Gabriel Fabre

  • Born
    1858
  • Died
    1921
  • Birthplace
    France
Gabriel Fabre was a French musician. He is little known today, although he held an important position in the Parisian Symbolist circles at the end of the nineteenth century. More closely linked to literary than musical milieux, his talent was recognized by the most important poets of his time. His works-short melodies or pieces for piano inspired by the texts of Verlaine, Mallarmé, Moréas, Maeterlinck (whose poetry was first set to music by Fabre), Laforgue and Charles Cros-were played in all of the salons of the late nineteenth century. Well known in the artistic world, Fabre had the covers of his musical scores designed by artists such as Signac, Lepère, Charpentier, Léandre, Le Sidaner. Bringing together all available sources, this article reconstructs the life and work of an original figure: his modesty and the simplicity of his music allowed him to share a relationship of subtle complementarity with the Symbolist poets. The work of Fabre can best be understood in the particular context which lies outside of the official history of music: the search for meaning and form which preoccupied the élite Symbolist writers seeking, as Mallarmé expressed it, at "reprendre à la musique son bien".

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