20th January – Ernest Chausson
|Chausson (20th January 1855 – 10th June 1899) is our composer for 20th January, to mark the day of his birth.|
|Lifespan: 44 years|
|Education: Paris Conservatoire|
|Fame Ranking: 5|
Chausson was born in Paris into a well-to-do family. Following his father’s wishes, he initially studied law, and it was only at the relatively late age of 25 that he began classes in composition at the Paris Conservatoire. Chausson was heavily influenced in this period by his teacher, Jules Massenet, who was particularly keen on melodically strong opera and was decidedly Romantic in flavour.
After leaving the Conservatoire, Chausson’s circle of friends and close acquaintances included several names who are well-known today – Debussy, Faure and Monet (the artist) to name but a few. This was an exciting and experimental time in Paris and Chausson’s work from this period shows the influences which eventually led to Impressionism in music – conveying an atmosphere or subtle suggestion of feeling, rather than the full-on display of emotion which was typical in the Romantic era.
Chausson died aged 44. He was killed instantly after crashing his bicycle into a wall. He left behind one Opera “King Arthur”, and one Symphony, in Bb and a number of chamber music pieces.
Here is a recording of Chausson’s “Poeme” Opus 25, which is perhaps his most loved and most famous work, and is a staple part of the repertoire for violinists.
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Listen to more music by Chausson – click the box!