Gabriel Fauré

Gabriel Fauré was born on 12 May 1845 in Pamiers in the département of Ariège, at the foot of the Pyrenees. Musically highly gifted, the youngest of six children of a teacher came to Paris at the age of nine and studied for eleven years at the church music school of Louis Niedermeyer - among others with Camille Saint-Saëns, with whom he had a lifelong friendship. He quickly made a name for himself in Paris as an organist, choirmaster and pianist - especially in the fashionable salons, where his piano music and more than 100 songs were admired. Fauré kept away from the "Wagnerism" that set the tone in France at the time and sought his own paths. In addition to his songs, his chamber music was particularly groundbreaking for French music. Away from opera and the great concert halls, Fauré led a rather unspectacular life with Marie Frémiet, whom he had married in 1883, and with two sons. The fact that from 1900 until his death he had an affair with the pianist Marguerite Hasselmans, who was more than 30 years younger, did not change this. In 1896, Fauré took over a composition class at the Paris Conservatoire, where Nadia Boulanger and Maurice Ravel, among others, studied with him; in 1905, he was appointed director of the college and pushed through numerous reforms. At the same time, he already shared Beethoven's fate and was almost completely deaf, but this did not diminish his vitality or his creative power: his only opera Pénélope was a great success in 1913 at the newly opened Théâtre des Champs-Élysées. In 1920, at the age of 75, Fauré resigned from the Conservatoire, but continued to compose. The last work he worked on was his only string quartet, in which the long-dead Belle Époque and the fin de siècle were once again reflected in sound. Gabriel Fauré died on 4 November 1924 - at the age of 79 - in Paris as a result of pneumonia. (Source: Deutschlandfunk)