The piano music of Gabriel Fauré
is among his best known work. Written between the 1860s and the 1920s, Fauré
's major sets of piano works are thirteen nocturnes
, thirteen barcarolles
, six impromptus
and four valses-caprices.
These sets display the change in his style, over the decades, from uncomplicated youthful charm to a final enigmatic but sometimes fiery introspection, by way of a turbulent period in his middle years. His other notable piano pieces, including shorter works, or collections composed or published as a set, are Romances sans paroles, Ballade in F♯ major, Mazurka in B♭ major, Thème et variations in C♯ major, and Huit pièces brèves. For piano duet, Fauré composed the Dolly Suite and, together with his friend and former pupil André Messager, an exuberant parody of Wagner in the short suite Souvenirs de Bayreuth.
Much of the ambidextrous Fauré's piano music is difficult to play, but it is rarely virtuoso in style. The composer disliked showy display, and the predominant characteristic of his piano music is a classical restraint and understatement.
An ink-and-wash illustration of a stucco relief on a building in Palenque, a Maya city in southern Mexico that flourished in the 7th century, but was abandoned around 800. It was first discovered by European explorers in the 16th century, but remained mostly unexplored until 1773. This particular piece was likely constructed during the long reign of K'inich Janaab' Pakal (mid-7th century), and is thought to depict Mayan ancestral rulers or the parents thereof. The standing figure holds a sceptre in the left hand, and in the right, a length of material. The seated figures adopt a posture of submission or deference, with hands placed on opposite shoulders.