Author Topic: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.  (Read 54333 times)

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Offline Catison

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Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
« Reply #260 on: July 27, 2021, 06:46:17 PM »
The Roussel and Martinů connection is spot-on and with good reason: Roussel taught Martinů. The interesting thing about Roussel is how his style developed from Impressionism not far removed from Debussy or Ravel into a mixture of Impressionism/Neoclassicism and then finally becoming a full-fledged Neoclassicist, but with a bit of a harder-edged sound to him that set him apart from Stravinsky or even Hindemith. As for works from Martinů that show a Roussel influence, I’d point to ballets like The Butterfly that Stamped, Checkmating the King and The Revolt, but also works like Half-time and Thunderbolt P-47. The chamber works also show some Roussel influence from time to time like the Piano Quintets, Piano Quartet, Nonet et. al. But, after all is said and done, both composers have their own unique voices. Of course, I can spot Martinů’s music a mile off. With Roussel, it’s a bit tougher to figure him out, but I think keeping those stylistic phases of his in mind should help or, at least, they helped me anyway.

Thank you.  I was thinking of the other way around though: what are Roussel pieces that prefigure Martinu's sound?
-Brett

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
« Reply #261 on: July 27, 2021, 07:10:40 PM »
Thank you.  I was thinking of the other way around though: what are Roussel pieces that prefigure Martinu's sound?

Ah, okay. Well, to me, there are a few like Evocations, Op. 15, Le Festin de l’araignée, Op. 17, but let’s think of both composer’s chronologically for a second: Martinů’s unique voice didn’t come until the early 1920s around the time he started studying with Roussel. And most of Roussel’s more well-known works were composed in the late 20s/30s when Martinů had already formed his recognizable style. I say this with complete respect to Roussel, but Martinů sounds like he was the one who ended up influencing Roussel. It should be noted that Roussel himself was a late starter in composition as he spent a good portion of his earlier life as a Naval officer only later deciding to become a composer. Martinů, on the other hand, was already writing before he studied with Roussel in the mid-to late 1910s. Roussel didn’t fully develop into that hard-edged Neoclassicist until the late 1920s and I’m thinking here of his Symphony No. 3 in G minor, Op. 42 or the Concerto for Small Orchestra, Op. 34 for example, so after Martinů wrote works like Who is the Most Powerful in the World? or Le Raid merveilleux (although this work is actually contemporaneous with Roussel’s Concerto for Small Orchestra). So as you can see, there isn’t really such a thing within Roussel’s own music as ‘proto-Martinů’ because the composer’s mature style was formed after Martinů found his own voice.
« Last Edit: July 27, 2021, 07:13:40 PM by Mirror Image »
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Offline Catison

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Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
« Reply #262 on: July 29, 2021, 05:16:23 PM »
Ah, okay. Well, to me, there are a few like Evocations, Op. 15, Le Festin de l’araignée, Op. 17, but let’s think of both composer’s chronologically for a second: Martinů’s unique voice didn’t come until the early 1920s around the time he started studying with Roussel. And most of Roussel’s more well-known works were composed in the late 20s/30s when Martinů had already formed his recognizable style. I say this with complete respect to Roussel, but Martinů sounds like he was the one who ended up influencing Roussel. It should be noted that Roussel himself was a late starter in composition as he spent a good portion of his earlier life as a Naval officer only later deciding to become a composer. Martinů, on the other hand, was already writing before he studied with Roussel in the mid-to late 1910s. Roussel didn’t fully develop into that hard-edged Neoclassicist until the late 1920s and I’m thinking here of his Symphony No. 3 in G minor, Op. 42 or the Concerto for Small Orchestra, Op. 34 for example, so after Martinů wrote works like Who is the Most Powerful in the World? or Le Raid merveilleux (although this work is actually contemporaneous with Roussel’s Concerto for Small Orchestra). So as you can see, there isn’t really such a thing within Roussel’s own music as ‘proto-Martinů’ because the composer’s mature style was formed after Martinů found his own voice.

Thanks.  I never thought of teacher and student influencing each other in such a way.  For me Roussel is definitely the closest sound to Martinu that I have heard, and after listening to so much Martinu, I was astounded that no one picked up his sound world and continued his style.  (I often wonder the same thing about Prokofiev too.)
-Brett