Masterclass: Fauré Violin Sonata no.1 in A major, first movement
Violinist Fenella Humphreys discovers the intricate patterns that make up a work full of colour and contrast, and how their interplay shapes performance
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When people talk about the great composers, too often Fauré is not on the list. He faced negative bias at the beginning of his professional life when people were much more likely to buy and listen to music by German composers. But with the publication and performance of this sonata and the First Piano Quartet, his career blossomed. Saint-Saëns was unstinting in his praise of this work after its premiere in Paris in 1877, writing: ‘This Sonata has everything that will seduce the gourmet: novel forms, exquisite modulations, uncommon tone colours, the use of the most unexpected rhythms, and hovering above all this is a magic that envelops the whole work and brings the masses of ordinary listeners to accept the wildest audacities as something perfectly natural.’…