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The Music Room => Composer Discussion => Topic started by: Superhorn on September 15, 2008, 11:35:07 AM

Title: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Superhorn on September 15, 2008, 11:35:07 AM
    It's  a  shame  that  Albert  Roussel (1869 - 1937 ),   has  been  overshadowed  by  his  French
contemporaries  Debussy  and  Ravel.  Perhaps  his  music  lacks  the  immediate  sensuous   surface  appeal  of  these  two,  but   Roussel's  music  may  actually  have  more  depth  and  substance,  as  heretical  as  this  may   sound  to  some.
    He  was  not   an  impressionist  composer ;  in  fact,  his   highly   individual   music  is  difficult  to
pidgeonhole,  like  his  great  Danish  contemporary  Carl Nielsen. 
    Roussel's  music   is  rugged  and  forthright,  with   pounding  rhthms  and  pungently   dissonant 
harmonies.  There  is  no  affected  Gallic  chi-chi-  and  frou-frou  in  it.
    The   compact  and  brilliant  3rd  symphony  is  occaisionally  heard   at  concerts,  but   his other  works   
are  unfortunately  rarely  heard,  although  there  have  been  a  fair  number  of  recordings.
     The  relatively  early  first  symphony , in  which  each  movement  represents  one  of  the  four  seasons,  still  shows   the  influence  of  Debussy ,  is   an  attractive  work,  but  the  craggy  and   austere
second   takes  some  getting  used  to.   The  fourth  is   also  compact  and  energetic,  like  the  third.
     The   colorful  balet  score  Bacchus   et  Ariane   would  make  a  welcome   change   at  concerts
from  Ravel's  Daphis  et  Chloe,  and  the  ballet   The  Spider's  Feast  is  an  intriguing   score   which 
portrays  a  spider  which  preys  on  insects   in  a  garden.
    Evocations,  in  three  parts,  with  chorus  and  soloists  in  the  third,  is  a  dazzling   evocation
of  Roussel's   visit  to  the  great  temples  of  Indochina.
     The  Suite  in  F  for  orchestra  is  an  invigorating  work.
    The  great  Opera/Ballet  Padmavati,  premiered  in  1923  by  the  Paris  opera,  but  rarely   revived 
subsequently   is  a  fantastically  colorful  and  exotic  tale  of  India   during  the  Mughal   conquest.
    Roussel  had  spent  time   visiting  India  with  his  wife,  and  the  opera   incorporates  Hindu  scales
and  captures  the  authentic  local  color  far  better  than  such  entertaining  but   faux   Indian
operas  such  as  Delibes'   Lakme   and  Bizet's  The  Pearl  Fishers.
    This  rarely  heard  masterpiece  was  revived  this  March  in  Paris  to  considerable  acclaim,  and
one  hopes   it  will  appear  on  DVD.
    Do  not  miss  the  superb  EMI  recording  which  has  recently  been   reissued,  with  Marilyn
Horne, Nicolai  Gedda  and  Jose  van  Dam,  conducted   by  Michel  Plasson.
     Roussel's  orchestral  music  has  been  recorded  by   such  eminent  conductors   as    Jean  Martinon
(a  pupil ),  Charles  Munch,  Charles  Dutoit,  Marek Janowski,  Yan  Pascal  Tortelier,  Neeme   Jarvi
and  others.  These  recordings  may  not  all  be  available,  but  are  worth  looking  for.
    If  any  composer   ever  deserved  to  be  better  known,  Albert   Roussel  is  one  of  them.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Dundonnell on September 15, 2008, 11:52:44 AM
I totally agree with you! Roussel is indeed a composer who merits a lot of respect and, certainly, more exposure.

Your excellent post covers most of his principal works but I would also mention the fine Sinfonietta for strings and the very seldom performed Piano Concerto as pieces which repay careful listening.

There have been a number of recent recordings to add to those you mention. Eschenbach and the Orchestre de Paris have recorded the symphonies for the Finnish label Ondine to mixed reviews but there is also a very good Naxos cycle with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra under its bright new principal conductor, the Frenchman Stephane Deneve, which has, to date, encompassed the 2nd and 3rd symphonies and is certainly worth sampling.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Dundonnell on September 15, 2008, 12:03:36 PM
Oh, and I should have added this cracking Timpani CD-

http://www.musicweb-international.com/classRev/2004/Oct04/Roussel_psalm80.htm

Splendid, dramatic, at times barbaric choral pieces which show Roussel in a thoroughly unbuttoned vein :) :) Highly recommended to those who like a good wallow in choral splendour :)
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Brewski on September 15, 2008, 12:05:56 PM
I was a little surprised we didn't have a Roussel thread already, but there you go.  I am particularly fond of Bacchus et Ariane and Le Festin de l'araignée (The Spider's Feast), two wonderful scores.  Not sure at the moment which recordings I have of these...

Since I don't have many recordings, I'll be looking at the suggestions here with interest.

--Bruce
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Dundonnell on September 15, 2008, 01:36:15 PM
I was a little surprised we didn't have a Roussel thread already, but there you go.  I am particularly fond of Bacchus et Ariane and Le Festin de l'araignée (The Spider's Feast), two wonderful scores.  Not sure at the moment which recordings I have of these...

Since I don't have many recordings, I'll be looking at the suggestions here with interest.

--Bruce

Yan Pascal Tortelier's recording for Chandos of these two ballet scores takes some beating imo.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Sergeant Rock on September 21, 2008, 07:20:59 AM
I'm looking forward to hearing the Third Symphony next month at Severance Hall. Marc Minkowski is conducting the Cleveland.

Sarge
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: The new erato on September 21, 2008, 07:23:26 AM
I'm looking forward to hearing the Third Symphony next month at Severance Hall. Marc Minkowski is conducting the Cleveland.

Sarge

Minkowski with the Clevelanders? What's the world coming to? My favorite Lully and Gluck conductor?
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Sergeant Rock on September 21, 2008, 07:29:59 AM
Minkowski with the Clevelanders? What's the world coming to? My favorite Lully and Gluck conductor?

Odd, isn't it. Should be "interesting."

One week earlier the Cleveland has this programmed:

Thursday, October 23, 2008 at 8:00 PM
Saturday, October 25, 2008 at 8:00 PM
Sunday, October 26, 2008 at 3:00 PM

Severance Hall

Bach & Handel
The Cleveland Orchestra
Nicholas McGegan, conductor
William Preucil, violin
Desmond Hoebig, cello
Joshua Smith, flute
Frank Rosenwein, oboe

Rameau: Suite from Naïs
Bach: Brandenburg Concerto No. 3
Bach: Sinfonia concertante in C major
Handel: Music for the Royal Fireworks

Sarge
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Drasko on September 21, 2008, 07:50:07 AM
Minkowski with the Clevelanders? What's the world coming to? My favorite Lully and Gluck conductor?

He conducted Bruckner with Dresden Staatskapelle earlier this year, The Pink Cat seems to have quite liked it - review (http://www.brucknerfreunde.at/forum/konzertkritiken/6393-bruckner-0-minkowski-staatskapelle-dresden-dresden-14-6-08-english.html).
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: vandermolen on September 21, 2008, 09:18:13 AM
Roussel, yes, an interesting composer. Symphony 3 and 4 are my favourites, since I owned them on a Decca Eclipse LP decades ago.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Homo Aestheticus on September 21, 2008, 09:55:59 AM
Superhorn,

There  is  no  affected  Gallic  chi-chi-  and  frou-frou  in  it.

Um, excuse me but would you please explain what you mean by... "Gallic chi-chi and frou-frou" ?   

Which pieces do you have in mind ?   

:-[
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: some guy on September 21, 2008, 01:58:00 PM
Superhorn,

Um, excuse me but would you please explain what you mean by... "Gallic chi-chi and frou-frou" ?   

Which pieces do you have in mind ?   

:-[

Haha! Good one, AP. I was just about to ask the same question, then I got to your post.

So now ya got two of us asking, Superhorn! >:D
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: karlhenning on September 21, 2008, 02:19:29 PM
Which pieces do you have in mind ?   

Not to change the subject back to the topic, but . . . Eric, have you heard any Roussel?
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: karlhenning on September 21, 2008, 02:20:40 PM
I was a little surprised we didn't have a Roussel thread already, but there you go.  I am particularly fond of Bacchus et Ariane and Le Festin de l'araignée (The Spider's Feast), two wonderful scores.

These remain on my "To See To" list, Bruce . . . and I should revisit the symphonies, in all events, too.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Homo Aestheticus on September 21, 2008, 03:37:18 PM
So now ya got two of us asking, Superhorn! >:D

Yeah, and what does the word 'frou-frou' mean anyway ?

???

Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Homo Aestheticus on September 21, 2008, 03:40:13 PM
Not to change the subject back to the topic, but . . . Eric, have you heard any Roussel?

Not a single note I'm afraid....  :-[    Although I do have an unwrapped CD (EMI) of Karajan conducting his Third Symphony (?) somewhere on my shelf.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: karlhenning on September 21, 2008, 04:29:42 PM
Not a single note I'm afraid....  :-[    Although I do have an unwrapped CD (EMI) of Karajan conducting his Third Symphony (?) somewhere on my shelf.

Crack it open! Give it a shot!
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Superhorn on September 22, 2008, 05:21:30 AM
   What  I  meant  about  chi-chi  is  that some  French  composers ,such  as  Poulenc,  have aimed  at  a  certain  light, breezy,elegant  way  of  writing  music  and  are  determined  to  avoid  teutonic   weightiness,  profundity, pomposity  and  turgidity  at  all  costs. 
   This  has  sometimes  led  to  a  kind  of  affected,  mincing  preciosity.  I  think  Poulenc  is  the  perfect  example  of  this.  I  have  always  found   his  music  irritatingly  cutesy-pie.  Roussel's  music  has  no  preciosity;  it  is  rugged  and  forthright.  I  by  the  way,  I  don't  think  there's  anything  wrong  with   Teutonic  profundity.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: karlhenning on September 22, 2008, 05:23:53 AM
A determination to avoid turgidity can only be applauded, of course.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Dundonnell on September 22, 2008, 05:55:02 AM
   What  I  meant  about  chi-chi  is  that some  French  composers ,such  as  Poulenc,  have aimed  at  a  certain  light, breezy,elegant  way  of  writing  music  and  are  determined  to  avoid  teutonic   weightiness,  profundity, pomposity  and  turgidity  at  all  costs. 
   This  has  sometimes  led  to  a  kind  of  affected,  mincing  preciosity.  I  think  Poulenc  is  the  perfect  example  of  this.  I  have  always  found   his  music  irritatingly  cutesy-pie.  Roussel's  music  has  no  preciosity;  it  is  rugged  and  forthright.  I  by  the  way,  I  don't  think  there's  anything  wrong  with   Teutonic  profundity.

I think that Jean Francaix probably falls into this category too :)
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: pjme on September 22, 2008, 12:57:58 PM
Yeah, and what does the word 'frou-frou' mean anyway ?

???



