Masques et Bergamasques

By Gabriel Faure
Composed in 1919

Fauré was commissioned to write the music for this suite by Prince Albert I of Monaco in 1919 as accompaniment to a choreographic divertissement. This “staged entertainment” was inspired by a Paul Verlaine poem and premiered in Monte Carlo.

In 1920, Fauré arranged the music as a four-movement suite. It consists of a Mozartian overture; a menuet and gavotte in faintly baroque style, and a final pastorale.

Of interest from a composition point of view is that the first three movements were, essentially, orchestrations of earlier works that Fauré had composed for piano some 50 years earlier. The dreamlike, wistful pastorale was composed in 1919, just 5 years before his death.