PARIS: OTHER COMPOSERS
Don't try to be a genius in every measure. GABRIEL FAURÉ*
Debussy was by no means the only composer of importance in France during the period 1900-1914. Gabriel Fauré ( 1845-1924), the chief representative of a more conservative French tradition that existed side by side with impressionist music, was restrained, elegant, and economical in his compositions. He wrote many songs, music for piano, and chamber music. His setting of the Requiem Mass is noteworthy among the larger works. Never tempted by the "free floating" parallel dissonance of the impressionists, he developed instead a conservative, but at the same time highly original, harmonic syntax. Fauré's chords are chromatic and his modulations are frequently to remote keys, but because of his fondness for modal scales (with their lack of leading tones) the effect is one of serenity rather than one of feverish intensity that characterizes so much chromatic music.
A great deal can be learned about the styles of Fauré and Debussy by comparing the songs that they wrote to the same poems. For instance, in the two settings of Verlaine's poem, "C'est l' extase," Fauré uses only the tonic chord in the two-bar introduction, while Debussy starts his song with a melodic motive built on the dominant thirteenth and____________________
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Publication information: Book title: An Introduction to Twentieth Century Music. Contributors: Peter S. Hansen - Author. Publisher: Allyn and Bacon. Place of publication: Boston. Publication year: 1961. Page number: 33.
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