMN M-006-20525-7, ISMN-13/EAN 979-0-006-20525-7, pub. no. TP 412. euro14.95. Four parts: ISMN M-006-53957-4, ISMN- 13/EAN 979-0-006-53957-4, pub. no. BA 7901. euro34.95.]

Gabriel Fauré. La bonne chanson, op. 61. Édition révue et corrigée. Paris: J. Hamelle, 2010. [Pref. in Fre., Eng., Ger., Spa., p. iii-vi; song texts in Fre., p. vii-xii; score (84 p.) and 7 parts. ISMN-13/EAN 9790230797436, pub. no. HA 9 743. euro89.60.]

Fauré's two last works, the String Quartet, op. 121, and Piano Trio, op. 120, were composed between 1922 and 1924 and were left complete but unedited at his death. In these two elegant performing editions drawn from the Gabriel Fauré OEuvres complètes and produced by Bärenreiter, editor James William Sobaskie has done an admirable job of annotating the scores with articulation and expressive markings the composer would likely have included himself had he lived to do so. Sobaskie's editing reveals the hallmarks of a scholar who knows Fauré's work very well, as well as the ethos of composition for chamber music, particularly that for strings, of the time in which the works were composed.

In his introduction to the Piano Trio, Sobaskie situates it in its historical context, providing material from Fauré's letters to support the idea that although the work was initially proposed by publisher Jacques Durand in 1922, it also arose "from an inner necessity" (p. iii): Fauré confessed to a fear of becoming bored without a compelling new project. The Piano Trio was just what he needed: once set on the task, Fauré completed the three-movement work in just a few months, and it was premiered at a private recital in April of 1923. The work was immediately popular, running to several reprintings. Like much of the composer's late works, it is highly lyrical, with long melodic lines stretched out over functional supporting harmonies.

This edition of the Piano Trio is based on "the numerous revisions or small additions made at the engraving stage preceding the first or second edition or preserved in the form of handwritten corrections in [Fauré's] personal copies of his printed scores" (p. iv). This meticulous attention to detail and Bärenreiter's desire to create playable, practical scores means that added or altered markings are indicated in the piano score by enclosure in brackets or by a small, unobtrusive slash through the marking (such as a slash through a slur) that is neither distracting nor difficult to understand as an editor's annotation. The violin and cello parts do not have these indicia; players curious as to the editorial changes in the publication will want to consult the score. The score and parts are beautifully engraved, well-spaced to allow for players' notes, and contain both measure numbers and rehearsal numbers. The violin and cello parts have useful cues, and the layout has been executed to make for easy page turns during rests. While not a work for amateurs-the violin part contains octaves and some tricky chromaticism, the cello part is frequently set in the instrument's upper register, and the pianist is called upon to perform some fairly intricate counterpoint-it is an essential piece for music libraries, particularly those serving communities with professional musicians or those in training. …