(http://www.allosupermarche.be/files/frou-frou.gif)  Vanilla cookies "Frou frou" ( a fluffy,crispy cooky)

(http://blobs.shoppay.be/products/192-81165271692007122-39163R.jpg) a red wig with "frou frou" ( = a pony)

(http://humeurs.h.u.pic.centerblog.net/2ufkhgjs.jpg) La Goulue : dentelles et frou frou (lace, frills & ribbons)

Voilà! if you add cheap jewelry,fake pearls, a (fake) Chanel bag and overpowering perfume it becomes easily "chi chi" - fake chic.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Dundonnell on September 22, 2008, 01:05:37 PM
Nice to hear from you again, Peter :)

Have you been busy with work?
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: pjme on September 22, 2008, 01:33:43 PM
Thanks- and yes, since July I have a different job - not that easy at my age...! I'll tell more tomorrow - now it's bed time!

And don't forget Roussel's pianoconcerto - a short powerful work with a haunting slow movement!

Peter



Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Dundonnell on September 22, 2008, 03:43:38 PM
I completely agree with you about the Piano Concerto :)

There are some composers who produced a single Piano Concerto but are not particularly remembered for doing so(Rimsky-Korsakov and Scriabin also jump to mind). Roussel's piano concerto deserves better than such a fate.

Seek out this disc if it is still available-
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on September 22, 2008, 04:26:58 PM
    It's  a  shame  that  Albert  Roussel (1869 - 1937 ),   ....
What the heck is wrong with your text editor or whatever is using? You would think by the upteenth post you would have that fixed already. It is extremely annoying.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: karlhenning on September 23, 2008, 02:29:42 AM
I completely agree with you about the Piano Concerto :)

There are some composers who produced a single Piano Concerto but are not particularly remembered for doing so (Rimsky-Korsakov and Scriabin also jump to mind).

Igor Markevich, too.

Delighted to learn that there is a Roussel piano concerto worth investigating, thanks, lads!
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: pjme on September 23, 2008, 06:43:13 AM
(http://cover6.cduniverse.com/MuzeAudioArt/270/277568.jpg) Symphony nr 1 + pianoconcerto

This Belgian performance (Cyprès) is available at CD Universe. Soloist Jan Michiels is really an outstanding artist.

I've sung the exotic charms of "Evocations" before - 3 portraits of Indian cities . The last part is a magnificent choral/orchestral paean.
do try it ( good versions on Supraphon and EMI)

P.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Dundonnell on September 23, 2008, 07:50:53 AM
Giving "Evocations" another go on my system as I write, Peter. Had forgotten what a magical work it is :) :)

Do you know the Timpani disc I wrote about on Page 1?
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: pjme on September 23, 2008, 09:28:13 AM
I have that Timpani disc - very fine indeed. Timpani is issuing many excellent recordings. Recently a short opera by Pierné "Sophie Arnould" (coupled with a neo baroque Ballet de cour) and more chambermusic by Jean Cras.
Speaking of short operas : "Hélène" by saint saens has been recorded in Australia. It gets good reviews. Saint Saens wrote 13 ( or 15...) operas and only Samson et Dalila is known at all.....

Peter
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Hector on September 24, 2008, 05:49:36 AM
I have that Timpani disc - very fine indeed. Timpani is issuing many excellent recordings. Recently a short opera by Pierné "Sophie Arnould" (coupled with a neo baroque Ballet de cour) and more chambermusic by Jean Cras.
Speaking of short operas : "Hélène" by saint saens has been recorded in Australia. It gets good reviews. Saint Saens wrote 13 ( or 15...) operas and only Samson et Dalila is known at all.....

Peter

That's on the Bonynges label...Melba!
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: SonicMan46 on September 24, 2008, 08:13:37 AM
Just wanted to get into this thread to see what recommendations are offered!  :)

For myself, I checked and had more than expected, all on bargain sets:

Symphonies w/ Janowski & the French Radio PO - 2-CD set; seems to be available on Amazon only on their marketplace?

Chamber Music w/ many performers; 3-CD bargain set from Brilliant Classics!

Ballets/Orchestral Pieces w/ Martinon; 2-CD value on Erato Ultima -  :)

(http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/ciu/1e/49/024c225b9da0f18a5751b010._AA200_.L.jpg)  (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51HYATr1FNL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)  (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/5122VZ997HL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: The new erato on September 26, 2008, 08:28:09 AM
Oh, and I should have added this cracking Timpani CD-

http://www.musicweb-international.com/classRev/2004/Oct04/Roussel_psalm80.htm

Splendid, dramatic, at times barbaric choral pieces which show Roussel in a thoroughly unbuttoned vein :) :) Highly recommended to those who like a good wallow in choral splendour :)
I just ordered it. crotchet.co.uk have a Timpani promotion lasting two more days, stumbled across it accidentally and remebered your post.

Added this:

(http://www.mdt.co.uk/public/pictures/products/standard/1C1129.jpg)

to make it really interesting!
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: pjme on September 28, 2008, 12:12:57 PM
That Honegger disc is propably really fine - and at least very interesting - I haven't heard ity.
The Concerto da camera ( flute, english horn & strings) is Honegger at his finest : poetical, pastoral - with a sad & serious undertone that is absolutely captivating. I've had an old Melodya LP with Honegger's "Le dit des jeux du monde" - played by an ensemble from St Petersburg....IIRC.
It's scored for a small orchestra ( flute/piccolo, trumpet, 4 percussion and strings. The percussion is quite "basic" : timpani, bass drum, cymbals, small drum, triangle and a bouteillophone - a set of bottles ,filled with water, so that they can be tuned;) - but do not expect highly charged music ( Sacre, Milhaud's Choéphores, l'Homme et son désir...). There's more early SChönberg in it ,or ...Wagner!
In 1918, when he wrote this music for a spectacle , based on text by a young ( symbolist) Belgian poet, Paul Méral, it was perceived as very strange, awkward.
It's a set of 10 dances ( or dance-ike fragments), lasting ca 45 mins., with 2 interludes and and an epilogue. 

Peter
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Dundonnell on September 28, 2008, 12:35:40 PM
Speaking of Honegger..are you aware of this 2 disc set which I expect to be coming my way this week-

http://www.mdt.co.uk/MDTSite/product/NR_October08/8570979.htm
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: The new erato on September 28, 2008, 12:39:51 PM
Speaking of Honegger..are you aware of this 2 disc set which I expect to be coming my way this week-

http://www.mdt.co.uk/MDTSite/product/NR_October08/8570979.htm
Yes - I think I have a previous Naxos issoue of some film music as well. And there's a new Hyperion issue:

(http://www.mdt.co.uk/public/pictures/products/standard/CDA67688.jpg)

that I'm thinking about also. It contains:

Une Cantate de Noel, Horace victorieux, Cello Concerto, Prelude, Fugue et Postlude. Alban Gerhardt, James Rutherford, BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales / Thierry Fischer. Hyperion
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: karlhenning on September 29, 2008, 04:16:58 AM
All right! At last, I've brought my Roussel in with me today!
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: The new erato on December 01, 2008, 11:08:36 AM
Oh, and I should have added this cracking Timpani CD-

http://www.musicweb-international.com/classRev/2004/Oct04/Roussel_psalm80.htm

Splendid, dramatic, at times barbaric choral pieces which show Roussel in a thoroughly unbuttoned vein :) :) Highly recommended to those who like a good wallow in choral splendour :)
Seconded. Aeneas is very fine. At last we seem to have a French label doing for the frenchies what Hyperion and Chandos (and Lyrita!) have been doing in spades for British composers like Scott, Rubbra, Bantoch, Arnell, Bowen, Lambert etc in absurdum. High timel Though expensive on my wallet.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Dundonnell on December 01, 2008, 04:24:20 PM
Seconded. Aeneas is very fine. At last we seem to have a French label doing for the frenchies what Hyperion and Chandos (and Lyrita!) have been doing in spades for British composers like Scott, Rubbra, Bantoch, Arnell, Bowen, Lambert etc in absurdum. High timel Though expensive on my wallet.

"in absurdum"???

Can never be enough British music recorded ;D ;D IT would be nice if Simax and Aurora were doing even more for Norwegian music too :)

But, yes, I agree that Timpani is doing a splendid job at present for French music. High time too :)
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: The new erato on December 03, 2008, 02:20:57 AM
"in absurdum"???

Can never be enough British music recorded ;D ;D IT would be nice if Simax and Aurora were doing even more for Norwegian music too :)

But, yes, I agree that Timpani is doing a splendid job at present for French music. High time too :)
Well - compared to what's available of British music compared to other countries with just as strong; or stronger; musical traditions, the availability of British music is verging on the ridiculous. I can take ridiculous  ;D and wish other countries would get their acts together, but I would willingly trade a York Bowen or Cyrill Scott complete works for a complete Hilding Rosenberg (or insert your own choice here, I can think of several). No crticism of the British who are doing a splendid job for their own, but where are Casella editions? Ghedini? Or a Malipiero symphony set of reference standard?
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: springrite on December 03, 2008, 02:32:43 AM
Bacchus et Ariane is a work that needs to be played more. Yes, the ballet itself was a flop. But should be in the concert hall much like Daphnes et Chloe. The two works has much in common. The music is marvelous!
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Dundonnell on December 03, 2008, 07:54:32 AM
Well - compared to what's available of British music compared to other countries with just as strong; or stronger; musical traditions, the availability of British music is verging on the ridiculous. I can take ridiculous  ;D and wish other countries would get their acts together, but I would willingly trade a York Bowen or Cyrill Scott complete works for a complete Hilding Rosenberg (or insert your own choice here, I can think of several). No crticism of the British who are doing a splendid job for their own, but where are Casella editions? Ghedini? Or a Malipiero symphony set of reference standard?

Speaking seriously...you are absolutely correct :) I too would willingly trade in York Bowen or even Cyril Scott for a complete Rosenberg or Casella or good Malipiero cycle! I would add Klaus Egge, David Diamond and George Rochberg to the essential column as well :)
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: The new erato on December 03, 2008, 11:50:25 AM
Not to mention the need of a fairly extensive Kilpinen Lied Edition. But back to Roussel. Any further recommendations?
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Brewski on December 03, 2008, 11:59:08 AM
Just recalled another Roussel recording: Albert Roussel: Chamber Music with Flute (Jayn Rosenfeld and Friends, on Centaur Records).  I don't have other Roussel chamber recordings with which to compare, but this is a delightful disc.

--Bruce
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Sean on February 26, 2009, 11:19:24 PM
Roussel isn't the most convincing of the fin de siecle French composers, the exquisite Spider's banquet being a high point; the First symphony is powerfully more head than heart with the Third and Fourth increasingly subtle but never really winning me over, despite the Karajan recording.

There are some of his works available on online radio this week that I'll be playing- anyone know Rustiques for piano, the Sinfonietta for string orch, Psalm 80, or the String quartet?

