Gabriel Fauré’s Piano Quartet No. 1, in C minor, Op. 15, is one of the two chamber works he wrote for the conventional piano quartet combination of piano, violin, viola and cello. Despite being in a minor key it is predominantly positive in tone, though with some hints in the slow movement of the emotional turmoil of Fauré’s life at the time of the composition..
In 1877, after wooing her for five years, Fauré had finally become engaged to Marianne Viardot, daughter of the well-known singer Pauline Viardot. The engagement lasted for less than four months, and Marianne broke it off, to Fauré’s considerable distress. It was in the later stages of their relationship that he began work on the quartet, in the summer of 1876. He completed it in 1879, and revised it in 1883, completely rewriting the finale. The first performance of the original version was given on 14 February 1880. In a study dated 2008, Kathryn Koscho notes that the original finale has not survived, and is believed to have been destroyed by Fauré in his last days.
Piano Quartet No. 1 Op. 15