Fauré’s radical Sonata No.2 in E minor, Op.108 (1917) was written seven years before his death – an event which serves as a convenient staging post towards the end of that grand period of French music which is encompassed by the long life of his mentor Saint-Saëns. As one of Fauré’s late chamber works, it represents neither a fading époque nor the charmingly languid autumnal canvas of a declining ear and mind. Fauré was not the only composer to suffer a debilitating deafness in later years which brought with it, not unlike Beethoven, a kind of tension between physical struggle and energy (and its concomitant propulsion of taut motif) – a vision of celestial trumpets. No-one put it better than Martin Cooper (French Music, OUP, 1951) when he suggested that ‘Fauré grew less communicative in his music as he grew older. His music becomes increasingly less of a personal effusion as it takes on more and more of the landscape to which he retired… as the last great traditionalist in French music, more human and fruitful than Ravel, more sane though less original than Debussy and more wholly, unequivocally French than either’.

Parts included:

  • Piano
  • Trumpet in C

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