Faure and Kuebler-Ross

Nocturn by Faure, or exactly, piano solo music by him has been a genre in his repertoire I have not listened to much. The other day, I was caught by a clip of his nocturns played by Doyen. Faure has composed 13 nocturns at various stages of his life. The last 3 composed in the end of his life have interested me a lot. Among them, the 13th sounded the real best one to me.

The 13th starts with a fugue of 4 voices. Sounds like standing on a bleak and lonesome hill where cold wind is blowing and sunset is coming soon. Of course, it is not a program music but essentially an abstract music. In the intermideate part, it flows fast. Throughout the music, it utilizes discordants and sometimes sounds close to atonality. What difference from the works in his young days! His music was full of sweet dream and romanticism in the beginning of his composer life. In the late years, he has changed it to this bitter and aparently unaccessible style. I used to be surprised to find this same kind of motion in piano part of his piano trio, not just jest but even insulting to the audience, on the background while the other strings play long lasting melodies with yearning for something. In his last years of life, it seems to me, his mind must be rebellious or desparate to life. Getting through those years, he could reach the calm and serene style of his 2nd piano quintet or string quartet at the very last time of his life.

This idea brought me to "Death and Dying" by a psychiatrist Kuebler-Ross which I have read in young days. Death and dying process had been rarely handled in clinical science until this excellent psychiatrist did in '60s. Her works have been the backbone of hospice movement afterward. She has classified the process of acceptance of death in seriously ill patients into 5 stages. As a psyciatrist for dying patients, she has observed there was always a process of rebellion and denial to their lives. This might be generalized to how to accept senility when unavoidable death looms in the near future. This last works by Faure may reflect that process of rebellion and denial in his life. Despite of its apparently gremacing and difficult outlook, but still beautiful, it may still synchronize our mind through the universality of life as Kuebler-Ross described.

I used to listen mainly his chamber musics in my young days. Those have been a treasure in my life. As I get older, I could understand his these music as it was composed in his later life. Getting older is not always bad but sometimes giving us presents in life.

I will turn to be 70 years of age in 11 days.

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