(I've also explored Bacchus et Ariane, Cello concertino, Petite suite, Divertissement & Flute trio.)
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Sean on February 27, 2009, 06:12:39 PM
The String quartet is a lot less characteristically French than the Faure-Debussy-Ravel even if it has a few of their sinuous textures, closer to the Chausson or Saint-Saens's: it's probably closest to the D'Indy, but I never got hold of them.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: The new erato on February 27, 2009, 11:35:57 PM
The String quartet is a lot less characteristically French than the Faure-Debussy-Ravel even if it has a few of their sinuous textures, closer to the Chausson or Saint-Saens's: it's probably closest to the D'Indy, but I never got hold of them.
You should, they are absolutely marvellous (particularly nr 3) and should be available on a cheap double Calliope with the Joachim Qt IIRC.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Sean on February 28, 2009, 05:55:51 PM
Sure thing.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: legoru on August 28, 2009, 10:44:29 AM
(http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=9077.0;attach=12082;image)
I'd be very interested to hear this records, if anyone has those and is willing to share in mp3 format. Please, very need!)
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: karlhenning on July 20, 2010, 03:29:08 AM
Last week when I found Naxos on sale at Arkivmusic — nearly redundant to this (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,1820.msg431826.html#msg431826) post — I found the complete Roussel symphonies box at a pre-order price of $24 for the 4-disc set. The reports of the recordings sounded good, and although I have two recordings each of three out of the four already, the music is good enough that having a third set does not strike me as excessive.  Great thing is that, while the site advised that it would be available 27 July, e-mail came yesterday that it has now shipped.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Sergeant Rock on July 20, 2010, 03:35:07 AM
After being unduly influenced by the Martinu thread, during which I wiped out my retirement funds, I am not going to read this thread. :D

Sarge
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: listener on July 20, 2010, 08:11:36 AM
It's much easier to collect Roussel than Martinů - only 59 opus numbers of which 17 are song/s that fit on a 2-disc set, and only 2 operas for multi-disc sets.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Mirror Image on July 20, 2010, 08:58:08 AM
After being unduly influenced by the Martinu thread, during which I wiped out my retirement funds, I am not going to read this thread. :D

Sarge

Wise decision, Sarge. :)
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: mjwal on July 20, 2010, 11:31:58 PM
I think Roussel's 2nd symphony is his dark horse - and it is dark. I haven't heard the Denève, but am very impressed by the Martinon recording of this. As the disc I have also contains a fantastic performance of his quasi-impressionistic masterpiece, Le Festin del'Araignée, I would recommend this as the Roussel CD de base. The Munch or Cluytens recordings of symphonies 3 and 4 are also very recommendable, full of life and nuance. The question then arises: which recording of the great ballet Bacchus et Ariane?
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Brian on July 21, 2010, 06:04:06 AM
After being unduly influenced by the Martinu thread, during which I wiped out my retirement funds, I am not going to read this thread. :D

Sarge

Oh, come on. You're going to give Mahler a free pass while you convict Martinu of doing you in?  :D :D
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Sergeant Rock on July 21, 2010, 06:55:19 AM
Oh, come on. You're going to give Mahler a free pass while you convict Martinu of doing you in?  :D :D

350 Mahler recordings are as essential to life as food and shelter  8)

Sarge
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: karlhenning on July 21, 2010, 07:21:08 AM
Yow!
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: pjme on July 22, 2010, 09:43:48 AM
Roussel's tomb in Varengeville.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: karlhenning on July 22, 2010, 09:49:29 AM
That looks just like a canvas at the MFA Boston.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: pjme on July 22, 2010, 10:08:27 AM
Varengeville is a beautiful little village ( un peu chi chi  :-* quand-même..think of Niagara on the Lake...) in Normandy, ca 10 kms south of Dieppe.

It's Georges Braque's resting place aswell.

The little ( Romanesc) church has exquisite blue windows by Braque. The (very) nearby Parc des Moustiers a wonderful garden/parc designed by sir Edwin Lutyens ( the arts & crafts villa) and gertrude Jekyll ( parts of the garden).

http://www.normandieweb.org/76/offranville/varengevillesurmer/eglise.html


Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Brian on November 28, 2010, 04:08:11 PM
A funny thing happened to me recently. I got a CD of Roussel's Third and Fourth Symphonies, with Charles Munch and the Orchestre de Concerts Lamoureux, as a MusicWeb reviewing assignment. And lo and behold, a technical glitch had resulted in the tracks getting switched up so that the Fourth Symphony played as follows:
I. Lento - Allegro con brio
III. Allegro scherzando
IV. Allegro molto
II. Lento molto

And I think this has actually ruined the symphony for me. Now I see the symphony as just "reusing the formula of the Third": plugging different tunes into the same framework. Why? Because having the slow movement at the end sounds so much better! Try it for yourself. The sheer bouncy energy of the three consecutive allegros gets you absolutely dying for something slow, like a man in a desert looking for water, and then the gorgeous lento molto comes along and wrings out every drop of melancholy and lyrical beauty and grace and a whole host of other things lacking in the first three movements. And the way the lento ends... like Schubert's Unfinished, it seemed to be floating off into the ether, impossible to follow up.

So there it is. I like the Fourth Symphony better when it's in the wrong order. Part of me was tempted not to warn the record company (High Def Tape Transfers) about the glitch, so more customers could enjoy the surprise. (But I did warn them.) I won't be reprogramming the CD player to set things right, that's for sure.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Scarpia on November 28, 2010, 05:09:07 PM
Varengeville is a beautiful little village ( un peu chi chi  :-* quand-même..think of Niagara on the Lake...) in Normandy, ca 10 kms south of Dieppe.

It's Georges Braque's resting place aswell.

The little ( Romanesc) church has exquisite blue windows by Braque. The (very) nearby Parc des Moustiers a wonderful garden/parc designed by sir Edwin Lutyens ( the arts & crafts villa) and gertrude Jekyll ( parts of the garden).

http://www.normandieweb.org/76/offranville/varengevillesurmer/eglise.html

They didn't worry that Roussel would loose points with Saint Peter at the Pearly Gates for having naked people on his tomb?
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: karlhenning on November 28, 2010, 06:17:00 PM
A funny thing happened to me recently. I got a CD of Roussel's Third and Fourth Symphonies, with Charles Munch and the Orchestre de Concerts Lamoureux, as a MusicWeb reviewing assignment. And lo and behold, a technical glitch had resulted in the tracks getting switched up so that the Fourth Symphony played as follows:
I. Lento - Allegro con brio
III. Allegro scherzando
IV. Allegro molto
II. Lento molto

And I think this has actually ruined the symphony for me. Now I see the symphony as just "reusing the formula of the Third": plugging different tunes into the same framework. Why? Because having the slow movement at the end sounds so much better! Try it for yourself. The sheer bouncy energy of the three consecutive allegros gets you absolutely dying for something slow, like a man in a desert looking for water, and then the gorgeous lento molto comes along and wrings out every drop of melancholy and lyrical beauty and grace and a whole host of other things lacking in the first three movements. And the way the lento ends... like Schubert's Unfinished, it seemed to be floating off into the ether, impossible to follow up.

So there it is. I like the Fourth Symphony better when it's in the wrong order. Part of me was tempted not to warn the record company (High Def Tape Transfers) about the glitch, so more customers could enjoy the surprise. (But I did warn them.) I won't be reprogramming the CD player to set things right, that's for sure.

That's all most curious, Brian!

Now I see the symphony as just "reusing the formula of the Third": plugging different tunes into the same framework.

Well, I don't know that that's fair.  Your chance rearrangement of the symphony yields the sort of sequence which (say) Shostakovich might have generated.  I find it hard on Roussel to demand that of him, though!

I tried the symphony out "your" way.  (I do find the piece, as is, simply lovely.)  I don't hear the end of the Lento molto as the end of the symphony . . . .
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Mirror Image on November 28, 2010, 09:40:04 PM
That's all most curious, Brian!

Now I see the symphony as just "reusing the formula of the Third": plugging different tunes into the same framework.

Well, I don't know that that's fair.  Your chance rearrangement of the symphony yields the sort of sequence which (say) Shostakovich might have generated.  I find it hard on Roussel to demand that of him, though!

I tried the symphony out "your" way.  (I do find the piece, as is, simply lovely.)  I don't hear the end of the Lento molto as the end of the symphony . . . .


I agree Karl. The symphony is fine just the way it is. I also think Brian is being a bit unfair to Roussel here. Obviously, he didn't intend for the symphony to be heard this way and God bless him for it! We're grateful to have as much music as we have of his since he was one of the rare late-bloomers in classical music.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: karlhenning on November 29, 2010, 05:17:57 AM
OTOH, I think it's great that Brian chanced on a way to hear the work differently (and early in the history of the symphony, concert programs played fast and loose with a movement here from this, a movement there from that).

I just think it's hard cheese if Roussel suffers as a result of the exercise . . . .
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Brian on November 29, 2010, 07:57:00 AM
Incidentally, if you're interested in ordering that CD, the label (HDTT) assures me that it was a one-off fluke, as every CD is burned individually to order.

As a(n aspiring) good critic, I'll be listening to the Fourth quite a few more times over the next week or so and giving myself a chance to correct or confirm that first impression. :)
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: pjme on November 29, 2010, 01:15:51 PM
They didn't worry that Roussel would loose points with Saint Peter at the Pearly Gates for having naked people on his tomb?

 ??? ??? ???

P.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Daverz on November 29, 2010, 08:09:29 PM
Munch's recordings with the Lamoureux are also available on the Elatus label (a Warner budget label):

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41siqaQJuIL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: snyprrr on April 27, 2011, 07:56:42 PM
Boy this is a sad little Roussel Thread! ::)

Just heard the String Trio Op.58 for the first time, and it is a piece I've been waiting a long time for. As it turns out, it's less than 14mins. long, but has vigorous working out quality that reminds one of the String Quartet (VoxBox only!). As a stand alone ST, I wasn't all that impressed, but I'm having trouble finding anything to compare it to (Hindemith's STs are a bit more substantial; Francaix muuuch less so).

I much prefer the Flute Trio Op.40, and the ubiquitous Serenade, for the standard French combination of flute, harp, and SQ. Roussel's Chamber Music then seems to trail off into the flute repertoire, but I would like to lift up the Violin Sonata No.2 as belonging to the same family of quality as all these previously mentioned pieces.

I find Roussel's music very manly, and not necessarily the most First Choice music, except when I want something Traditional sounding, with rigor, yet with a little spikiness. "Bluff" is a word,... just the naval image, with the salty air and the gulls,... that's Roussel, hearty.

I have the Jarvi disc with all the big pieces, which i listen to about once a year. I think my fav orchestral piece is the Piano Concerto, which has been mentioned on this Thread several times; but I don't recall Symphonies 1-2.

I mean, there's not that much to say about Roussel, is there? Is the the Premiere French Neo-Classical Composer? He certainly ends up with the most Classically rigorous style of the French Composers, no?

Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Scarpia on April 27, 2011, 07:59:40 PM
Unfortunate that Roussel's thread must have this title which labels him as the sad-sack composer.  I don't see that he is "sadly neglected."
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Mirror Image on April 27, 2011, 08:26:33 PM
I don't see that he is "sadly neglected."

