Albert Roussel

Biography

Born: April 5, 1869; Tourcoing, Departement du Nord, France   Died: August 23, 1937; Royan, France  
Though less well known than his contemporaries Ravel and Debussy, Albert Roussel is nevertheless regarded as one of the most important figures in early twentieth century French music. Roussel's music reflects his efforts to explore new possibilities of expression while remaining faithful to traditional musical ideas; evident in his chamber music and works for the stage, this tension between traditionalism and experimentation is particularly Read more successful in his symphonies.

Born into an affluent family, Roussel lost both his parents when he was very young, and was entrusted to the care of his grandfather at age seven; in 1880, the grandfather died, and a maternal aunt took over the responsibility of raising the boy. Although he was interested in music, Roussel decided to pursue a naval career; he graduated from the Ecole Navale in 1889, eventually serving in Indochina as an officer.

In 1894, however, Roussel resigned his commission, devoting himself completely to music. He went to Paris, where he studied with the composer and organist Eugene Gigout. Four years later, he began studies with Vincent d'Indy at the newly-founded Schola Cantorum. In 1902, although he had not yet completed his studies, Roussel became professor of counterpoint at the Schola Cantorum.

Having already composed several significant works (including his Piano Trio and the First Symphony), Roussel married Blanche Preisach in 1908; the following year, the two traveled to India, where he was exposed to the medieval Hindu legend of Queen Padmavati, who sacrificed her life for love. Fascinated by this story, Roussel decided to set it to music (his opera, Padmåvatî, 1923).

At the outbreak of World War I in 1914 Roussel applied for active duty, eventually obtaining an artillery commission; after the war, having retired to Perros-Guirec on the coast of Brittany, he focused on unfinished projects, which included the opera-ballet Padmåvatî. This work, which incorporates elements of traditional Indian music, marked a new period for Roussel, whose earlier compositions showed influences of Impressionism.

During the 1920s, Roussel struggled to balance an increasing structural complexity with emotional expressiveness in his works. His Second Symphony, completed in 1921, exemplifies this tension; in Roussel's subsequent works, the listener can also detect elements of neo-Classicism.

In 1922, Roussel settled in Vasterival, in the coast of Normandy. Despite increasingly frail health, he devoted much of his energy to composing; he completed the Piano Concerto in 1927. His increasing public esteem is evidenced by a festival entirely devoted to his works in Paris (1927) as well as a commission from the Boston Symphony Orchestra for that organization's 50th anniversary (Third Symphony, 1930); Roussel traveled to the United States for the performance.

Works composed toward the end of Roussel's life, such as the String Quartet (1931-1932), the Fourth Symphony (1934), and the String Trio (1937), show his melodic idiom to be enriched by elements of chromaticism and polytonality. In these compositions, Roussel managed a successful synthesis of these new elements with the transparency of his earlier style. Read less
Franck: Symphonie;  Roussel: Symphonie No 3 / Bernstein
Release Date: 06/25/2007   Label: Dg Masters  
Catalog: 445512   Number of Discs: 1
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There are 160 Albert Roussel recordings available.

