Opus 50

Composer: Gabriel Fauré

Transcribed: Richard K. Hansen

Composition Notes

Fauré originally conceived the Pavane for piano in 1880. In the summer of 1887 he composed the orchestral version at Le Vésinet. Fauré envisaged a purely orchestral composition, using modest forces, to be played at a series of light summer concerts conducted by Jules Danbé. After Fauré opted to dedicate the work to his patron, Elisabeth, Countess Greffulhe, he felt compelled to stage a grander affair, and at her recommendation he added an invisible chorus to accompany the orchestra (with additional allowance for dancers).

The orchestra version was first performed in a Concert Lamoureux conducted by Charles Lamoureux on November 25, 1888. Three days later, the choral version was premiered at a concert of the Société Nationale de Musique. In 1891, the Countess finally helped Fauré produce the version with both dancers and chorus, in a "choreographic spectacle" designed to grace one of her garden parties in the Bois de Boulogne.

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