Me either, in fact, I think his star is still rising.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: springrite on April 27, 2011, 11:01:08 PM
I ordered the opera/ballet  Padmavati and am looking forward to it. I posted on the "recordings you are considering" thread and no one responded. I guess not many people know that work.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: The new erato on April 28, 2011, 04:22:28 AM
I ordered the opera/ballet  Padmavati and am looking forward to it. I posted on the "recordings you are considering" thread and no one responded. I guess not many people know that work.
I have it! As for knowing it however....it's been some years since the last listen. ???
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Superhorn on April 28, 2011, 06:33:48 AM
   Roussel may not be totally neglected, but his music has never come remotely close to being performed and recorded as often as that of his contemporaries Debussy and Ravel,and other French composers.  It certainly deserves to be heard more often.
   As far as I am concerned,Padmavati ranks with the greatest of French operas, yet since its premiere in Paris in
1923 ,it has had only a handful of performances. Even Les Troyens by Berlioz, which is so much more difficult to
mount in terms of production size etc, has had a lot more performances in recent years.
I don't believe it has ever been performed in America, even in concert form, although Christoph Eschenbach,
who has become a  committed advocate of Roussel's music recently, did excerpts from it with the Washington symphony last month at an intriguing Indian-themed concert. I wish he had done the whole opera/ballet in concert form.
   Leon Botstein has yet to do it with the American symphony, but I hope he will before long.
    The most recent performances  of it were at the Paris Chatelet theater a few years ago, and it  was from all reports a big hit with the audience.  The production moved on to the Spleto festival in Italy that Summer.
   The Paris production has unfortunately yet to show up on DVD , but you can see excerp-ts on You Tube.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: karlhenning on April 28, 2011, 06:51:05 AM
Deserves to be heard more often? I certainly agree.

If the touchstone is that his music be recorded as often as that of Debussy or Ravel: he's sunk. Never happen.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Superhorn on April 30, 2011, 05:46:50 AM
   Springrite(or should it be spring roll?). I have the EMI recording of Padmavati,and it's one of my most prized CDs.
    Padmavati is like no other opera you have heard.  It takes place in medieval India during the Moghul conquest.
   The  Moghul Sultan Alauddin has approached  the Maharaja Ratan-Sen of the city of Chitoor and  claims to want to make peace with  him and the city .  But he secretly covets Ratan-Sen's dazzlingly beautiful wife Padmavati ,who is revered  by the people of Chitoor as a divine creature .
   Through a messenger , he tells  the people of the city that if Padmavati is not delivered to him immediately ,he and his troops will  destroy the entire city and kill all its inhabitants . 
   Padmavati retreats  with the Brahmin priests and her attendants to a secret Hindu temple for protection while her husband and his army valiantly fight the Moghul army .  He  comes to the temple wounded and pleads with her to  allow him to give her to the Sultan in order to save the city ,but she refuses adamantly .  She then stabs him to death, and must now  mount the ritual  funeral pyre to sacrifice herself according  to Hindu  law and tradition .  She goes through an elaborate  ritual  immolation .
   At the very end, the Sultan and his troops  penetrate the temple, but she is no more !
    Roussel's music is  fantstically colorful and dazzlingly orchestrated , sor of  like   Debussy on steroids !
   Unlike other French operas which take place in India ,such as Lakme, Bizet's Pearl Fishers and Massenet's Roi De Lahore ,  his music comes much closer to genuine Indian flavor than these entertaining but pseudo-indian operas .  Previously, Roussel had spent time visiting India , and  got to hear authentic Indian music .
    Padmavati is a remarkable and fascinating opera . 
     
   
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Scarpia on April 30, 2011, 06:07:00 AM
   Springrite(or should it be spring roll?). I have the EMI recording of Padmavati,and it's one of my most prized CDs.
    Padmavati is like no other opera you have heard.  It takes place in medieval India during the Moghul conquest.
   The  Moghul Sultan Alauddin has approached  the Maharaja Ratan-Sen of the city of Chitoor and  claims to want to make peace with  him and the city .  But he secretly covets Ratan-Sen's dazzlingly beautiful wife Padmavati ,who is revered  by the people of Chitoor as a divine creature .
   Through a messenger , he tells  the people of the city that if Padmavati is not delivered to him immediately ,he and his troops will  destroy the entire city and kill all its inhabitants . 
   Padmavati retreats  with the Brahmin priests and her attendants to a secret Hindu temple for protection while her husband and his army valiantly fight the Moghul army .  He  comes to the temple wounded and pleads with her to  allow him to give her to the Sultan in order to save the city ,but she refuses adamantly .  She then stabs him to death, and must now  mount the ritual  funeral pyre to sacrifice herself according  to Hindu  law and tradition .  She goes through an elaborate  ritual  immolation .
   At the very end, the Sultan and his troops  penetrate the temple, but she is no more !
    Roussel's music is  fantstically colorful and dazzlingly orchestrated , sor of  like   Debussy on steroids !
   Unlike other French operas which take place in India ,such as Lakme, Bizet's Pearl Fishers and Massenet's Roi De Lahore ,  his music comes much closer to genuine Indian flavor than these entertaining but pseudo-indian operas .  Previously, Roussel had spent time visiting India , and  got to hear authentic Indian music .
    Padmavati is a remarkable and fascinating opera . 

You had me until the end.  The last thing I want to hear is a French composer generating "Indian flavour."
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: DavidW on April 30, 2011, 06:17:29 AM
Does anyone have the brilliant set of his chamber works?  It looks tempting. :)
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Scarpia on April 30, 2011, 06:20:47 AM
Does anyone have the brilliant set of his chamber works?  It looks tempting. :)

Have it but haven't heard it yet. 
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: DavidW on April 30, 2011, 06:22:27 AM
Well give a shout out whenever you give it a listen.  No hurry on my part I'm absolutely buried with cool, new music to listen to.  For sure I'm going to get the rest of the orchestral works of Roussel anyway.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Mirror Image on April 30, 2011, 06:35:58 AM
Well give a shout out whenever you give it a listen.  No hurry on my part I'm absolutely buried with cool, new music to listen to.  For sure I'm going to get the rest of the orchestral works of Roussel anyway.

I need to have a bit of a Roussel reunion as I recall almost all of the orchestral works I've heard (including the ballets and symphonies) have been top-notch. I think he too often gets overlooked by listeners who are into Debussy and Ravel.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: DavidW on April 30, 2011, 06:44:53 AM
I think he too often gets overlooked by listeners who are into Debussy and Ravel.

*cough* Karl *cough* ;D  No I get you, I've overlooked him for far too long, and I am into Debussy and Ravel, guess that applies to me.  But not any longer.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Mirror Image on April 30, 2011, 06:48:32 AM
*cough* Karl *cough* ;D  No I get you, I've overlooked him for far too long, and I am into Debussy and Ravel, guess that applies to me.  But not any longer.

Well this is good, David. What recordings of Roussel do you own? Do you own the Deneve recordings on Naxos? These have proven to be quite excellent to me so far. The only one I haven't listened to yet is the last, and final, release which contains the fourth symphony.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: DavidW on April 30, 2011, 06:58:05 AM
I have the Deneve recording that has symphony #3 and a ballet.  Great music. 8)
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Mirror Image on April 30, 2011, 07:00:00 AM
I have the Deneve recording that has symphony #3 and a ballet.  Great music. 8)

Yes, well know you should collect the other three discs. You can buy them cheap as hell from an Amazon Marketplace seller.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: DavidW on April 30, 2011, 07:09:30 AM
Yeah I think I'll buy the box set and either sell or give away the isolated cd that I have.  Roussel is my favorite discovery of the month, I like that cd more than any other one I bought.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Scarpia on April 30, 2011, 07:22:02 AM
*cough* Karl *cough* ;D  No I get you, I've overlooked him for far too long, and I am into Debussy and Ravel, guess that applies to me.  But not any longer.

I don't see Roussel as being as closely resembling Debussy or Ravel, except they were all French of course.  His thinking is more on the symphonic side, sort of the antithesis of the Debussy/Ravel aesthetic, in my mind he is related to Honegger, d'Indy, perhaps Magnard. 

I have his symphonies from Dutoit on Erato and Janowski on RCA, the latter is particularly good, and a few recordings of Bacchus et Ariane, but I see that the Naxos series has several smaller pieces for orchestra that I am missing.  I have to do some research into those (amazon research, of course).

Just noticed this recent release

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61TZGJoPH8L._SL500_AA300_.png)
Ansermet was one of Roussel's early champions, and his performances are interesting.  Looking again, every piece on that disc is awesome (the Dukas La Peri is a miracle and Chausson's symphony is also a superb piece) and maybe I will get it.  I think I have those recordings, but in a very early (mid 80's) release during the dark ages of digital remastering.


Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: not edward on April 30, 2011, 07:41:26 AM
I don't see Roussel as being as closely resembling Debussy or Ravel, except they were all French of course.  His thinking is more on the symphonic side, sort of the antithesis of the Debussy/Ravel aesthetic, in my mind he is related to Honegger, d'Indy, perhaps Magnard. 

I have his symphonies from Dutoit on Erato and Janowski on RCA, the latter is particularly good, and a few recordings of Bacchus et Ariane, but I see that the Naxos series has several smaller pieces for orchestra that I am missing.  I have to do some research into those (amazon research, of course).

I'd agree that Roussel is in a rather different place from Debussy/Ravel--the taut neoclassical side of his music is a long way from them and likely what encouraged Martinu to study with him.

For the symphonies (except number 1) I think the EMI two-fer is an excellent bargain pairing; to my mind consistently superior to the Naxos recordings:



Cluytens is as good as you'd expect in 3 and 4, and has better sound and playing than the various (excellent interpretatively, often wonky in execution) Munch recordings I've heard. Pierre Dervaux also makes a good impression in the 2nd--I think this is the only recording of him I have. I'm also rather partial to some of the ballet recordings on Erato with Martinon conducting.

For the concerti(ni), the collection with Tharaud in the piano concerto and Queyras in the cello concertino has given me much enjoyment--it only seems now to be available in a 2fer with Hahn chamber music:

Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Scarpia on April 30, 2011, 08:33:16 AM
For the concerti(ni), the collection with Tharaud in the piano concerto and Queyras in the cello concertino has given me much enjoyment--it only seems now to be available in a 2fer with Hahn chamber music:



Ooooh, that looks nice.  The concerti are the only pieces mentioned here that I don't have recordings of.  Worth noting, the Ballet recordings on the EMI 2-fer are by Pretre, a favorite conductor of mine whose recordings always have a French flair and satisfy.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: SonicMan46 on April 30, 2011, 02:44:03 PM
Does anyone have the brilliant set of his chamber works?  It looks tempting. :)

David - yes, I own the Brilliant set of his Chamber Works (posted back on pg. 2 in 2008!) - enjoyed but probably have not listened to the recording since that time, so cannot make any specific comments @ the moment; the price is certainly right for the 3-CD set; some decent Amazonian reviews that are more than the typical short comments (4+/5* overall rating) & excellent review on MusicWeb (http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2007/Aug07/Roussel_8413.htm) - seems like the best compilation at present - Dave  :D

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51HYATr1FNL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: DavidW on April 30, 2011, 02:58:51 PM
Thanks Dave for the info and the link to the review. :)
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Mirror Image on April 30, 2011, 05:09:44 PM
I don't see Roussel as being as closely resembling Debussy or Ravel, except they were all French of course.  His thinking is more on the symphonic side, sort of the antithesis of the Debussy/Ravel aesthetic, in my mind he is related to Honegger, d'Indy, perhaps Magnard.

I think you're failing to remember that Roussel started off very much influenced by Debussy's Impressionism. Go listen to Symphony No. 1 and tell me you don't hear traces of Debussy in it.

I agree, though, that later Roussel doesn't resemble many French composers at all as his style turned more hard-edged with a Neoclassical slant.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Scarpia on April 30, 2011, 05:16:21 PM
I think you're failing to remember that Roussel started off very much influenced by Debussy's Impressionism. Go listen to Symphony No. 1 and tell me you don't hear traces of Debussy in it.

