Romances sans paroles
Composed by Gabriel Faure (1845-1924). Edited by Roy Howat. This edition: Urtext. Sheet Music. Edition Peters #EP7711. Published by Edition Peters (PE.P07711).
Item Number: PE.P07711
Following the release in 2003 of the Urtext Peters Edition publication of Faure's Piphces brphves (EP 7601), the eminent French music specialist Roy Howat has taken an in-depth look at another lesser-known collection of piano pieces by Gabriel Faure - Romances sans paroles - to reveal further treasures. Romances sans paroles is French for 'Lieder ohne Worte' or 'Songs without words'. Faure's only three pieces in the genre, suggesting a youthful homage to Mendelssohn, were his first piano pieces to be published. Exactly when he composed them is uncertain, though most of his biographers suggest it could have been any time from 1863 onwards (the year he turned eighteen). In fact the Romances sans paroles are not easy, given the pianist's dual occupation with complex accompaniments and melodies that sometimes echo imitatively across voices. (Faure was ambidextrous, and the pieces might be viewed in several ways as etudes.) It was thus not surprising that they soon became as popular, if not more so, in arrangements by Jules Delsart for violin or cello accompanied by piano, published by Hamelle in 1896. Whether on Delsart's or Hamelle's initiative, these transcriptions bowdlerise many of Faure's more daring passing harmonies, especially in the second Romance, the music's full adventurousness, manifest in the piano version, has therefore been long masked from many listeners and performers. (Roy Howat)