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GABRIEL FAURÉ (1845-1924)

Romance in B-flat major, op. 28

September 24, 2017: Arnaud Sussmann, violin; Michael Brown, piano

Fauré began composing his Romance, op. 28, in August 1877 out of great boredom while on a three-week visit to Cautarets in the Pyrenées. He had been persuaded to go there by the famous singer Pauline Viardot to give her daughter Marianne, his reluctant fiancée, some time to think. On September 17, back in Paris, he wrote to his friend Marie Clerc that he had tried out the Romance with Marianne’s violinist brother Paul. Finally on the third run-through the assembled Viardot ladies warmed up to the piece, prompting Fauré to remark, “What a pity one cannot always begin with the third hearing.” Two years later he found himself asking Pauline Viardot if he could borrow the piece, having left the only manuscript at her house. The Romance unfolds in A-B-A form, with the flowing motion of the outer sections contrasted by a dramatic central section with an angular theme for the violin. A cadenza-like passage restores the calm of the opening.

© Jane Vial Jaffe

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