To celebrate International Women’s Day which was on March 8th, the women of All Saints Fulham Choir took centre stage at Evensong on Sunday 11th March. The anthem was Ave Verum Corpus from the French composer Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924).
Fauré was one of the leading composers of his day. He was steeped in church music from a young age. He was sent to Paris to the École de Musique Classique et Religieuse (School of Classical and Religious Music) – now called L’Ecole de Niedermeyer — from the age of 9. When he was 16, Camille Saint-Saëns became his piano teacher and Fauré was introduced to contemporary music from composers such as Schumann, Lizst and Richard Wagner.
After he graduated, Fauré was an organist in Paris at various churches – assistant to Charles-Marie Widor at Eglise Saint-Sulpice, then assistant to Saint-Saëns at Eglise de la Madeleine. He supplemented his income with private teaching, until he became Head of the Paris Conservatoire.
Fauré was forced to retire aged 75 due to increasing hearing loss. He died in Paris from pneumonia in 1924. He was given a state funeral at the Église de la Madeleine and is buried in the Passy Cemetery in Paris.