Gabriel Fauré

Nocturne for piano No. 3 in A flat major, Op.33/3

    Description by Robert Cummings

    Published in 1883 along with Nocturnes No. 1 and No. 2, which respectively date to 1875 and 1881, this A flat major effort is the shortest of the three, but in some ways is the loveliest. Like its earlier siblings, it employs the tripartite form used by Fauré in the first two, which follows the Chopin model. This piece allows more sun into its sound world than what most listeners would expect in a nocturne. Yet for all its loveliness, it is not brimming with happy music, either, coming across more as romantic and sweetly reflective. One can, of course, hear it as program music about love, past or present, but there is more serenity than passion here, more tranquility than fire. The main theme is more than vaguely Chopin-esque in its warmth and fluid beauty, the music always seeming on the verge of blossoming into some lovely outpouring of emotion. The middle section features a slightly darker variant on the main theme and works up a greater sense of tension -- tension that gradually melts away. The main theme returns somewhat altered, after which follows a subdued coda to close out this lovely piece. Typical performances of this Nocturne have a duration of about five minutes.

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2014 ATMA Classique ACD 22466
    2014 Hyperion CDS 446014
    2014 Fleur de Son FDS 58023
    2014 ABC Classics 4765328
    2014 Hänssler Classic 98037
    2012 MDG / Zebralution
    2012 Dorian DSL 92158
    2011 RCA Red Seal 886919369120
    2011 MDG 6181626
    2011 Mirare MIR 100
    2010 Brilliant Classics 94035
    2010 Timpani / Zebralution
    2010 Decca
    2006 Endeavour 1014
    2006 Eroica Distribution 3254
    2002 Decca 470246
    2001 John Marks Records 25
    2001 Rca Red Seal 63007
    2000 EtCetera Records 1082
    2000 Rca Red Seal 63043
    1999 Hyperion 67064
    1999 RCA Red Seal 63000
    1998 VAI Audio VAIA1165
    1998 RCA 63185
    1961 Caravelle 42002
    Fanfare 3491
    Allegretto 8722