Gabriel Fauré composed his Barcarolles over several decades, in much the same way he wrote the Nocturnes, Impromptus, and other short pieces throughout his career; as a result, these evocative miniatures represent the development of his mature style, from the early Chopinesque parlor pieces to the more ambiguous reveries of the late period. Dating from 1880 to 1921, the Barcarolles were not originally conceived as a set, and weren't organized by key relationships or any other unifying musical device, yet they still have a consistency of mood and style expressed through the use of rolling compound meters, lush harmonies, and shimmering arpeggios that create feelings of light, calmness, and voluptuousness. Michael Endres brilliantly captures the gentle elegance and sublimity of these character pieces, and because he plays with a refinement that stops well short of preciosity, the performances convey sentiment without a trace of sentimentality, and exude a sophistication that at times seems quite modern, suggestive of Poulenc avant la lettre. Oehms' recording is clear and mildly resonant, though levels tend to be a bit low, so some adjustment of the volume may be necessary.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson