Gabriel Fauré

Élégie for cello & piano or orchestra in C minor, Op. 24

    Description by Adrian Corleonis

    To his publisher Julien Hamelle on June 24, 1880, Fauré wrote, "I was very sorry you could not be at Saint-Saëns' on Monday. My cello piece was excellently received, which greatly encourages me to go on and do the whole sonata." As he entered the decade, Fauré's music became more subtle, allusive, and inward, leaving the style of broadly conceived melodic eloquence -- in which this single movement is couched -- more or less behind. Indeed, the exquisite Ballade, which may be said to have inaugurated this new phase, dates from the year before. This single movement for cello and piano was given its official premiere at the Société Nationale concert of December 15, 1883, by cellist Jules Loëb, to whom it is dedicated. Titled Élégie, it was published by Hamelle the same year. Fauré made an orchestral version of the piece in about 1897, which Hamelle eventually published in 1901. Curiously, as if the Élégie represented unfinished business, the great Andante of the Cello Sonata No. 2 of 1921 is cut from the same cloth.

    The simple grandeur of its ABA layout, in which the most telling melody is allowed to sing without complication, no doubt accounts for the Élégie's phenomenal appeal. Over steady, dirge-like chords, the cello dramatically embarks upon an expansive lament that quietens as it unfolds in tones of somber oration. Then, accompanied by the cello, the piano essays an effusive song -- as of joy recalled in grief -- taken up by the cello to culminate in a sudden vehement (and rather unconvincing) cadenza before the funereal opening returns, shadowed by the central section's plaint, to sing itself into nothingness.

    The Élégie's immediate popularity prompted Hamelle to press Fauré for similar surefire pieces, to which is owed such things as Papillon for cello and piano (1884), the Romance for cello and piano (1894), the Fantaisie for flute and piano (1898), and so on. If Fauré's reputation with a larger public largely rests upon these often heard small numbers, to the detriment of his richer, elusive later works, it is worth noting that he never lost the common touch -- the ability to speak directly and with compelling charm to the least sophisticated.

