Tune of the Day: Morceau de Concours
Gabriel Fauré was appointed professor of composition at the Paris Conservatoire in 1896, and it was natural that the great flutist Paul Taffanel, who also taught there and was a great friend of his, should turn to him for a concours composition, which turned out to be the famous Fantaisie, Op. 79. For the same occasion Fauré also composed a brief sight-reading piece, properly titled “Morceau de lecture”, that would provide a good test of musicianship.
The latter, which according to some sources was composed on Bastille Day, July 14, 1898, is a mere arabesque dutifully spun out in the requisite scales, arpeggios and mordents, the apt execution of which demonstrates proficiency. This functional exercise plays out slowly over a spare piano accompaniment for about a minute and a half.