I tend to regard Roussel's first symphony as an early work, before he had found his own individual voice as a composer. 
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Mirror Image on April 30, 2011, 05:22:20 PM
I tend to regard Roussel's first symphony as an early work, before he had found his own individual voice as a composer.

It still doesn't change the fact that his music was influenced by Impressionism.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Scarpia on April 30, 2011, 05:32:30 PM
It still doesn't change the fact that his music was influenced by Impressionism.

I don't disagree with the statement that he was influenced by impressionism in his early works.  But in his mature style I find those influences to be absent, and his works exhibit much greater formal precision and rhythmic force than those of Debussy typically do.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Scarpia on May 01, 2011, 09:44:13 AM
Edward reminded me that I have this CD



which has the same Cluytens recordings as the EMI 2-fer he mentioned.  Listened to the symphony No 4 today.  A really stylish performance and sound is quite good, better than I recall for typical EMI France recordings, perhaps Testament has done a better job in the remastering than EMI normally does.

In any case, a little neoclassical gem, and the French manner of brass playing, a bit brighter and more jaunty than you would normally hear from a German orchestra (with that characteristic vibrato in the trumpets), definitely helps punch it up.  The slow movement, with some impressive climaxes with strings supported by exposed brass lines, is the high point of this performance.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Scarpia on May 02, 2011, 06:37:04 PM
Listening to more music by the Sadly Neglected French composer, again from the collection I reference above, with Cluytens and the Paris Conservatory.  This time the Sinfonietta for strings.  Just a wonderful, vigorous piece, far from impressionism to my ears.  Brings to mind some works of Honegger (with more wit and less angst) or Frank Martin.  The two outer movements are very high energy music, with snappy rhythms and angular melodies.  The slow movement is again the emotional center of the work, intense without being sentimental, full of thorny harmonies.  I have always liked Roussel but this Cluytens set is really bring the music to life for me.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: eyeresist on May 02, 2011, 08:17:32 PM
I have the Deneve recording that has symphony #3 and a ballet.  Great music. 8)
You have the best disc of the set, i.e. it's all downhill from here ;)
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: DavidW on May 03, 2011, 04:09:17 AM
Dave, I've added the Roussel chamber set to my bro cart. :)
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Scarpia on May 14, 2011, 08:09:59 AM
Listening to sad-sac Roussel, the sadly neglected composer.  (Can nothing be done about this idiotic thread title?)  I've started at the last symphony and worked forward through Dutoit's cycle.  I remember thinking these recordings were lackluster the first time through but I am finding them very nicely done, in an understated way, this time. 

The forth and third have a distinctly neo-classical flair, to my ear (close to Stravinsky's two instrumental symphonies in their general manner).  The second symphony is another matter altogether.  A larger, more sprawling work, I'm finding it a bit more challenging to grasp the overall argument of the work.  It is in three movements but it is hard to define the scheme.  It is not the traditional "fast-slow-fast" scheme for three movement works, each movement seems to be a thing unto itself.  The first movement starts with a soft, slow theme, there is a climax which leads to some fast, extroverted music with brilliant writing for horns, then a slow theme takes over (seemingly not closely related to the opening slow theme) then it gets more vigorous.  The second and third movements develop in a similar way, tempos shifting from very slow to very fast, mood shifting from gentle to extroverted and back again.   There is a lot of music here that is beautiful and fascinates me, but I am not grasping how the different passages relate to each other, and what the overall "symphonic" logic is.  If you had played it for me without telling me what it was I probably would have guessed that I was listening to a suite from a ballet.


Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: snyprrr on May 14, 2011, 08:18:06 AM
Listening to sad-sac Roussel, the sadly neglected composer.  (Can nothing be done about this idiotic thread title?)  I've started at the last symphony and worked forward through Dutoit's cycle.  I remember thinking these recordings were lackluster the first time through but I am finding them very nicely done, in an understated way, this time. 

The forth and third have a distinctly neo-classical flair, to my ear (close to Stravinsky's two instrumental symphonies in their general manner).  The second symphony is another matter altogether.  A larger, more sprawling work, I'm finding it a bit more challenging to grasp the overall argument of the work.  It is in three movements but it is hard to define the scheme.  It is not the traditional "fast-slow-fast" scheme for three movement works, each movement seems to be a thing unto itself.  The first movement starts with a soft, slow theme, there is a climax which leads to some fast, extroverted music with brilliant writing for horns, then a slow theme takes over (seemingly not closely related to the opening slow theme) then it gets more vigorous.  The second and third movements develop in a similar way, tempos shifting from very slow to very fast, mood shifting from gentle to extroverted and back again.   There is a lot of music here that is beautiful and fascinates me, but I am not grasping how the different passages relate to each other, and what the overall "symphonic" logic is.  If you had played it for me without telling me what it was I probably would have guessed that I was listening to a suite from a ballet.

Isn't No.2 supposed to be a Post-Impressionistic type work?,... Baudelairean? purfumed,...is it ArtNuevauioi? early Respighi, early Malipiero,... @1905-07, they were all writing sprawling stuff?
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: not edward on May 14, 2011, 08:52:46 AM
The 2nd symphony is from 1919-1921, in fact. It's his last orchestral work before his turn towards neoclassicism. Like Scarpia, I have trouble thinking of it as a truly symphonic work; it seems to me to be one of those pieces that add up to rather less than the sum of its parts. (Not something I could say of the works of Roussel's neoclassical period.)
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: RJR on May 24, 2011, 02:55:08 PM
When you listen to Roussel's Second Symphony, think of WWI.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: madaboutmahler on September 03, 2011, 10:59:42 AM
I absolutely love Roussel's music and agree that he has been unfairly neglected when much of his music had stunning beauty , thrill and originality! My personal favourites would be the 3rd symphony (one of my favourite French symphonies ever written, along with the Berlioz Fantastique and Saint Saens 3), Bacchus et Ariane and Le Festin de l'araignée. And I also find the "Suite in F" irresistably enjoyable!

At the moment, I own Dutoit's recording of the 4 symphonies and am thinking of buying the more recent Deneve Naxos recordings. Could I have some opinions on these recordings please?



Also, what do you think of Jarvi's recording of the 3rd symphony which I might get as well?

One area of Roussel's output I have not explored too much is the chamber output. Should I, and is this cd a good choice?



Thank you,
Best Wishes
Daniel
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Brian on September 03, 2011, 12:39:25 PM
I absolutely love Roussel's music and agree that he has been unfairly neglected when much of his music had stunning beauty , thrill and originality! My personal favourites would be the 3rd symphony (one of my favourite French symphonies ever written, along with the Berlioz Fantastique and Saint Saens 3), Bacchus et Ariane and Le Festin de l'araignée. And I also find the "Suite in F" irresistably enjoyable!

At the moment, I own Dutoit's recording of the 4 symphonies and am thinking of buying the more recent Deneve Naxos recordings. Could I have some opinions on these recordings please?




I've listened to that several dozen times since buying it a year ago and it is totally, totally outstanding. Deneve's a thrilling conductor and his collaboration with the Scottish band is pretty much unimpeachably great in this music. This is a consensus GMG favorite, I think, especially Symphony No 3 and Bacchus et Ariane (though I, too, have a soft spot for the Suite in F... and the Debussian Symphony No 1).

P.S. Find Sergiu Celibidache's recording of the Suite in F on Spotify, if you've got Spotify. It's a mind-bendingly different, but strangely appealing, take on the piece.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Drasko on September 03, 2011, 02:20:11 PM

Also, what do you think of Jarvi's recording of the 3rd symphony which I might get as well?


If you are looking for single release 3rd Bernstein is not to be overlooked. He recorded it twice, I have the first New York recording and it's excellent. Complete disc is more than worth hearing in my opinion.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51vVtHPw1OL.jpg)

and the 3rd can be heard complete on youtube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jCdeaAiuCrk
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Drasko on September 03, 2011, 02:24:31 PM
Couldn't one of the moderators shorten this pathetic sounding thread title?
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: not edward on September 03, 2011, 02:47:04 PM
If you are looking for single release 3rd Bernstein is not to be overlooked. He recorded it twice, I have the first New York recording and it's excellent. Complete disc is more than worth hearing in my opinion.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51vVtHPw1OL.jpg)

and the 3rd can be heard complete on youtube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jCdeaAiuCrk
I've always wondered about this one--in particular how Bernstein stacks up against Markevitch in Les Choephores.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Drasko on September 04, 2011, 12:37:20 AM
I've always wondered about this one--in particular how Bernstein stacks up against Markevitch in Les Choephores.

Haven't listened to either in long time. Let me give them a spin over next few days and will get back to you.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: vandermolen on September 04, 2011, 06:31:19 AM
Symphony No 1 (Naxos) was a fine and unexpected recent discovery for me - more 'impressionistic' than I expected.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Superhorn on September 04, 2011, 07:03:33 AM
    Another stunning work of Roussel is the orchestral /choral triptych "Evocations" , which was inspired by his visit to the great  ancient temples of Indochina.  In this it resembles Padmavati somewhat.  The third part features vocal soloists and chorus, and the sheer  kaleidascopic color of the work is dazzling . 
   I have the Supraphon recording with the late Zdenek Kosler and the Czech Philharmonic and chorus ,coupled with the suite from the Spider's Feast ballet.  By all means get this if you can find it.
  The only other recording I know of is with  Michel Plasson and the Toulouse orchestra snd chorus on EMI, but I have not heard it.
   Why is this  stunning work never performed ?  I'm sure audiences would love it.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: cilgwyn on September 04, 2011, 07:27:12 AM
These threads do usually have a snappier title. Roussel's Rickshaw,Roussel's Road House,Roussel's Ribena,etc? Not that it matters,though.

Evocations? That sounds very intriguing? Although,I think I have heard of it before. I like Supraphon recordings too.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: madaboutmahler on September 04, 2011, 11:33:24 AM
If you are looking for single release 3rd Bernstein is not to be overlooked. He recorded it twice, I have the first New York recording and it's excellent. Complete disc is more than worth hearing in my opinion.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51vVtHPw1OL.jpg)


I never knew that Bernstein recorded the work! What is the performance like? I will have to look for this, Bernstein is one of my favourites! :)

Daniel
Title: Re: Albert Roussel
Post by: Brian on November 13, 2011, 07:43:27 AM
For those who thought the Naxos series was over after it got released in a box set, I have good news.  :) Coming in January:

(http://i.prs.to/t_200/naxos8572243.jpg)
Title: Re: Albert Roussel
Post by: Mirror Image on November 13, 2011, 08:26:17 AM
For those who thought the Naxos series was over after it got released in a box set, I have good news.  :) Coming in January:

(http://i.prs.to/t_200/naxos8572243.jpg)

Awesome! Can't wait to hear this performance. Will definitely be picking this one up. 8)

Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Mirror Image on November 13, 2011, 08:28:38 AM
I never knew that Bernstein recorded the work! What is the performance like? I will have to look for this, Bernstein is one of my favourites! :)

Daniel

Sorry for the terribly late reply, Daniel (wow you posted this on Sept. 4th). Anyway, the Bernstein performance is especially fine. Passionate and driven --- typical Bernstein. 8) You'll probably have a hard time tracking this one down since it's out-of-print. I was lucky and stumbled upon a used, like new copy from Amazon MP.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: The new erato on November 13, 2011, 11:28:27 AM
It's in the Bernstein Symphony box. Still available in a second reprinitng and pretty essential IMO.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel
Post by: madaboutmahler on November 13, 2011, 11:54:43 AM
For those who thought the Naxos series was over after it got released in a box set, I have good news.  :) Coming in January:

(http://i.prs.to/t_200/naxos8572243.jpg)

Great - looking forward to this. Any more Roussel planned for release from Deneve after this one?