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2019 Brilliant Classics BRI 95782
    2018 Coviello Classics COV 91729
    2018 Erato 573653
    2018 Erato 573807
    2018 Timpani 1C 1243
    2017 Warner Classics 0190295775155
    2017 Centaur Records CRC 3596
    2017 Leaf Music LM 215
    2017 BIS BIS 2220
    2017 Melodiya MELCD 1002452
    2017 Warner Classics 0190296950322
    2016 Centaur Records CRC 3535
    2016 Alpha ALPHA 228
    2016 Blue Griffin Recording BG 395
    2016 Dacapo 8224727
    2016 Claves 501604
    2016 Claves
    2016 La Dolce Volta LDV 29
    2015 Deutsche Grammophon 4795448
    2015 Hungaroton HCD 32756
    2015 Brilliant Classics 94994BR
    2015 Finlandia 2564603442
    2015 Skarbo DSK 4158
    2015 Hi. Q / Hi-Q Records 45
    2015 Capriccio Records C 5222
    2015 MSR Classics MS 1512
    2015 Brilliant Classics 94934BR
    2014 Seattle Symphony SSM 1004
    2014 CAvi-music 8553314
    2014 Ars Produktion 38752
    2014 Erato 2564636958
    2013 Maguelone MAG 350507
    2013 Brilliant Classics 94659
    2013 Newton Classics 8802214
    2012 Warner Classics 664358
    2012 Danica DCD 8231/32
    2012 Hyperion CDA 67872
    2012 Zig Zag Territoires ZIG 300
    2012 Naïve V 5283
    2012 BIS BIS 1773
    2012 Capriccio Records C 5131
    2011 Brilliant Classics 94098
    2011 LIR Classics LIR 023
    2011 Virgin Classics 5099907087523
    2011 Erato
    2011 Erato / Virgin Classics 509990709212
    2011 Alpha / Alpha Productions ALPHA 600
    2011 AFEA Records / Zebralution
    2011 Warner Classics 2564671859
    2010 Northern Flowers 9979
    2010 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099945748
    2010 Centaur Records 3047
    2010 Decca
    2010 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099968858
    2010 EMI Classics 6483322
    2010 Naxos 8570545
    2010 Naïve V 5255
    2010 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 50999906820
    2010 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 509996886272
    2010 Naïve V 5246
    2010 Shadow Mountain Records 5044704
    2010 Portland Cello Project 3
    2010 Crystal / Crystal Records Dist. 630
    2009 Deutsche Grammophon 4778167
    2009 Deutsche Grammophon
    2009 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099996427
    2009 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099969525
    2009 Timpani / Zebralution
    2009 Timpani 1C1172
    2009 Naïve NC 40008
    2009 Jaro / Zebralution
    2009 Danacord 667/68
    2008 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099921522
    2008 Jaro / Zebralution
    2008 Apex 69510
    2008 Zig Zag Territoires ZZT070602
    2008 EMI Classics 501351
    2008 EMI Classics 2292152
    2008 Ambroisie AM 130
    2008 Arte Nova Classics 304680
    2008 ATMA Classique ACD 23002
    2008 EMI Classics 586597
    2007 Virgin Classics 91381
    2007 Novalis Classics 150719
    2007 Classic Mania 93320
    2007 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 0946397722
    2007 EMI Classics
    2007 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099950416
    2007 Naïve V 5107
    2007 Sony Music Distribution / RCA 714370
    2007 Decca 4758566
    2006 Cavalli 253
    2006 Brilliant Classics 92549
    2006 Brilliant Classics 92141
    2006 Gallo 1188
    2006 Biddulph Recordings 80219
    2006 Philips 4761186
    2006 Haenssler 98212
    2006 Naïve 5036
    2006 Brilliant Classics 99386
    2005 EMI Classics
    2005 Blue Saphir 1048
    2005 Deutsche Grammophon 4745622
    2005 Warner Classics
    2005 Virgin Classics 82046
    2005 Doron Music 3045
    2005 EMI Classics
    2005 SOMM 42
    2005 EMI Classics 76868
    2005 EMI Classics 4768672
    2004 Naïve 4969
    2004 EMI Classics 45646
    2004 Decca
    2004 London/Decca / Decca 2334
    2004 Brilliant 92337
    2004 Camerata Records 28CM670
    2004 Philips / Philips 000167802
    2004 Naïve V-4984
    2004 Cello Classics 1010
    2004 Brilliant 92397
    2003 EMI Music Distribution 67994
    2003 EMI Music Distribution 5679902
    2003 EMI Music Distribution 585279
    2003 Connoisseur Society 4245
    2003 EMI Music Distribution 573503
    2003 Centaur Records 2837
    2003 Deutsche Grammophon 000020902
    2002 Eroica Distribution 3107
    2002 EMI Classics / Denon Records / EMI Music Distribution / Warner Classics 7243562507
    2002 Brilliant 99758
    2001 EMI Music Distribution 569261
    2001 EMI Music Distribution 74840
    2001 Deutsche Grammophon 469268
    2001 CBC Records 5105
    2001 Arte Nova 84217
    2000 RTVE Classics 65119
    2000 Black Box Classics 1005
    2000 Philips / Philips Classics 4681812
    2000 Decca
    1999 EMI Music Distribution / Warner Classics 7243565955
    1999 Calliope 9854
    1999 Danacord 330
    1999 Channel Classics 10797
    1999 Klavier Records 11100
    1999 Philips 464 000-2
    1999 CRD Records 3316
    1999 Opus 111 OPS30-242
    1999 I.L.D. 642119
    1999 Philips 462612
    1999 ATMA Classique 22176
    1999 Ottavo 699865
    1999 Harmonia Mundi HMUK98 6003
    1999 Decca 4663552
    1999 EMI Music Distribution 68805
    1998 Vanguard 80
    1998 Arte Nova / Arte Nova Classics 30468
    1998 Warner Music 3984232742
    1997 Arte Nova 46501
    1996 Orfeo 349951
    1996 Danica 8138
    1996 Testament 1016
    1996 Arts Music 47271
    1996 EMI Music Distribution 56126
    1996 EMI Music Distribution 68745
    1996 John Marks Records 10
    1995 Claves 9601
    1995 RCA 68049
    1995 Chandos 9416
    1995 EMI Classics 724356848528
    1995 Hungaroton 31140
    1995 Valois 4754
    1994 Pavane 7252
    1994 Warner Bros. 94358
    1994 Pearl 9090
    1994 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 7243568132
    1994 Erato 95568
    1994 Erato 4509-94689-2
    1993 Ottavo 79032
    1993 ASV 686
    1993 Bridge BCD9038
    1992 Deutsche Grammophon 435781
    1992 Erato 45116
    1992 Sony Music Distribution 48278
    1991 Erato 45660
    1991 Erato 229245022
    1990 RCA Victor Red Seal / RCA 60697
    1988 Hyperion 66235
    1987 Deutsche Grammophon 423 089-2GH
    Aangenaam Klassiek 1996012
    Opus 111 2582
    CSO Classics
    Forlane 16585
    REM 311213
    Forlane 16573
    Lyrinx 61
    EMI Classics 59061
    EMI Classics 14184
    EMI Music Distribution 62545
    Erato 39137
    Brilliant 92337/4
    Atma 9733
    Meridian Records 434825
    Sirius
    In Classical Mood 12021
    Bridge
    Sony Classical Essential Classics 89536
    Konzertreise 2005
    Analekta 2902
    Fono Enterprise 99356
    Archipel 472
    Brilliant 91079
    Lyrinx 116
    Vox Allegretto 8143
    Panton Records 811005
    Bank Austria 1997
    Deutsche Grammophon 453277
    Poltan Twin Productio 119
    Brilliant Classics 92756