'As always, it was sheer pleasure to observe Robin Hill's remarkable fluent technique: everything looks easy when he plays it.' Colin Cooper- Classical Guitar Magazine ----- 'Wonderful for their (Hill & Wiltschinsky) precision, touch and clarity of sound... refined virtuosity, the achievement of a long interpretive process.' Il Giornale D'Italia (Rome) ----- 'I loved your CD and thought your technique and performance were fabulous...' Rick Wakeman

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Track 5 - 'Arrival' - Gabriel Faure

Track 5 on 'Arrival' is the beautiful 'Romances Sans Paroles op17, No3, Andante Moderato' by Gabriel Faure.

Gabriel Faure (1845-1924) was a French composer, teacher, pianist and organist, who developed a personal style that had considerable influence on many early twentieth century composers.

He was the youngest of six children and as a child often played the harmonium in the chapel of his school.
It was here that an elderly blind lady overheard him playing and informed his father of his gift for music.

It was from this point that Faure later attended the 'Ecole Niedermeyer' where he remained for 11 years, studying mainly church music.
It was only after Niedermeyer's death, that Saint-Saens was appointed, and Faure studied piano and was introduced to contemporary music, not on the school syllabus, such as Schumann, Liszt and Wagner.

After leaving school Faure was appointed as an organist, gave lessons and started composing. Apart from a period when he enlisted during the Franco-Prussion war, the majority of his time was spent within various posts as an organist.

After marrying in 1883, to support his wife and two sons, he gave piano and harmony lessons, and to supplement his income sold his compositions to publishers, with full copyright, for 50 francs.

It wasn't until the 1890's that he began to realise some of his ambitions and he was over 50 before he started to become well-known.
In one teaching position around 1897, his pupils included Ravel and Enescu, but it was in 1905, when he became director of the Paris Conservatoire, that his fame spread. This was partially due to undertaking some controversial reforms, but resulted in his works being performed at important concerts and venues.

Although he continued to compose throughout this period it wasn't until retiring in 1920 that Faure could at last devote all his time to composition. But despite his failing health, his interest in young musicians continued, and he helped many, including Arthur Honegger.

Faure's harmonic and melodic innovations influenced the teaching of harmony for later generations.

Together with the Romances for voice and piano, the three Romances Sans Paroles are his earliest surviving works.
The lyrical qualities of his music make it an ideal vehicle for the more reflective and poetic aspects of the guitars.
As you can hear with 'Romances sans Paroles op17 No3 Andante Moderato'.

As a footnote, Faure is frequently referred to here at Hillhouse, but in a very different context.
Whenever Robin goes out on a shopping trip, he announces his intention by saying, "I'm going on a Gabriel", strangely, I always seem to know what he means.

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