Barcarolle No.6

Gabriel Fauré

Barcarolle No.6 in Eb major

Op. 70

About this work

Though this is one Fauré's shorter barcarolles -- lasting three minutes or so in most performances -- it is generally considered one of his more subtle creations in the genre. It has the necessary ingredients that would make it a recital staple, from its thematic appeal to its light, sunny mood. Rarely, in fact, has the composer written a happier, more ingratiating work for solo piano. Yet this E flat major effort has not risen to the popularity of some of the other barcarolles. The work opens with a perky, colorful theme that brims with joy and playfulness in its short, stop-and-start phrases. A second theme soon appears, a demure melody that is subdued at the outset, but which takes on a somewhat quirky manner in its contrasts in dynamics where quiet, graceful statements are answered by loud outbursts. The main theme returns, bright and sunny, full of confidence and even exhibiting a sense of nonchalance. Gradually, it turns subdued and playful, and the piece quietly closes. In the end, one must assess this as one of the composer's lighter but more successful barcarolles.