About this work
Composed in May 1883, between the First Valse-Caprice and the blithely ardent Third Nocturne, Fauré's Second Impromptu is a brilliantly nonchalant tarantella which gives way, over a still voluble accompaniment, to one of those breathtaking lyrical felicities with which his early and middle period works are studded. A virtuosic return of the opening whirl brings again the lyrical flight of confiding rapture, set off now by the tarantella's melodic outline, to finish with a dazzling flourish. Scintillant, charming, and superficial, Alfred Cortot noted that "It is, actually, the scheme of the first Impromptu -- but a little more individualized and nearer to the perfect model of the third." The Second and Third Impromptus were given their premières by Saint-Saëns at a Société Nationale concert of January 10, 1885.