Author Topic: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.  (Read 58858 times)

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Offline Brian

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Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
« Reply #220 on: March 26, 2019, 10:54:03 AM »
I got my copy of Erato's "Albert Roussel Edition" yesterday and thought I would share some thoughts since it hasn't been much discussed on storefronts online or here at GMG.

It's a mostly white box except for that cover -



The sleeves inside all have fake/mocked-up artwork in the style of old Erato covers. I think what they did was took the original LP cover for one of the recordings on the CD, then added all the other stuff on the CD to the artwork text. It's kind of a classy solution, honestly - you get visually appealing jackets and you also get full 75 minute CDs. Full track lists and recording details are on the backs of every paper sleeve, which is nice (and something EMI was too lazy to do with its "Icons" boxes).

There is one solo instrumental CD (mostly piano but also harp and guitar), one chamber, 6 orchestral, 1.5 CDs of songs, and then at the end of the 2 CDs devoted to Padmavati, they've added a bunch of recordings of Roussel himself conducting and playing piano. My memory isn't perfect but I think Symphony 1 is Dutoit, 2 is Martinon, and 3 and 4 are Munch. Martinon does a lot of the heavy lifting in the orchestral stuff. Andrew Litton is the pianist for Joueurs de flute.

I didn't read the booklet essay but it appears to be a broad overview of the composer and his works, 3-4 pages iirc. In general, this has been very classily done and I look forward to much happy listening to it. Also makes me more likely to buy new Warner/Erato box sets in the future.

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
« Reply #221 on: March 26, 2019, 10:56:42 AM »
Yes, indeed, Brian. I received my set today and I concur with your assessment. Erato did a nice job with the presentation of the set.
"Works of art create rules; rules do not create works of art." - Claude Debussy

Ghost of Baron Scarpia

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Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
« Reply #222 on: March 26, 2019, 11:22:30 AM »
I suspect I have the majority of recordings in this edition. The one omission in my Roussel collection is the solo piano music, of which I have none. Worthwhile?

Offline Jo498

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Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
« Reply #223 on: March 26, 2019, 12:09:13 PM »
Looks like a good box. Unfortunately, a few years too late for me. I have enough Roussel (incl. the Padmavati and Aeneas + Bacchus recordings contained in the box) for now and am not sufficiently interested in the odds and ends I am missing to get it. Unless it gets really cheap later on. ;)
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
(Bob Dylan)

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
« Reply #224 on: March 26, 2019, 12:40:59 PM »
The only stuff I want to hear are the chamber and solo piano works (which are available in convenient complete sets); maybe the songs.

Yeah, because orchestral music is, to use your word, ‘pompous’. ::)
"Works of art create rules; rules do not create works of art." - Claude Debussy

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
« Reply #225 on: March 26, 2019, 12:48:45 PM »
The issue I have with this right now is I can’t rip it via iTunes because there’s absolute no track information available. I guess I’ll have to wait awhile. I’m certainly not going to be typing in everything by hand, especially given the fact that there’s 11 discs.
"Works of art create rules; rules do not create works of art." - Claude Debussy

Ghost of Baron Scarpia

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Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
« Reply #226 on: March 26, 2019, 12:53:54 PM »
The only stuff I want to hear are the chamber and solo piano works (which are available in convenient complete sets); maybe the songs.

Now that you mention it, the songs are potentially of interest. (I usually am not attracted to classical singing, but French art song seems to be a common exception). Chamber music and Orchestral I have in various sets and individual discs.

Offline Brian

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Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
« Reply #227 on: March 26, 2019, 01:14:58 PM »
Now that you mention it, the songs are potentially of interest. (I usually am not attracted to classical singing, but French art song seems to be a common exception). Chamber music and Orchestral I have in various sets and individual discs.
I have a 3 CD Roussel chamber music set on Brilliant. I can post more info about this box tonight when home. I think I saw some big names in the song listings.

