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Fauré - Requiem (Op. 48) - Pie Jesu

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Uploaded on Dec 6, 2009

Gabriel Urbain Fauré (12 May 1845 4 November 1924) was a French composer, organist, pianist, and teacher. He was the foremost French composer of his generation, and his musical style influenced many 20th century composers. His harmonic and melodic language affected how harmony was later taught.

Gabriel Fauré is regarded as the master of the French art song, or mélodie. His works ranged from an early romantic style, when in his early years he emulated the style of Mendelssohn and others, to late 19th century Romantic, and finally to a 20th century aesthetic. His work was based on a strong understanding of harmonic structures which he received at the École Niedermeyer from his harmony teacher Gustave Lefèvre, who wrote the book Traité d'harmonie (Paris, 1889), in which Lefèvre sets forth a harmonic theory which differs significantly from the classical theory of Jean-Philippe Rameau in that seventh and ninth chords are no longer considered dissonant, and the mediant can be altered without changing the mode. In addition, Fauré's understanding of the church modes can be seen in various modal passages in his works, especially in his melodies.

In contrast with his harmonic and melodic style, which pushed the bounds for his time, Fauré's rhythmic motives tended to be subtle and repetitive, with little to break the flow of the line, although he did utilize subtle large scale syncopations, similar to those found in Brahms's works. Aaron Copland referred to him as the 'French Brahms'.
Fauré's piano works often use arpeggiated figures with the melody interspersed between the two hands, and include finger substitutions natural for organists. These aspects make them daunting for some pianists, but they are nonetheless central works.

Gabriel Fauré composed his Requiem in D minor, Op. 48 between 1887 and 1890. This choralorchestral setting of the Roman Catholic Mass for the Dead is the best known of his large works. The most famous movement is the soprano aria Pie Jesu. Camille Saint-Saëns said of it, "just as Mozart's is the only Ave verum Corpus, this is the only Pie Jesu."

Fauré on his Requiem: ''It has been said that my Requiem does not express the fear of death and someone has called it a lullaby of death. But it is thus that I see death: as a happy deliverance, an aspiration towards happiness above, rather than as a painful experience. The music of Gounod has been criticized for its overinclination towards human tenderness. But his nature predisposed him to feel this way: religious emotion took this form inside him. Is it not necessary to accept the artist's nature? As to my Requiem, perhaps I have also instinctively sought to escape from what is thought right and proper, after all the years of accompanying burial services on the organ! I know it all by heart. I wanted to write something different."

The image on the video is a pictorialist photograph by Edward Steichen called The Pond—Moonlight (1904)

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