Fauré's talent became clear when he was a small boy. At the age of nine, he was sent to a music college in Paris, where he was trained to be a church organist and choirmaster. Among his teachers was Camille Saint-Saëns, who became a lifelong friend.
The Élégie (Elegy), Op. 24, was written in 1880, and first published and performed in public in 1883. Originally for cello and piano, the piece was later orchestrated by Fauré.
The Heart of the Fauré Elegy is the vivid expression of the wide-ranging emotions that accompany loss; when Fauré was 34, devastated and grieving over his broken engagement to his long-time love. Tonal shifts, the use of dissonance and harmonic ambiguity, and expansive register changes on the cello give this piece tremendous emotional range and depth.