Offline Jo498

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Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
« Reply #228 on: March 26, 2019, 01:35:22 PM »
I have a 3 CD Roussel chamber music set on Brilliant. I can post more info about this box tonight when home. I think I saw some big names in the song listings.
I also have the 3 CD chamber set on Brilliant; it seems more comprehensive than the chamber section of the big box. Another reason for me to skip the box. (Another one is that I usually don't like French singing...)
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
(Bob Dylan)

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
« Reply #229 on: March 26, 2019, 01:42:40 PM »
Orchestral music is just not my cup of tea.

Fair enough, but if you ever change your mind, give Schoenberg’s Five Pieces for Orchestra a listen or Webern’s Symphony. Both unbelievable works that, although you can tell are written for an orchestra, the way they are orchestrated is nothing short than brilliant.
"Works of art create rules; rules do not create works of art." - Claude Debussy

Ken B

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Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
« Reply #230 on: March 26, 2019, 01:52:47 PM »
Now that you mention it, the songs are potentially of interest. (I usually am not attracted to classical singing, but French art song seems to be a common exception). Chamber music and Orchestral I have in various sets and individual discs.
I have the EMI songs box. The songs are of interest.

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
« Reply #231 on: March 26, 2019, 01:56:22 PM »
I am very familiar with those works, in fact, op. 21 is a favorite of mine.  But Webern treated the orchestra much like several chamber groups.  It is the big romantic works which are a turn off to me - but I am not all or nothing.  I will occasionally listen to Mahler or something of that nature. Just much less often than chamber music and/or solo piano.

Thanks for the clarification, San Antone. I’m with you on the huge Romantic works as I’ve grown out of them and prefer something more streamlined. Like you, I listen to a lot of chamber music and solo piano music these days and have found so much of this music to be deeply fulfilling.

Edit: Another reason as to why I don’t listen to much orchestral music these days is because I’ve heard so much of it the past 10 years that I reached a stage of almost burnout. So for the past 2 years, I’ve been listening to more and more chamber music and over the past year, I’ve become really interested in solo piano music. The only thing I just can’t get into are organ works and this is because I’m not a fan of the instrument as I prefer the piano.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2019, 02:06:13 PM by Mirror Image »
"Works of art create rules; rules do not create works of art." - Claude Debussy

Ken B

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Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
« Reply #232 on: March 26, 2019, 01:57:30 PM »
I am very familiar with those works, in fact, op. 21 is a favorite of mine.  But Webern treated the orchestra much like several chamber groups.  It is the big romantic works which are a turn off to me - but I am not all or nothing.  I will occasionally listen to Mahler or something of that nature. Just much less often than chamber music and/or solo piano.
You mean Bloatasauruses like Gurre Lieder, Alpine Symphony, La Valse, Turangalila, Symphony of a Thousand, Sinfonia Domestica?

Ghost of Baron Scarpia

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Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
« Reply #233 on: March 26, 2019, 02:04:33 PM »
I am very familiar with those works, in fact, op. 21 is a favorite of mine.  But Webern treated the orchestra much like several chamber groups.  It is the big romantic works which are a turn off to me - but I am not all or nothing.  I will occasionally listen to Mahler or something of that nature. Just much less often than chamber music and/or solo piano.

Probably you shouldn't entirely write off Roussel orchestra music. The the last two symphonies and the Sinfonietta there is a neo-classical vibe that might appeal to you.

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
« Reply #234 on: March 26, 2019, 02:09:03 PM »
You mean Bloatasauruses like Gurre Lieder, Alpine Symphony, La Valse, Turangalila, Symphony of a Thousand, Sinfonia Domestica?

Be that as it may, I still find Gurre-Lieder to be of high interest and one of the most remarkable Late-Romantic works in the repertoire. The guy ripped Wagner a new one in the last section Des Sommerwindes wilde Jagd. There’s nothing quite like it.
"Works of art create rules; rules do not create works of art." - Claude Debussy

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
« Reply #235 on: March 26, 2019, 02:10:17 PM »
Like the joke, "what do you call a thousand lawyers at the bottom of the ocean?" - a good start.

