Cello Sonata No. 1 in D Minor, Op. 109

Cello Sonata No. 1 in D Minor, Op. 109

Cello Sonata No. 1 in D Minor, Op. 109

Gabriel Fauré

Anne Gastinel's masterclass

Produced by the Saline royale Academy French Music sheet annotated by  Anne  Gastinel  is available 38 min Cello

In this cello masterclass, Anne Gastinel and Pierre Fontenelle tackle Fauré's abstract style and writing.

Produced by the Saline royale Academy

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The masterclass

About this masterclass

In this session, student Pierre Fontenelle plays the beautiful Cello Sonata No. 1 in D Minor by Gabriel Fauré with Professor Anne Gastinel to guide and advise him.  

Gastinel underlines the importance of paying attention to parts with three beats and points out the paradoxical and abstract nature of this work because it is a slow movement but must be played fast. One must also combine the “pure” aspect of the music with a more “ethereal” ambiance. 

What we learn in this masterclass

  1. Adding more weight to the first beat. 

  2. Paying attention to the tempo and ambiance. 

  3. Producing and upholding a warm sound. 

  4. Understanding Faurés sometimes abstract notes.  

  5. Playing with enjoyment.  

Cello Sonata No. 1 in D Minor, Op. 109 by Gabriel Fauré

The Sonata No. 1 by French pianist and composer Gabriel Fauré is the first of two sonatas for solo violin. It was written between 1875 and 1876 and was first presented in 1877. It was well-received thanks to its originality mixed with a “formal perfection,” and set the tone for a new kind of French chamber music. Fauré dedicated the sonatas to his friend and future brother-in-law Paul Viardot, a violinist. Its structure is composed of four movements: allegro molto, andante, scherzo and finale. The playing time is about twenty-five minutes.  

  • Date:03 November 2021
  • Producer: Produced by the Saline royale Academy
  • Duration:38 min
  • Spoken language:French

Sheet music

Aim for excellence! You can improve your skills with expert advice. Download the annotated sheet music of this cello masterclass. Please note that this piece has been annotated in accordance to Anne Gastinel’s feedback and comments.

Sheet music cello sonata no. 1 in d minor, op. 109

Anne Gastinel

Anne  Gastinel

At the age of 18 she won the first prize in the Scheveningen competition.

Anne Gastinel won numerous prizes in major international competitions (Scheveningen, Prague, Rostropovitch) and began to appear all over Europe, making a lasting impact on the general public in the 1990 Eurovision Competition.

Unanimously recognized as an ambassador of the French cello school, she was selected to play for the term of one year: the legendary Matteo Gofriller cello that once belonged to Pablo Casals. In 2006, Anne Gastinel was awarded the Victoire de la Musique in the category of ‘Soloist of the Year’ and ‘Best Recording’

Her career now takes her to perform in the leading venues all over Europe, as well as Japan, China, South Africa, Brazil, Indonesia, Canada, and the United States. She has appeared with great masters such as Yehudi Menuhin, Mstislav Rostropovich, and Kurt Sanderling. As a soloist, she regularly performs with the Orchestre National de France, Orchestre National de Lyon, Hr-Sinfonieorchester (Frankfurt), Orchestre Philharmonique Royal de Liège, Orchestre National Bordeaux Aquitaine, Orchestre Symphonique de Bretagne, among others.

Furthermore, as a chamber musician, she plays with Claire Désert, with whom she has recorded many albums (Poulenc, Franck, Schubert, Schumann…), with the Quatuor Hermès, Nicholas Angelich, Andreas Ottensamer, David Grimal and Philippe Cassard; Xavier Philipps and many other French cellists. For nearly 15 years, her recordings have received the highest distinctions. Her recording (Naïve) dedicated to  Beethoven’s Triple Concerto with Nicholas Angelich, Gil Shaham, Paavo Jarvi and the Hr-Sinfonieorchester received the ‘Choc’ of Classica magazine. Since then, she has continued to explore the extensive cello repertoire with her accomplices.

She has been teaching at the CNSMD of Lyon since 2003.


Gabriel  Fauré

Gabriel Fauré was a French composer, organist, choirmaster, and teacher born in 1845 in the southern town of Pamiers. He was sent to Paris to study music at the age of 9 and started teaching and playing the organ in churches after completing his studies. Post education, Fauré continued to earn a living as a teacher, but wrote little music. Eventually, he wedded and had two sons, however he began to pursue a hedonistic lifestyle of a Parisian artist: attending events in the evenings, chain-smoking, and frequenting women, much to the dismay of his wife. Only after Fauré started a passionate love affair with a woman named Emma Bardac did the musician begin to write again.  

Fauré was eventually appointed head of the Conservatoire de Paris, and the public increasingly recognized his compositions. Unfortunately, his health and hearing declined, and eventually succumbed to pneumonia at the age of 79. Among his most established works are the String Quartet in E minor, Op 121, Nocturnes, Piano Quintets, Piano Quartets No. 1 and No. 2, Cello Sonata No 2 in G minor, Op 117, Complete Songs, Vol 2, Requiem and Ballade, Op 19. In total, he won five prizes from the Académie française: the Prix Montyon for Heures d'Ombrie in 1908; the Prix Jules Davaine for Sur la vie Emilia in 1911; the Prix Marcelin Guérin for Paysages littéraires in 1918; the Prix Alfred Née in 1930; and the Grand Prix de Littérature for the entirety of his creative output in 1941.


Photo credit: Paul Nadar

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