GABRIEL FAURE (BORN MAY 12, 1845)
French composer Gabriel Faure was a late bloomer. Unlike many other bright lights in music history who flew out of the starting gate, Faure’s star took its time to rise. He was active in music from the beginning, but it wasn’t until his 50s that he was able to claim a prominent place in the French music scene. For the first 25 or so years, his time and energy were taken up by menial church jobs and teaching. Ever so slowly things turned around. By the time he was 60,he was offered the directorship of the Paris Conservatory, and became THE leader in French music. His sound was forward-looking, and it took a while for the establishment to catch up with him. Bucking the Wagnerian trends of the time, Faure’s music has a warming transparency to it, and is more focused on moods and colours than on virtuosity. Perhaps the greatest example is his Requiem – a work of ethereal beauty from beginning to end.