 :laugh:
"Works of art create rules; rules do not create works of art." - Claude Debussy

Offline Brian

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Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
« Reply #236 on: March 26, 2019, 05:29:30 PM »
Now that you mention it, the songs are potentially of interest. (I usually am not attracted to classical singing, but French art song seems to be a common exception). Chamber music and Orchestral I have in various sets and individual discs.

41 songs, about 2 hours' worth - Colette Alliot-Lugaz soprano, Kurt Ollmann baritone, Mady Mesple soprano, Jose van Dam bass baritone. (Van Dam sings 14.) Dalton Baldwin plays piano and there are two songs with flute accompaniment instead (Patrick Gallois).

There are some other rarities and oddities in the set:

A Glorious Day - performers: Musique des Gardiens de la Paix and Desire Dondeyne
Le Bardit des Francs - for male choir, brass, and percussion - Chorale Elisabeth Brasseur and the Conservatoire Orchestra (mono)
couple fanfares and choral pieces I'd never heard of

Ghost of Baron Scarpia

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Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
« Reply #237 on: March 26, 2019, 07:14:12 PM »
41 songs, about 2 hours' worth - Colette Alliot-Lugaz soprano, Kurt Ollmann baritone, Mady Mesple soprano, Jose van Dam bass baritone. (Van Dam sings 14.) Dalton Baldwin plays piano and there are two songs with flute accompaniment instead (Patrick Gallois).

There are some other rarities and oddities in the set:

A Glorious Day - performers: Musique des Gardiens de la Paix and Desire Dondeyne
Le Bardit des Francs - for male choir, brass, and percussion - Chorale Elisabeth Brasseur and the Conservatoire Orchestra (mono)
couple fanfares and choral pieces I'd never heard of

Presumably they simply included this set:



which is out of print, but already in my shopping cart (used).

Offline Daverz

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Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
« Reply #238 on: March 26, 2019, 07:59:42 PM »
Looks like a good box. Unfortunately, a few years too late for me. I have enough Roussel (incl. the Padmavati and Aeneas + Bacchus recordings contained in the box) for now and am not sufficiently interested in the odds and ends I am missing to get it. Unless it gets really cheap later on. ;)

I already have all the Martinon and Cluytens recordings and the String Quartet with the Via Nova.   Some of the other stuff looks interesting, and the Evocations is not available outside a big Plasson box.  Even though I have the Chandos recording of Evocations, I'd like to hear this one.  EDIT: Ah, I see some copies on Amazon now, maybe folks unloading duplicates.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2019, 08:23:17 PM by Daverz »

Offline pjme

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Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
« Reply #239 on: March 26, 2019, 11:46:52 PM »
"Sadly neglected" is maybe a bit much. But it would be great to hear his works more often in the concert hall.
His 150th birthday is getting some attention (cfr. the Erato box) and - on his birthday, in Paris:

Conférence sur l’écriture et l’oeuvre d’Albert ROUSSEL
PARIS, SALLE CORTOT
Vendredi 5 avril 2019 à 18h
“L’Univers poétique d’Albert Roussel”
Conférence par Damien TOP, biographe et grand spécialiste d’Albert ROUSSEL, directeur du CIAR Centre International Albert Roussel

Le Marchand de sable qui passe + Sérénade opus 30

Textes de G. Jean-Aubry et poèmes de Henri de Régnier
avec Michel Favory, sociétaire honoraire de la Comédie Française

Ensemble Instrumental : École Normale de Musique de Paris
Direction : Daniel Kawka

+ Exposition dans le hall de la Salle Cortot


Damien Top's website: http://ciar.e-monsite.com/pages/festival/festival-2019/

Dutch Radio PhO will perform Evocations (James Gaffigan cond.) in september 2019 and the third symphony (Otto Tausk cond.) in March 2020. Le festin de l'araignée is scheduled for november 2019 (David Robertson), the fourth symphony for march 2020 (James Judd).

I'll check Belgian orchestras later.