String Quartet (Fauré)
The String Quartet in
The quartet is in three movements, the last movement combining the functions of
When Fauré was director of the
Throughout his career Fauré had composed for chamber forces. His works by 1923 included two piano quartets, two piano quintets, a piano trio, two violin sonatas, two cello sonatas and numerous smaller-scale chamber pieces. He had, however, always declined to attempt a string quartet. His pupil
The first movement of the quartet to be completed was the central andante, which he wrote at Annecy between 9 and 13 September 1923. The music critic Roger Nichols comments that the sober, meditative tone of the andante is reflected in the two other movements that Fauré wrote later. After returning to Paris, Fauré began work on the first movement, for which he reused two themes from an unfinished violin concerto that he had begun and abandoned in 1878. He resumed work on the piece in the summer of the following year, first at Divonne-les-Bains and finally at Annecy, where he had begun work on it a year earlier. When the three movements were finished, he contemplated adding a separate scherzo, but decided against it, telling his wife, "The quartet is completed, unless I decide to have a little fourth movement which might have a place between the first and the second. But since it is in no way a necessity I shall not tire myself by searching for it, at least not at the moment."
The quartet was premiered after Fauré's death; he declined an offer to have it performed privately for him in his last days, as his hearing had deteriorated to the point where musical sounds were horribly distorted in his ear.