95. Albert Charles Paul Marie Roussel [365 Composers for 2013]


5th April – Albert Roussel

Roussel (5th April 1869 – 23rd August 1937) is our composer for 5th April, to mark the day of his birth.
Nationality: French
Lifespan: 68 years
Genre: 20th century
Education: Privately
Fame Ranking: 5

Roussel, unlike most of the composers in this series, did not become interested in music until he was in his twenties. His first love was mathematics, and his first career was in the French Navy. As a seaman, he spent several years in the East, in particular in Vietnam, and the oriental culture he found himself in was to influence his future compositions considerably.

In 1894 he embarked on his musical studies, taking private lessons for over a decade. After some time he himself also began teaching, and his pupils included Varese and Satie. Like many others in France at that time, Roussel was heavily influenced by impressionism, the current fashion. His own style was more heavily orchestrated than that of Debussy and Satie, while not as dense as the German works of the same era. Roussel lies somewhere between the two.

Roussel was well respected as a composer in his own time, but his works have mostly not entered the general classical repertoire.

Here is the first movement from Roussel’s 3rd symphony:


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