Performance Thursday, March 26, 2015 | 7:30 PM

Richard Goode and Friends

Zankel Hall
Pianist Richard Goode’s “fluid, often tempestuous performances had the twin virtues of fidelity to the scores and the sense of freshness that comes of an in-the-moment approach to phrasing,” said The New York Times. Goode anchors an ensemble that explores the expressive power and vivid color of music by three early–20th-century French masters. Debussy’s Cello Sonata in D Minor has a compelling, austere beauty, while abundant melody flows and passion roils throughout Fauré’s Second Piano Quartet.


  • Richard Goode, Piano
  • Ieva Jokubaviciute, Piano
  • Itamar Zorman, Violin
  • Kyle Armbrust, Viola
  • Brook Speltz, Cello


  • DEBUSSY Six épigraphes antiques
  • DEBUSSY Cello Sonata in D Minor
  • FAURÉ Andante from Violin Sonata No. 2 in E Minor, Op. 108
  • RAVEL La valse
  • FAURÉ Nocturne in D-flat Major, Op. 63
  • FAURÉ Piano Quartet No. 2 in G Minor

At a Glance

This evening’s program surveys a formative period of French musical history, as represented by three composers who spearheaded the transition from the Romanticism of the late 19th century to the modernism of the 1920s. Born in 1845, Gabriel Fauré displayed a strong iconoclastic streak that made him an outlier in France’s notoriously conservative musical establishment. But by the time Maurice Ravel—his junior by 30 years—enrolled as Fauré’s pupil at the Paris Conservatoire in 1897, the older composer was well on his way to being eclipsed by Claude Debussy, whose revolutionary approach to form, harmony, and sonority began to be widely felt at the turn of the 20th century.

If there was no love lost between Fauré and Debussy—Debussy dismissed Fauré as a “master of charms,” while Fauré deplored Debussy’s “disastrous” influence on the younger generation—their attitude toward Ravel was marked by mutual respect. Indeed, many common threads run throughout the three men’s works. Echoes of the waltz-like finale of Fauré’s early Piano Quartet in G Minor can be heard 35 years later in Ravel’s La valse. The innovative approach to the piano illustrated by Debussy’s Six épigraphes antiques owes a debt to techniques that Fauré had brought to fruition two decades earlier in his Nocturne in D-flat Major. And the sonatas for cello and violin that Debussy and Fauré wrote, respectively, during World War I reflect the composers’ unwavering allegiance to the traditional French virtues of clarity and refinement.
This performance is part of Chamber Sessions II.