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Faure’s long, slow, withdrawing roar

June 26, 2010

Being asked to make a radio programme on Faure’s only string quartet – his last work, written at almost 80, rekindled my fascination (obsession?) with this amazing and under-appreciated composer. The image of him as a charming but superficial composer is just about as perfectly wrong as it could be.

Recently, I’ve been completely drawn into the strange and haunting world of his later Nocturnes, for piano solo.  Last year I put together with Michael Hurley a performance of five of them, interleaved with dark, soul-searching poetry from Manley Hopkins, Tennyson, Hardy, Rossetti and Arnold – we performed it in Robinson College chapel in near-darkness amidst pools of candle-light, at 10pm on a Monday evening in November, and to our amazement, got a full house.  Now I’m putting on the programme again in the lovely space of Emmanuel UR Church as part of the Cambridge Summer Music Festival.  I’m thrilled to be performing alongside two wonderful readers: Robin Kirkpatrick and Rebecca Stott.

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