Sorry for the terribly late reply, Daniel (wow you posted this on Sept. 4th). Anyway, the Bernstein performance is especially fine. Passionate and driven --- typical Bernstein. 8) You'll probably have a hard time tracking this one down since it's out-of-print. I was lucky and stumbled upon a used, like new copy from Amazon MP.

haha, that's quite alright John! :) I must have given you quite a few late replies as well. Thank you for the opinion on the Bernstein recording, it sounds great. Will have to try and track it down. Would be nice to try and find it outside the Bernstein Symphony box, which is close to £100 here in England! Just looking on amazon now and have found a used copy from the MP for £11, so to the wishlist it goes! ;)
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Daverz on November 13, 2011, 01:43:34 PM
I never knew that Bernstein recorded the work! What is the performance like? I will have to look for this, Bernstein is one of my favourites!

He recorded it twice, the second time for DG.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51pxxrT1O6L._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: madaboutmahler on November 13, 2011, 02:41:05 PM
He recorded it twice, the second time for DG.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51pxxrT1O6L._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

Which one is 'better'?
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Daverz on November 13, 2011, 09:53:37 PM
Which one is 'better'?

I haven't had enough time to compare them.  I really like the muscularity of the NYP performance, and it's well recorded (I have the Masterworks Heritage CD.)  You get much more interesting couplings, too.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: madaboutmahler on November 14, 2011, 09:07:24 AM
I haven't had enough time to compare them.  I really like the muscularity of the NYP performance, and it's well recorded (I have the Masterworks Heritage CD.)  You get much more interesting couplings, too.

Thank you for getting back to me about this. Yes, the NYP performance certainly has more interesting couplings!
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Mirror Image on November 14, 2011, 09:10:28 AM
Thank you for getting back to me about this. Yes, the NYP performance certainly has more interesting couplings!

It certainly does, Daniel. Bernstein's performance of Honegger's Pacific 231 is fantastic.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: madaboutmahler on November 14, 2011, 09:12:07 AM
It certainly does, Daniel. Bernstein's performance of Honegger's Pacific 231 is fantastic.

Great - absolutely love that Honegger piece as well, so this is a must buy now! ;)
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: MishaK on November 15, 2011, 02:24:10 PM
Another vote for the excellent Denève set. I had the pleasure of hearing Denève conduct Le festin d'araignée with the CSO last Thursday. The program repeats tonight if any of you in the Chicago area are interested. See cso.org there is a $39 main floor ticket offer. Use promo code MF$39.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Mirror Image on May 22, 2012, 03:11:24 PM
The title of this thread certainly isn't misleading as Roussel truly is a neglected 20th Century composer. It's highly fascinating three of his students included Varese, Martinu, and Satie. Roussel's development as composer started off influenced by the music of Debussy and Ravel (Symphony No. 1 being the most obvious example), but then his musical language hardened as he fell under the spell of Neoclassicism. Who could blame him? :) Two incredible periods of development, one amazing creative mind. This ladies and gentlemen is Albert Roussel.

By the way, how about that Deneve serious on Naxos? I've been really digging it since the first release and I'm especially glad he recorded the Le festin de l'araignée ballet, which already enjoyed a great performance by Tortelier, but it's always good to have a back up and I believe I like Deneve's much better!

Has any one heard Jarvi's, according to two Amazon reviewers, speed demon performances of Symphonies 3 & 4? I usually go for the recordings that seem to suffer the underdog aura. :D
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: snyprrr on May 22, 2012, 06:43:04 PM
The title of this thread certainly isn't misleading as Roussel truly is a neglected 20th Century composer. It's highly fascinating three of his students included Varese, Martinu, and Satie. Roussel's development as composer started off influenced by the music of Debussy and Ravel (Symphony No. 1 being the most obvious example), but then his musical language hardened as he fell under the spell of Neoclassicism. Who could blame him? :) Two incredible periods of development, one amazing creative mind. This ladies and gentlemen is Albert Roussel.

By the way, how about that Deneve serious on Naxos? I've been really digging it since the first release and I'm especially glad he recorded the Le festin de l'araignée ballet, which already enjoyed a great performance by Tortelier, but it's always good to have a back up and I believe I like Deneve's much better!

Has any one heard Jarvi's, according to two Amazon reviewers, speed demon performances of Symphonies 3 & 4? I usually go for the recordings that seem to suffer the underdog aura. :D

It's probably the single best Roussel disc, imo. Luscious.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Mirror Image on May 22, 2012, 07:13:07 PM
It's probably the single best Roussel disc, imo. Luscious.

Thanks, snyprrr. I picked up the Jarvi tonight for $6.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: snyprrr on May 23, 2012, 07:59:50 AM
Thanks, snyprrr. I picked up the Jarvi tonight for $6.

It comes in different guises. You got the one with the B&A Suite and Sinfonietta included?


I have much heard about Roussel's either Symphony 1, or Symphonies 1-2, being some kind echt Impressionism,... aren't you the Koechlin guy?,... how does Roussel compare?... truly lazy/hazy, or more bumptious?... I AM in need of a 40 minute nap primer! ;D
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Mirror Image on May 23, 2012, 08:23:08 AM
It comes in different guises. You got the one with the B&A Suite and Sinfonietta included?


I have much heard about Roussel's either Symphony 1, or Symphonies 1-2, being some kind echt Impressionism,... aren't you the Koechlin guy?,... how does Roussel compare?... truly lazy/hazy, or more bumptious?... I AM in need of a 40 minute nap primer! ;D

Yes, I got the Chandos Classics reissue, snyprrr with Symphonies 3 & 4, Sinfonietta, and Bacchus Et Ariane Suite No. 2. I'm looking forward to hearing it. Yes, I'm the Koechlin guy, but I like all kinds of musical styles. Roussel started off very much influenced by Debussy and Ravel, but his style, especially around Symphony No. 2 starts to turn more hard-edged. Symphony No. 2 reminds of me of a struggle between two distinct musical personalities. It still has some of that impressionistic residue from his earlier period, but it's rhythms suggest the Neoclassicism which he will develop more maturely in Symphony No. 3. I personally love all Roussel's symphonies. They're all little worlds unto themselves.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Mirror Image on May 23, 2012, 01:23:40 PM
Why didn't Deneve record Evocations? My goodness what an unbelievable work. Well Deneve is moving onto the Stuttgart Radio Symphony, so here's hoping a new performance of this obscure work surfaces and finds itself on the Hanssler label or whoever Deneve records with.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Mirror Image on May 23, 2012, 02:11:56 PM
Roussel admirers run, don't walk to download this recording now:

(http://store.acousticsounds.com/images/large/USUP_11122454__81328__03142012092802-3551.jpg)

Performance-wise this is an excellent recording. The audio quality is also very good. Unfortunately only two recordings of this work exist: this one and the other with Michel Plasson on EMI. Both recordings are out-of-print and very expensive.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Brian on May 23, 2012, 02:26:04 PM
I have much heard about Roussel's either Symphony 1, or Symphonies 1-2, being some kind echt Impressionism,... aren't you the Koechlin guy?,... how does Roussel compare?... truly lazy/hazy, or more bumptious?... I AM in need of a 40 minute nap primer! ;D

The Symphony No 1 is indeed wonderful, soft-focus impressionism about woodland adventures; the short ballet Le marchand de sable qui passe is my favorite of Roussel's impressionistic works. Symphony No 2 is quite different - it's like a slow, smoldering silent Bergman scene of Debussy, Mahler, Franck, and maybe early Martinu, glaring angrily at each other over a game of cards.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Mirror Image on May 23, 2012, 02:33:15 PM
Symphony No 2 is quite different - it's like a slow, smoldering silent Bergman scene of Debussy, Mahler, Franck, and maybe early Martinu, glaring angrily at each other over a game of cards.

Great description, Brian. :) This was more or less what I was trying to express to snyprrr.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on May 23, 2012, 02:43:22 PM
Playing whist?
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Mirror Image on May 23, 2012, 02:56:04 PM
Playing whist?

Eh? ???
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Brian on May 23, 2012, 05:17:00 PM
Eh? ???

Whist is a card game. It's most famously played in Around the World in 80 Days.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Mirror Image on May 23, 2012, 05:19:20 PM
Whist is a card game. It's most famously played in Around the World in 80 Days.

Never saw that movie.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Brian on May 23, 2012, 05:21:56 PM
Never saw that movie.

...there's also a book ;)

(http://bookwormsabode.com/assets/book_images/around-the-world-in-eighty-days.jpg)
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Mirror Image on May 23, 2012, 05:37:22 PM
...there's also a book ;)

(http://bookwormsabode.com/assets/book_images/around-the-world-in-eighty-days.jpg)

Nor have a I read the book. ;D
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Mirror Image on May 23, 2012, 05:59:48 PM
Getting back to Roussel, what does everybody think of Symphony No. 4? I need to really listen to this work again in-depth. Hopefully, I'll have an opinion of it later...
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on May 24, 2012, 02:51:41 AM
Never saw that movie.

...there's also a book ;)

(http://bookwormsabode.com/assets/book_images/around-the-world-in-eighty-days.jpg)

+1
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on May 24, 2012, 03:01:50 AM
Ah, the good old days: when books came before the movies . . . .
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Mirror Image on May 24, 2012, 07:56:17 PM
Back to Roussel...

Here's a good overview of the Roussel's highly acclaimed Symphony No. 3 taken from All Music Guide:

At every stage of his career, Roussel's best work is masterly finished, engaging, surefire. But for the connoisseur, tracing his stylistic evolution possesses a fascination of its own. If the opera-ballet Padmåvatî (1914-1918) crowns his second manner, making explicit the preoccupation with instinct and annihilation ironically broached in the ballet Le Festin de l'araignée (1912), his Symphony No. 2 (1919-1920) encapsulates the period with formal yet disturbing point. The ironic detachment of Le Festin gives way to dark (and harmonically adventurous) foreboding, while the irrepressibly animated episodes are fraught with frenzied feverishness. But by the mid-1920s the skies had cleared, so to speak, and Roussel entered his final, neo-Classical, phase with the orchestral Suite in F (1926) whose three movements -- two in Baroque dance forms -- afford a foretaste of the Symphony No. 3 in their effortless combination of energy and serenity. Commissioned by Koussevitzky, conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Suite received its premiere by those forces January 21, 1927, continuing a Francophile tradition that had seen Henri Rabaud and Pierre Monteux as chef d'orchestre, and entertained Roussel's teacher and colleague, Vincent d'Indy, in 1905 and 1921.

