Gabriel Fauré: May 12, 1845 - November 04, 1924
Fauré was born in France and studied music in Paris. One of his teachers was Saint-Saëns (he composed ‘The Swan’ which we listened to with the Kanneh-Masons). Later in life, he also taught composition at the same school and there were several composers who he influenced in his 15 years as head teacher (like Debussy and Ravel).
He is known for composing small, beautiful pieces rather than huge orchestral works. Like Beethoven, Fauré suffered from a loss of hearing when he was older. However, he continued to compose, and some of his best music comes from that time.
Here are two pieces composed by Faure and played on the cello by Sheku Kanneh Mason. The first is a piece which has been chosen for Remembrance Day. Classic FM say it is:
One of the most mournful cello melodies in all of the classical canon, Fauré's Elegy captures an impressive range of emotions. From gut-wrenching anger to heartfelt sorrow, fleeting memories of happiness and mournful cries, the beautiful music communicates directly from the soul.
The second piece is called ‘Après un rêve’ which means, after a dream.
The cello is an instrument used to play music. Its name comes from the Italian language, so it is pronounced “chello”. The full word is violoncello, but when speaking, people normally call it the “cello”. A person who plays the cello is called a “cellist”. The cello belongs to the string family.
The parts of the cello are similar to those of the violin. The strings are tuned to C-G-D-A, (low to high). The cello is played sitting down and holding the instrument between the knees. There is an end-pin which rests on the ground. This is adjustable in height so that the player can put it in a position to make himself/herself comfortable. The cello is normally played with a bow.