Fauré’s last short piece for cello and piano was the Sérénade
, composed in 1908, possibly as a gift to Casals on his engagement to the Portuguese cellist Guilhermina Suggia (the two were never married). The piece is unequivocally middle-period Fauré, with its unsettled harmonies, interweaving melodic lines and refusal to fall into tidy compartments. Casals wrote to the composer: ‘The Sérénade
! it’s delicious—every time I play it, it seems new, it’s so attractive.’ And indeed it reveals its beauties only with repeated playing or listening.
from notes by Roger Nichols © 2012