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Cello Journey #26, Faure Sicilienne

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In this episode we play the Sicilienne by the French composer Gabriel Faure. I recently went on a trip to Quebec and had a chance to eat some great French meals. As a result, I did a bit of French cooking myself. I noticed that the common theme in this type of cooking is how ingredients tend to fit well together. A sauce will fit everything else that is on the plate. Flavors and textures go in and out of each other to create a greater whole. This piece is similar in that its melodies fade in and out of each other. Harmonies, colors and textures blend well together and undergo subtle changes. I hope you can sense that in the music.


  1. Great Ross and Luke. I played this song in February and didn’t like it much. However, your recording has shed new light on it. I never quite realized the “blending” you described before. Keep up the great work!

  2. I really appreciate your music and especially this music is one of my favorites.
    And your own interpretations of the music are really helpful in understanding them.
    I’m looking forward to seeing your new episodes^^

  3. I love this! I want it! Thank goodness I have a birthday coming up. Very well done you guys. Great job changing Patrick’s feelings toward the piece. 😉

  4. Pyo Rene and Patrick – I really appreciate your comments. I spend quite a bit of time looking at the score to try to do everything the composer writes.

    Lauren – Thanks. I am sure Ross will read your comment.

    Madeline – Happy Birthday ahead of time!

  5. Thanks for your service to the cello community for posting these videos. I use them for inspiration and for observing your technique.

    I am curious as to the technical aspects of creating and posting videos when quality of sound reproduction is so important (more than video quality). What can you tell us regarding the sampling rate and compression used in creating a YouTube post? What are the differences in the video formats that you have posted on your Website (Quicktime, Youtube, Hipcast, etc.) Which is the best format in your view?

    No offense to Ross, but to my ears the sound quality of the cello is reproduced much better than that of the piano. I have the impression that due to its vast range and complex harmonics, the piano is really hard to record at low sampling frequencies.

  6. Hi again – another great rendition of a favourite piece. I recently got my second cello and it’s inspired me onwards at a time I was getting a bit ‘stuck’. Hearing you two play shows me both how far I have to go and how much I want to continue to try to get there. Thanks again guys.

    PS – recently met bunch of Canadians on holiday in Ireland – what a lovely lot you are!!

  7. Jeff – The original is basically CD quality but depending on how you put it on the internet, different things happen to it.

    YouTube takes your video and adds noise reduction and some compression. That affects both the sound of the cello and piano. I think it is designed more for spoken voice rather than for music. It is also meant to remove the hissing sound from some camcorders. I think the bit rate is indeed lower. All these things can affect the sound.

    The other versions are better. They preserve the sound of the cello and piano better. I think the best one is the one from iTunes. It is closest to the original.


  8. Zara – Great that you are keeping going with the cello. I know what you mean about getting ‘stuck’. I think it happens to everyone at some point.

    I have to visit Ireland some time. I have a good friend who lives there. I also had a chance to hear the Celtic Tenors recently. I thought they were outstanding.


  9. Thank you both so much for your wonderful music. I’m a 60 yr old beginning cellist, and to see and hear such fine musicianship is just so encourageing. Can’t wait for your next piece, the Arpegione sonata maybe ?

  10. Ray – Nice to hear from you. The Arpeggione is a great piece and I think we will definitely get to it at some point. Have fun at the cello.


  11. Again another excellent rendition of a Faure great! I think Faure was, and indeed still is, a very underrated composer!

    What I particularly like about Faure’s works is that he never neglected the piano. His piano accompaniments were written to compliment the solo instrument, as opposed to merely accompanying and they often require a technically talented pianist at the helm too!

    I always felt as a cellist that the big four Faure Cello pieces (all played on this site), Elegie, Sicilienne, Apres Un Reve and Papillon all had that extra zest partly due to the very interesting piano accompaniments. Ross does them justice too!!!!!!!!!

    Do you have any other Faure recommendations for Cello and Piano apart from these four?

  12. Alan – Thank you. I agree with you about Faure. He really was a great composer. You know I think there are many other very nice pieces. There are two that I find particularly interesting, the Berceuse and the Serenade.


  13. Could you please record Faure’s berceuse.
    I am busy working on this partition and I don ‘t find any recording.
    Thank you very much, it could be very helpfull.
    Juliette, 14 years old, France.

  14. The berceuse is a very cool piece. I really like the melody. Hopefully we will play it some time.


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