Barcarolle No.4

Gabriel Fauré

Barcarolle No.4 in Ab major

Op. 44

About this work

By the time Fauré had written this barcarolle, he had produced a fairly substantial body of piano and other compositions. Yet his keyboard works still occasionally exhibited hints of Chopin's influence, as this A flat major work demonstrates. That said, it can hardly be called derivative or imitative in style, or be assessed as a less worthwhile effort. Dedicated to composer Ernest Chausson's wife, this barcarolle is one of Fauré's neglected treasures. The work opens with a lovely, subdued melody whose mellow sense of flow imparts as much a feeling of soaring lazily amid white clouds as floating on calm blue waters. The accompaniment is soothing, almost mesmerizing in its gentle rocking manner, the theme ethereal and serene. The music constantly builds toward greater animation and expressive color, even if its accruing tension always imparts a benign sense in its caressing swirls and delicate cascades of notes. In the end, one can see this as a quite colorful piece whose gossamer sonorities and luminous mists both seduce the ear and hearten the spirit. Lasting about four minutes, this barcarolle will appeal to a wide audience.