To celebrate the B.S.O.'s 50th anniversary, Koussevitzky commissioned a number of works including Honegger's Symphony No. 1, Prokofiev's Fourth, Hindemith's Concert Music, Op. 50, Stravinsky's Symphony of Psalms, and Roussel's Symphony No. 3. The Third occupied Roussel from August 1929 through March 1930. Roussel and his wife were present for the Boston premiere, October 24, 1930, the composer remarking that Koussevitzky had conducted "with an extraordinary care and enthusiasm," and noting the day after, "As far as I can gauge after this hearing, it is the best thing I have done...." That, indeed, has been the consensus of critics and listeners alike -- only the ballet Bacchus et Ariane, which followed it immediately, has rivaled it in popularity. From the sardonic strut of the opening, the Third is immediately arresting, while its tightly coiled argument -- compact even for the form-conscious Roussel -- compels by its melding of logic and vivacity, sophistication and primitivism. The second movement transcends counterpoint in a miracle of passionate, ostinato-driven polyphony, while the scherzo and final Allegro con spirito -- elegant and rumbustious by turns -- are wrought with colossal playfulness. Albert Wolff and the Concerts Lamoureux gave the Paris premiere on November 28, 1931, and made a classic recording of the work the following year.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: snyprrr on August 25, 2012, 10:35:37 AM
These threads do usually have a snappier title. Roussel's Rickshaw,Roussel's Road House,Roussel's Ribena,etc? Not that it matters,though.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: snyprrr on August 25, 2012, 10:36:12 AM
Couldn't one of the moderators shorten this pathetic sounding thread title?

mm
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: snyprrr on August 25, 2012, 10:37:10 AM
Listening to sad-sac Roussel, the sadly neglected composer.  (Can nothing be done about this idiotic thread title?) 

mm, hmm
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: snyprrr on August 25, 2012, 10:40:49 AM
I'll be looking at the suggestions here with interest.

--Bruce

Please, look harder!! ::) ;D

I will take legal action if this Thread Title is not restored to decency! >:D

I WILL use comic sans! :o
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: snyprrr on August 25, 2012, 10:49:15 AM
Please duly note the previous few Posts. This ends here! >:D


Anyhoo ;D,

I am rolling up the sleeves to seriously take on Roussel here. I have gotten by with the EMI disc of concertos, and the Jarvi disc (which everyone says is too fast, and I listened yesterday and am interested in other recordings), with the VoxBox SQ and the chamber disc on Erato (two trios and the Serenade).

Clutyens (sic?) seems the most interesting. Frankly, if I trade in Jarvi, then I really have nothing to duplicate (well, the Suite on the EMI). I'll continue trawling the Amazon...


THREAD TITLE, people! THREAD TITLE. Or it gets ugly! :-*
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: snyprrr on August 26, 2012, 06:15:12 AM
I will spam this Thread like a Zoloft ad until the Title gets fixed!!
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Scarpia on August 26, 2012, 07:25:20 AM
Roussel seems to lack a set of truly definitive recordings.   But there is little to complain of in Dutoit and Janowski.  I've never been disappointed by a Pretre recording of Roussel.  I'm curious about the Eschenbach.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Sergeant Rock on August 26, 2012, 07:47:16 AM
Roussel seems to lack a set of truly definitive recordings.

Stéphane Denève and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra's five discs worth of symphonies and orchestral works are well regarded (all five received 10/10 reviews at Classics Today, for example). Definitive? I don't know...but they're certainly not bad.

Sarge
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Scarpia on August 26, 2012, 07:58:46 AM
Stéphane Denève and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra's five discs worth of symphonies and orchestral works are well regarded (all five received 10/10 reviews at Classics Today, for example). Definitive? I don't know...but they're certainly not bad.

Sarge

"Not bad," that sounds like a ringing endorsement.  :)  I was tempted by the Deneve set, but in my patched-together collection, I think I have a recording of more-or-less everything in that box.  Does the RSNO muster a "French" sound?  Some of their recordings with Jarvi strike me as among the worst classical recordings ever.  Do they do better with Deneve and Naxos?

Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: snyprrr on August 26, 2012, 08:02:41 AM
Roussel seems to lack a set of truly definitive recordings.   But there is little to complain of in Dutoit and Janowski.  I've never been disappointed by a Pretre recording of Roussel.  I'm curious about the Eschenbach.

Roussel is no more neglected than Webern, haha!

I've been scouring the Amazon reviews, and the Naxos set gets consistently high marks, whereas the Ondine series has garnered qualified praise. One reviewer in particular gave some quite specific recommendations, and, after looking over the choices (it appears Janowski has been reissued AGAIN on a 3cd Sony set of Roussel?), the Clutyens EMI 2cd set and the Erato 2cd of ballets and smaller pieces, seem to be one-stop shopping.


I listened to all my Roussel yesterday (also had Markevitch (DG) in the B&A suite). I was less taken with the cello Concertino and Pour une fete de printemps, but the Piano Concerto still packs a punch, with my favorite PC opening ever,... kind of 'Jaws'-like. Roussel waaas a man of the sea.

The B&A suite, also, wasn't really to my taste, though the mono Markevitch recording is spectacularly sumptuous. I couldn't find The Spider's Feast lurking anywhere.

As far as I know, Roussel has a string Sinfonietta, a Suite in F, a Petite Suite Op.39, AND a Concert for Petite Orchestra Op.34!! ??? I can barely keep them straight. ::) The Suite in F I found very Martinu-like, which means it was inoffensive but not particularly interesting to me, but I really enjoyed the Sinfonietta (which I get confused with the Poulenc), whose bracing rhythms and harmonies recall, slightly, Tippett's string orchestra. I haven't heard the latter two pieces.


I've only had Jarvi in the Symphonies 3-4, which all have said are too fast in the slow movements. The rest of the movements seem to conform to everyone else, though. I can see where the character of these slow movements might change a bit with slower tempos. At no time would I give this the 2 stars one reviewer did; Jarvi is fine, but maybe the recording is a bit over the top for such lean, muscular music. I can certainly hear improvements that I expect Clutyens would make (hopefully).

Somehow I feel that Roussel needs the previous recordings. I don't think I want my Roussel in modern digital perfection. His music belongs to the 20th century, so, maybe, should his recordings? Haha, maybe if the Ondine covers weren't so blatantly hideous, I might think more of the actual performance and recording! :o
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Sergeant Rock on August 26, 2012, 08:17:14 AM
"Not bad," that sounds like a ringing endorsement.  :)  I was tempted by the Deneve set, but in my patched-together collection, I think I have a recording of more-or-less everything in that box.  Does the RSNO muster a "French" sound?  Some of their recordings with Jarvi strike me as among the worst classical recordings ever.  Do they do better with Deneve and Naxos?

I haven't done a direct comparison with any of the other versions in my collection (like Dutoit, Cluytens, Pretre). Sounds like an interesting project for next week. I'll be back  ;)

Sarge
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: snyprrr on August 27, 2012, 05:52:58 AM
I haven't done a direct comparison with any of the other versions in my collection (like Dutoit, Cluytens, Pretre). Sounds like an interesting project for next week. I'll be back  ;)

Sarge

Did I mention that I'm spamming this Thread until TPTB do something about this Thread Title? Oh, after this, all my other sins will have long since washed away!

BUY ZOLOFT NOW!

BUY ZOLOFT NOW!

BUY Z...
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: snyprrr on August 27, 2012, 05:54:53 AM
You are going to WISH Roussel was a sadly neglected Composer when I get through spamming this Thread, bwa ha ha!! >:D

HEY!,... Brian Thread!!,... I'm comin' for YOU!! 8)


Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Superhorn on August 28, 2012, 06:38:50 AM
   I've been contacted by someone here about changing the name of this thread , but I'm not sure what it should be.
   Any one have any suggestions ?  How about "Roussel's Reality Check"?  "Roussel's Temple of  Doom?"  (Refers to the  temple
in his opera Padmavati where she meets her strange doom ).
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Scarpia on August 28, 2012, 06:58:49 AM
   I've been contacted by someone here about changing the name of this thread , but I'm not sure what it should be.
   Any one have any suggestions ?  How about "Roussel's Reality Check"?  "Roussel's Temple of  Doom?"  (Refers to the  temple
in his opera Padmavati where she meets her strange doom ).

How about, "Albert Roussel"
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: cilgwyn on August 28, 2012, 09:30:15 AM
How about, "Albert Roussel"
;D
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: snyprrr on August 28, 2012, 02:24:46 PM
   I've been contacted by someone here about changing the name of this thread , but I'm not sure what it should be.
   Any one have any suggestions ?  How about "Roussel's Reality Check"?  "Roussel's Temple of  Doom?"  (Refers to the  temple
in his opera Padmavati where she meets her strange doom ).

.Le Rue-Rue-Roussel.!! ;) ;D


Or, how about a nautical theme?,..mm,...  'The Roussel Compass',... 'Le Nautique Roussel',... 'Roussel: From Impressionism to Neo-Classicism',...

'Le Tarp Roussel',... 'Le Cafe Roussel',... 'Cafe Roussel',... I like that, but it makes it look like his name is Cafe! ::)

'Roullade a la Roussel',...

'Roussel's Roustabout',...

I just don't have good French.

'Le Parcel Roussel'
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: North Star on August 28, 2012, 02:38:01 PM
Rue de Roussel.

I haven't heard anything by Roussel before, but am listening to the Piano Concerto now, and it sounds like I need to investigate further sometime.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: snyprrr on August 29, 2012, 05:27:38 AM
Rue de Roussel.

I haven't heard anything by Roussel before, but am listening to the Piano Concerto now, and it sounds like I need to investigate further sometime.

I feel like I'm on a political action committee here, haha!!

BUY ZOLOFT NOW

BUT ZOLOFT NOW

BUY ZOLOFT NOW
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Superhorn on August 29, 2012, 06:42:15 AM
   Rue de Roussel . Not bad !   
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Mirror Image on August 29, 2012, 04:26:21 PM
Rue de Roussel.

I haven't heard anything by Roussel before, but am listening to the Piano Concerto now, and it sounds like I need to investigate further sometime.

His Piano Concerto is a very minor work, Karlo. You should definitely hear his four symphonies, especially Symphony No. 3 and the ballets Le festin de l'araignée and Bacchus et Ariane. For me, these are his crowning achievements.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: snyprrr on August 30, 2012, 04:34:52 AM
His Piano Concerto is a very minor work

 :o :o :o
 :o :o :o
 :o :o :o
 :o :o :o

sacre bleu!!


mm... I see the Title hasn't changed yet. >:D preparing spam cannon
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: eyeresist on August 30, 2012, 05:23:58 PM
mm... I see the Title hasn't changed yet. >:D preparing spam cannon

Yeah - change "sadly" to "justly" :P
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: snyprrr on August 30, 2012, 06:22:48 PM
Yeah - change "sadly" to "justly" :P

DOH! :o
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: snyprrr on August 30, 2012, 06:23:29 PM
How long will poor Roussel be subjected to this indignity. :'(
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Brian on August 30, 2012, 06:55:12 PM
Yeah - change "sadly" to "justly" :P
Just for that, I'm putting on Le marchand de sable qui passe as my bedtime music.
Title: Rue de Roussel.
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on August 31, 2012, 02:04:42 AM
Rue de Roussel.

I haven't heard anything by Roussel before, but am listening to the Piano Concerto now, and it sounds like I need to investigate further sometime.

