Gabriel Fauré Quotes

Gabriel Fauré is widely considered one of France’s greatest composers, whose refined and gentle music influenced the course of modern French music. He served as president of the Paris Conservatory from 1905 to 1920.

“If that was music, I have never understood what music was.” – Gabriel Fauré
After the premiere of Debussy’s opera “Pelleas and Melisande” in 1902.

“To know an art really well, one must know everything about it, both its origins and its development.” – Gabriel Fauré
As quoted in At the Piano with Gabriel Fauré (1963) by Marguerite Long, p. 25

“Now, there are some periods of music, some pitches of which I can hear nothing… of my music as well as of others. I feel that there is on my shoulders nothing more than a terrible cloak of misery and discouragement.” – Gabriel Fauré
Private letter, dated August 1903, discussing Fauré’s encroaching deafness; as quoted in At the Piano with Gabriel Fauré (1963) by Marguerite Long, p. 26

“Imagining is trying to formulate all one would wish to be better, all that surpasses reality.” – Gabriel Fauré
As quoted in At the Piano with Gabriel Fauré (1963) by Marguerite Long, p. 79

“How many times have I asked myself what use music is? And what am I translating? What feelings? What ideas? How can I express something I do not understand myself?” – Gabriel Fauré
Private letter, as quoted in At the Piano with Gabriel Fauré (1963) by Marguerite Long, p. 25

“If one has not heard Wagner at Bayreuth, one has heard nothing! Take lots of handkerchiefs because you will cry a great deal! Also take a sedative because you will be exalted to the point of delirium!” – Gabriel Fauré

“For me, art, and especially music, exist to elevate us as far as possible above everyday existence.” – Gabriel Fauré

“There’s no place for padding in piano music, one has to pay in cash and make it consistently interesting. It is perhaps the most difficult genre of all, if one aims to be as good as possible – as I certainly do.” – Gabriel Fauré

“But Lortat, I’m not in the habit of attracting crowds.” – Gabriel Fauré
Consoling a disappointed Robert Lortat in June 1914 after the pianist had given a sparsely attended recital of Fauré’s work, as quoted in Gabriel Fauré: A Musical Life (2005) by Jean-Michel Nectoux and Roger Nichols, pp. 388-389

“And I always enjoy seeing sunlight play on the rocks, the water, the trees and plains. What variety of effects, what brilliance and what softness… I wish my music could show as much diversity.” – Gabriel Fauré
Private letter, as quoted in At the Piano with Gabriel Fauré (1963) by Marguerite Long, p. 67

“As to the piece I have started, it will only be the fiftieth or more of my piano pieces that, with rare exceptions, pianists allow to pile up without playing…that has been their lot for twenty years.” – Gabriel Fauré
Private letter, summer 1913, regarding the Tenth Barcarolle; as quoted in At the Piano with Gabriel Fauré (1963) by Marguerite Long, p. 78

“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.” – Gabriel Fauré

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