Fauré (1845 - 1924)

“Pelléas et Mélisande”, suite op.80 (19')

In 1898 Gabriel Fauré was commissioned to compose incidental music for Pelléas et Mélisande, a play by Maurice Maeterlinck. After the run of the production of the play with Fauré’s music the composer decided to make a concert version of the incidental music. He adopted three pieces from it to form a suite for orchestra. During the process Fauré realized that he needed to rework these pieces partly because a large portion of them had been orchestrated not by him, but by one of his pupils. Besides reorchestrating the pieces, the composer also altered several sections of the suite to make it more effective as a concert piece. The suite premiered in February 1901. Fauré was apparently not happy with the first performance of it and decided to add another movement (Sicilienne, the current third movement).

[Akira Ishii]