Impromptu No.1

Gabriel Fauré

Impromptu No.1 in Eb major

Op. 25

About this work

This early Fauré work came at a time when the composer was still, to one extent or another, under the spell of Chopin. Here, the influence of that master is heard both in form -- free though it is -- and in sound. That said, the voice of Fauré is still the dominant one, emerging from the Polish composer's imposing shadow in writing that divulges his typically gentle and subtle manner, his sense of elegance and quirkiness, and his harmonic individuality. This Impromptu opens in a restless mood in the piano's lower ranges, some sort of eruption seeming imminent. But an agitated theme appears, with flashes of a brighter atmosphere in its short phrases, and soon the mood turns optimistic. Virtuoso pianist of the past Alfred Cortot saw in this music a sort of animated barcarolle-like character. In the middle section, a new theme appears and exhibits an almost Lisztian joy and glitter in its delicate, lively colors. The theme and agitated mood from the opening return for a reprise, but do not have the last say, as a rather weary rendition of the middle section theme is heard, after which this four-minute gem quietly closes.