Friday, November 10, 2006

Hey, that's my man!

Heck, The Guardian's done it Joe Queenan's Classical Music Primer has reached 'E is for English music, F is for FAURE'. Faure, according to Joe, is one of the few 19th century composers 'who wasn't a jerk' and he also says 'anybody who doesn't fall in love with Faure on first hearing has completely wasted his life'. You said it, buddy. I fell in love with Faure half way up the school stairs: the choir was rehearsing the Requiem, I had no idea what it was ...and I wouldn't be here now but for that. (Book still available, incidentally.)

I disagree with a few crucial points in Joe's piece: Faure IS one of the all-time greats, his music is not 'slight', just delicate and subtle, and he doesn't sound remotely like Chopin but does occasionally risk a rather peculiar similarity to, of all people, Elgar (in fact they had the same English patron and the same style of moustache, so the distance isn't as great as one might think).

Other 19th-century non-jerks include Brahms, who was a jolly good bloke if a bit brusque; Schubert, who didn't live long enough to become a jerk; and dear old Mendelssohn, who sounds as adorable as his music.