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Works

Albert Roussel


MOST POPULAR WORKS
Prelude -
A garden - The spider sits in her web - She surveys her surroundings -
Entrance of the ants - They find a rose petal -
With great effort they lift the petal and carry it away -
The spider daydreams and watches the garden -
The spider mends her web -
Entrance of the dung beetles
The ants return ... a butterfly appears -
Dance of the butterfly -
The spider invites the butterfly to dance closer to her web -
The butterfly is caught in the web and struggles - Death of the butterfly -
The spider rejoices - The spider frees the butterfly from her web and takes it to her larder -
The spider dances -
Suddenly fruits come crashing down -
Entrace of the fruit worms -
Warlike entrance of 2 praying mantises -
The ants circle -
The mantises challenge each other to a duel - The mantises fight -
The mantises become caught in the web - The spider dances -
Hatching of the mayfly -
The dance of the mayfly -
The mayfly stops, exhausted - The insects pay their respects - He rejects their advances -
The ants leave -
The works come out of the fruit -
Dance of the mayfly and the fruit worms -
Death of the mayfly -
The spider prepares to begin her feast, but one of the mantises, freed from the web, slips behind the spider and kills her -
Death throes of the spider -
Funeral of the mayfly -
The funeral cortege sets off and disappears into the distance - Night falls on the deserted garden.
I. Allegro vivo
II. Adagio - Andante - Adagio molto
III. Vivace
IV. Allegro con spirito
I. Lento - Allegro con brio
II. Lento molto
III. Allegro scherzando
IV. Allegro molto
WORKS
I. Prelude
II. Introduction: Entree d'Aeneas
II. Introduction: Danse des ombres
III. Les Epreuves d'Aeneas: La Solitude
III. Les Epreuves d'Aeneas: Apparition de la Sibylle
III. Les Epreuves d'Aeneas: Les Joies funestes
III. Les Epreuves d'Aeneas: Interlude (Variation 1)
III. Les Epreuves d'Aeneas: Les Amours tragiques: Danse de Didon
III. Les Epreuves d'Aeneas: Interlude (Variation 2)
III. Les Epreuves d'Aeneas: Le Passe: Danse guerriere
III. Les Epreuves d'Aeneas: Interlude (Variation 3)
III. Les Epreuves d'Aeneas: Danse d'Aeneas
IV. Hymne final - Le Peuple romain
Prelude
Jeux des ephebes et des vierges (Game of the young men and maidens)
Danse du labyrinthe (Dance of the Labyrinth)
Bacchus apparait deguise (Bacchus appears, disguised)
Il fait tournoyer au-dessus d'elle son manteau noir (He whirls his black mantle over her)
Thesee et ses compagnons se precipitent sur Bacchus (Theseus and his companions rush upon Bacchus)
Les nuages s'accumulent dans le ciel (The clouds gather)
Les nuages se dissipent, le soleil reparait (The clouds disperse, the sun re-appears)
Danse de Bacchus (Dance of Bacchus)
Ariane, toujours endormie, prend part a la danse avec Bacchus (Ariadne, still asleep, dances with Bacchus)
Bacchus depose Ariane sur le rocher (Bacchus sets Ariadne down on the rock)
I. Allegro
II. Andante
III. Presto
I. Graves, legeres
II. Joyeuses
III. Tragiques
IV. Champetres
I. Pan
II. Tityre
III. Krishna
IV. Mr de la Péjaudie
Prelude -
A garden - The spider sits in her web - She surveys her surroundings -
Entrance of the ants - They find a rose petal -
With great effort they lift the petal and carry it away -
The spider daydreams and watches the garden -
The spider mends her web -
Entrance of the dung beetles
The ants return ... a butterfly appears -
Dance of the butterfly -
The spider invites the butterfly to dance closer to her web -
The butterfly is caught in the web and struggles - Death of the butterfly -
The spider rejoices - The spider frees the butterfly from her web and takes it to her larder -
The spider dances -
Suddenly fruits come crashing down -
Entrace of the fruit worms -
Warlike entrance of 2 praying mantises -
The ants circle -
The mantises challenge each other to a duel - The mantises fight -
The mantises become caught in the web - The spider dances -
Hatching of the mayfly -
The dance of the mayfly -
The mayfly stops, exhausted - The insects pay their respects - He rejects their advances -
The ants leave -
The works come out of the fruit -
Dance of the mayfly and the fruit worms -
Death of the mayfly -
The spider prepares to begin her feast, but one of the mantises, freed from the web, slips behind the spider and kills her -
Death throes of the spider -
Funeral of the mayfly -
The funeral cortege sets off and disappears into the distance - Night falls on the deserted garden.
Prelude
Scene 2
Interlude - Scene 4
Final Scene
Padmâvatî, Act I: Prélude
Padmâvatî, Act I, Scene I: Le Sultan des Mogols a passé la troisième porte
Padmâvatî, Act I, Scene II: A, A!... Souverain d'un peuple florissant
Padmâvatî, Act I, Scene II: War Dance
Padmâvatî, Act I, Scene II: Dance of the Slave Girls
Padmâvatî, Act I, Scene II: Ce sont les femmes du palais
Padmâvatî, Act I, Scene III: Elle mont au ciel où rêve le printemps
Padmâvatî, Act I, Scene III: Aux armes...Il est trop tard
I. Aubade
II. Pastorale
III. Mascarade
Roussel: 3 pièces pour piano, Op.49 - 1. Allegro con brio
Roussel: 3 pièces pour piano, Op.49 - 2. Allegro grazioso
Roussel: 3 pièces pour piano, Op.49 - 3. Allegro con spirito
No. 1. Rossignol, mon mignon
No. 2. Ciel, aer et vens
I. Danse au bord de l'eau
II. Promenade sentimentale en foret
III. Retour de fete
I. Allegro
II. Andante
III. Presto
I. Allegro molto
II. Andante
III. Allegro
I. Modere
II. Tres lent
1. Prelude
2. Sarabande
3. Gigue
I. Prelude
II. Sicilienne
III. Bourree
IV. Ronde
I. Foret d'hiver
II. Renouveau
III. Soir d'ete
IV. Faunes et dryades
Symphony No. 2 in B flat major, Op.23 (2006 - Remaster): Introduction et allegro (lent - animé - modéré)
Symphony No. 2 in B flat major, Op.23 (2006 - Remaster): Scherzo (modéré - lent - modéré)
Symphony No. 2 in B flat major, Op.23 (2006 - Remaster): Adagio et finale (très lent - modérément animé)
I. Allegro vivo
II. Adagio - Andante - Adagio molto
III. Vivace
IV. Allegro con spirito
I. Lento - Allegro con brio
II. Lento molto
III. Allegro scherzando
IV. Allegro molto


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