A gentle work, written as Fauré said for the living rather than the dead, there is only passing reference to the ‘Dies irae’ and the final impression is left by the serene ‘In paradisum’.

Recommended recording:
Agnès Mellon, Peter Kooy; La Chapelle Royale; Ensemble Musique Oblique/Philippe Herreweghe
Harmonia Mundi HMG 501292

Pelléas et Mélisande

Written for an English production of Maeterlinck’s play, the charm and gentle melancholy of Fauré’s music reveals an affinity with Elgar at his most intimate.

Recommended recording:
Ulster Orchestra/Tortelier
Chandos CHAN 8952

Masques et Bergamasque

Bright and neo-classical in style, much of this music was compiled in 1918 from early works, such as the ‘Ouverture’ composed 50 years earlier, which the final ‘Pastorale’ wistfully recalls.

Recommended recording:
BBC Philharmonic/Tortelier
Chandos CHAN 9416


Fauré was arguably France’s greatest songwriter at the turn of the 20th century, evident in the luscious beauty of ‘Les roses d’Ispahan’ or the joy and apprehension in the cycle La Bonne Chanson.

Recommended recording:
Elly Ameling, Gérard Souzay; Dalton Baldwin (piano)
Brilliant 92792

Piano Quartet No. 1

The First Piano Quartet is one of his most readily accessible works, charming and gently melancholic music off-set by a sparkling scherzo.

Recommended recording:
Hyperion CDA 66166



daniel jaffe
Daniel JafféJournalist and Critic, BBC Music Magazine

Daniel Jaffé has been associated with BBC Music Magazine since 2004 when he was the reviews editor, working in that post until he went freelance in 2011. Previously he was on the editorial teams of Classic CD and Gramophone. He is a specialist in both Russian and 20th-century British music.