Gabriel FAURE
12 May 1845 - 4 November 1924 (age 79)

Gabriel Fauré was a French composer, organist and teacher.. 

One of the most influential composers of the 20th century. A pupil and life long friend of Camille Saint-Saëns.
Ravel was one of his students.






portrait of Gabriel Faure


Born: Gabriel Urbain Fauré, 12 May 1845, in Pamiers, South of France
Father: Toussaint-Honoré Fauré (1810-85). Superintendent of schools.
Mother: Marie-Antoinette-Hélène Lalène-Laprade (1809-87)
Siblings: 1 sister Rose-Elodie, 4 brothers Armand, Paul, Fernand, Albert. Gabriel was the youngest of the six.
Wife: Marie Fremiet
Children: 2 sons, Emmanuelle and Philippe
Mistress: Marguerite Hasselmans
Died: 4 November 1924, Paris
Cause of death: pneumonia. Heavy smoker.
Grave: Cimitiere de Passy, Paris. see findagrave



Style: French Late Romantic/Neoclassical
Output: considerable
Piano solos
Chamber music
Choral music
Songs & song cycles
Opera: - Pénélope

Best known
- Requiem
- Pelleas et Melisande Suite
- Nocturnes
- Violin Sonata in A major
- Pavane for Orchestra & Chorus
- La Bonne Chanson
- Piano Quartet No. 1 in C minor
-. Elegie
-. Ballade in F-sharp for Piano & Orchestra
- Dolly

Pavane -
Paavo Jarvi (conductor) and the Orchestre De Paris

Faure's Career

Age 18 Publication of his first piano work - Trois Romances sans Paroles
Age 20 - graduated from the Niedermeyer school. Appointed chief organist at the Basilica of St Sauveur in Rennes. For the next 30 years he took up positions in a series of churches, supplementing his income with private lessons. Most of his composing was done during the summer breaks.
Age 25: Volunteered for military service on the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War and participated in the siege of Paris.
Age 38: Married Marie Fremiet.
Age 47: Appointed inspector of music conservatories in the French provinces.
Age 51: Appointed chief organist at the Madeleine.
Appointed professor of composition at the Conservatoire. His students included Ravel, Ducasse, Enescu, Nadia Boulanger among others.
Age 60 - 75: Director of the Conservatoire.
Age 75: Retired owing to increasing deafness.
Reveived the Grand-Croix of the Légion d'honneur
Age 79: Died of pneumonia (he was a heavy smoker which was a cause).
He was given a state funeral.

Postage stamp of Gabriel Faure

The Man

His love life was eventful. He had a wandering eye and apparently suffered from "horreur du domicile" (horror of home life!).
In his early 30's he fell in love with Marianne Viardot and proposed to her. While she certainly admired him she continually postponed the wedding and eventually dumped him.
He eventually married Marie Fremiet, daughter of a scuptor, with whom he had two sons. She didn't like going to concerts nor Gabriel's social life. They spent less and less time together and eventually contacted each other only my mail.
Gabriel then fell in love with Emma Bardac, a banker's wife, who had a daughter nicknamed Dolly (rumoured to be Faure's but probably not). Emma later divorced her husband in order to marry another composer - Claude Debussy, his second wife.
He had a further three mistresses. The last one - Marguerite Hasselmans - stayed with him for the last 24 years of his life

Gabriel was fortunate to obtain a scholarship or bursary to study at the Ecole Niedermeyer, which specialised in religious music, with a view to become an organist and choirmaster. He was a boarder there for 11 years.
Until later life money was a problem and he earned his keep by giving private lessons and his church jobs.
He earned very little from his compositions. His publisher paid him a few francs per piece and he received no royalties.
When he finally started teaching at the Conservatoire he became more financially comfortable but was never rich.

Dolly Suite, Berceuse

Fauré in Art
A fascinating collection of images - art, portraits, caricatures, cartoons, album covers and postage stamps.

postage stamp of Faure and Ravel


- "For me, art, and especially music, exist to elevate us as far as possible above everyday existence."

- "Mozart's music is particularly difficult to perform. His admirable clarity exacts absolute cleanness: the slightest mistake in it stands out like black on white. It is music in which all the notes must be heard."

Pie Jesu (from Faure's Requiem)
sung by King's College Choir, Cambridge

Pelléas et Mélisande
Filarmonica '900 del Teatro Regio di Torino - Yutaka Sado conductor

Sonata - 1st Movement, Opus 13
flute - Marlene Verwey

Fantaisie opus 111 pour piano et orchestre (1/2)

Links - and where to go for more information 

ClassicalNet a short bio.

Lastfm page

H2G2 Faure page

Naxos Faure page with list of albums

- French Composers
Profiles of other French composers here at 52composers.com

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