Tell me about the Concerto, Karlo. Three movements, overall duration? How is the piano writing? TIA
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: madaboutmahler on August 31, 2012, 05:43:07 AM
His Piano Concerto is a very minor work, Karlo. You should definitely hear his four symphonies, especially Symphony No. 3 and the ballets Le festin de l'araignée and Bacchus et Ariane. For me, these are his crowning achievements.

I don't know the piano concerto, so like Karl, I shall be interested in hearing what you have to say about that, Karlo! I completely agree with John that you should definitely listen to works like the 3rd symphony and ballets. Really great works! :)
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: snyprrr on August 31, 2012, 12:42:32 PM
I'd say the PC is a little like Stravinsky, but more gruff and clangy.

Let's not forget the Thread Title!! ;)
Title: Re: Rue de Roussel.
Post by: North Star on August 31, 2012, 10:39:24 PM
Tell me about the Concerto, Karlo. Three movements, overall duration? How is the piano writing? TIA

Three movements, Lélia Gousseau (piano), Paul Sacher & Orchestre des Concerts Lamoureux take 16:34
Piano and Orchestra (piccolo, 2 flutes, oboe, english horn, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 2 horns, 2 trumpets, timpani, triangle, snare drum, cymbals, bass drum, strings)

There's certainly a bit of the Sacre Stravinsky there, stabbing chords and that sort of stuff. Not much happy (major) stuff. Eerie slow movement with nice sonorities from the winds.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: snyprrr on September 01, 2012, 05:42:53 AM
Change the Thread Title.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: North Star on September 01, 2012, 05:43:52 AM
Change the Thread Title.
You mean the sadly neglected thread title?
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: snyprrr on September 01, 2012, 06:09:39 AM
You mean the sadly neglected thread title?

I fear my resolve won't nearly equal that of the watchers. CHANGE THE TITLE ALREADY SO I CAN GO ON WITH MY LIFE!!!!
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: snyprrr on September 01, 2012, 07:09:12 AM
Not so neglected now, are ya buddy/! ;)
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: snyprrr on September 01, 2012, 07:18:38 AM
So, there was this girl I was hot for, and time goes on, and this and that, and her birthday was coming up, and I thought this would be a good time to ask her out.

Now, in between, there is a death in the family, and, poof, all this change,... but, I digress. So, I'm at this function where I'm sure to see her, and, there she is,... but, she's sitting next to this, frankly, doofus looking guy,... and, then I see the finger bruises on her upper arm,... uh, from where he's holding her when he's pounding,... and,... uh,...

Yes, I'm about to get sick too. Has this happened to you that when you're ready to ask out the one you're sweet on, that you end up seeing/hearing something that you simply cannot un see? Oh, I tell you my friends, that stuff hurts, even if it is just bullshit.

Having someone say, "Sorry, I'm dating someone", is just galaxies away from seeing some unworthy's handiwork in all its glory. Talk about leaving a bad taste in the mouth,.. eeewww, spit, yak, sp sp sp,... ack, there's hair on my tongue, gag!!


So, did I tell you what happened when this other cute lady ask ME :o out?? No? Well, it was even worse than this one. You want to complain about Roussel, who, at least, some people like? Try getting a date in this neck of the woods. >:D
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: snyprrr on September 02, 2012, 01:22:49 PM
Thread Duty
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: snyprrr on September 03, 2012, 05:28:42 AM
good morning New thread Title
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: snyprrr on September 03, 2012, 07:53:23 PM
,night
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: snyprrr on September 04, 2012, 07:18:23 AM
maybe today the title will be changed
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: snyprrr on September 05, 2012, 07:01:13 AM
for your consideration
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Mirror Image on September 05, 2012, 09:11:40 AM
snyprrr, I really wish you would give it up. It's obvious the OP isn't going to change the thread title. Put your energies into something else. You're adding nothing to the discussion with this kind of discourse.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: snyprrr on September 05, 2012, 05:17:11 PM
snyprrr, I really wish you would give it up. It's obvious the OP isn't going to change the thread title. Put your energies into something else. You're adding nothing to the discussion with this kind of discourse.

How bout the mods just do everyone a favor, hmm?

Maybe someone could complain to the mods. I mean, this wasn't meant to be discourse: I have hijacked the roussel thread!!; this was meant to piss people off. So, whether the thread title gets changed, or I get baned, matters not when the stakes are this high!!

Get used to hearing what I had for breakfast right here, until someone SHOWS ROUSSEL SOME RESPECT!!!

ugh :(
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: snyprrr on September 05, 2012, 06:25:20 PM
Ready to Transmit
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: John Copeland on September 05, 2012, 06:50:04 PM
Roussel is not played as often as perhaps he should.  He has a real champion in fellow Frenchman, conductor Stéphane Denève.  I must listen to what I have of Roussel, by Denève and my home band the RSNO.  Out there are the symphonies,  Bacchus et Ariane, etc on Naxos, and even a box set of the same too.  Charles Dutoit and Orchestre National de France also have a full symphonic release and a box of chamber works is available from Brilliant Classics.  I have only listened a couple of times to Roussel...I will pick up on it, because I remember liking what I heard.  I am not so sure he is 'sadly neglected' though.   :(  But aye, we should hear more of him...
***pans through CD's to find Roussel****
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: snyprrr on September 06, 2012, 06:57:00 AM
Roussel is not played as often as perhaps he should.  He has a real champion in fellow Frenchman, conductor Stéphane Denève.  I must listen to what I have of Roussel, by Denève and my home band the RSNO.  Out there are the symphonies,  Bacchus et Ariane, etc on Naxos, and even a box set of the same too.  Charles Dutoit and Orchestre National de France also have a full symphonic release and a box of chamber works is available from Brilliant Classics.  I have only listened a couple of times to Roussel...I will pick up on it, because I remember liking what I heard.  I am not so sure he is 'sadly neglected' though.   :(  But aye, we should hear more of him...
***pans through CD's to find Roussel****

Perhaps you would like to visit the New, 'Real' Roussel Thread? :-*
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: snyprrr on September 06, 2012, 07:12:15 PM
of course any cooperation is greatly welcomed
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: TheGSMoeller on October 28, 2013, 04:44:29 AM
Which one for a first complete symphonies cycle? Please includes comments on why if you could.  :)



Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Brian on October 28, 2013, 04:55:33 AM
Well, I don't have the Janowski to compare, unfortunately, but one reason to "splurge" on the Naxos is all the bonus goodies: the rip-roaring full-throttle ballet Bacchus et Ariane (the bacchanale is one of my favorite endings in all music, and the Scottish horns are jaw-dropping); the ultimate soul comfort food of the cheery Suite in F; and a work that I've played dozens of times at bedtime to end my day, Le marchand de sable qui passe - this is an oversimplification, but basically, try to imagine an orchestration of Clair de lune that was 18 minutes long.

Some day I plan to get the Janowski and throw them into head-to-head combat, but I've gotten my money's worth out of the Naxos box from the Suite in F alone: it's become my ultimate pick-me-up music, for when I need a quick restorative. Works as well as stuff like Strauss waltzes, Rossini overtures, L'apprenti sorcier, and a piece it's not that far off from in style, Chabrier's Espagna. :)
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Mirror Image on October 28, 2013, 07:59:58 AM
Which one for a first complete symphonies cycle? Please includes comments on why if you could.  :)



Get the Deneve for the reasons that Brian points out. There are so many goodies scattered on each disc that it makes it an instant recommendation. If you buy the Deneve set you might as well pick up this one as well (which isn't included in the box set):

Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: snyprrr on October 28, 2013, 08:20:29 AM
The OTHER Roussel Thread- A Sadly Neglected French Composer Thread :'(
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on October 28, 2013, 08:33:11 AM
The OTHER Roussel Thread- A Sadly Neglected French Composer Thread :'(

Well, I guess whingeing isn't all that attractive . . . .
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on October 28, 2013, 08:33:38 AM
I am more interested in this Brilliant box



Thanks, that does indeed look interesting.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Christo on June 20, 2015, 06:29:29 AM
David - yes, I own the Brilliant set of his Chamber Works (posted back on pg. 2 in 2008!) - enjoyed but probably have not listened to the recording since that time, so cannot make any specific comments @ the moment; the price is certainly right for the 3-CD set; some decent Amazonian reviews that are more than the typical short comments (4+/5* overall rating) & excellent review on MusicWeb (http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2007/Aug07/Roussel_8413.htm) - seems like the best compilation at present - Dave  :D

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51HYATr1FNL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

Thanks for the tip. Found it today in a second-hand shop, for 1 euro.  :)
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 20, 2015, 07:03:06 AM
Thanks, that does indeed look interesting.

Thanks for the tip. Found it today in a second-hand shop, for 1 euro.  :)

Thanks for the reminder  8)  I really should at least listen to the samples . . . .
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Christo on June 20, 2015, 07:14:28 AM
 :)
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: cilgwyn on March 16, 2017, 08:07:48 AM
I love some of these older recordings of French music by French conductors. This cd includes a recording of his late ballet for chorus and orchestra,Aeneas. I must admit to being quite bowled over by the quality of this score. The choral contributions are terrific.

(http://i.imgur.com/IDHT7TL.jpg)
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Maestro267 on March 18, 2017, 11:14:00 AM
I'm tempted to pick up the two Ultima 2-disc sets, one containing the 4 symphonies, the other containing other orchestral works including three complete ballets.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: cilgwyn on March 21, 2017, 05:49:23 AM
I'm tempted to pick up the two Ultima 2-disc sets, one containing the 4 symphonies, the other containing other orchestral works including three complete ballets.
I found Dutoit's recordings of the Roussel a tad on the bland side,myself. I've only kept the set for his interpretation of the First Symphony,which seems the best of the set. Also,there aren't so many alternatives!! I believe that Mirror Image felt the same way about these recordings;although I may be wrong? Dutoit is not one of my favourite conductors,I should add! (His Honegger got taken to a charity shop!!) I would save the money,personally,and get some alternative recordings,even if it costs a bit more!! Ultimately,the decision is yours,though!! :)
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Mirror Image on March 21, 2017, 05:57:14 AM
I found Dutoit's recordings of the Roussel a tad on the bland side,myself. I've only kept the set for his interpretation of the First Symphony,which seems the best of the set. Also,there aren't so many alternatives!! I believe that Mirror Image felt the same way about these recordings;although I may be wrong? Dutoit is not one of my favourite conductors,I should add! (His Honegger got taken to a charity shop!!) I would save the money,personally,and get some alternative recordings,even if it costs a bit more!! Ultimately,the decision is yours,though!! :)

Yes, that’s correct. Dutoit is fine in the 1st, but is rather mediocre in the other three. Deneve is probably the best bet for a good, consistent cycle. Eschenbach and Janowski are also pretty good, but I think Eschenbach was the weakest in the 3rd while Janowski’s 2nd seemed to be gasping for air the entire time. But, in all fairness, no cycle is not without its' flaws.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: cilgwyn on March 21, 2017, 06:50:10 AM
Thanks! Dutoit's Honegger and Roussel just seemed a bit dull,on the whole. His Roussel No 1,excepted! I hadn't heard Honegger for a few years. I listened to the Dutoit about twice when I got it. Baudo,by comparison,was a revelation! Not being familiar with his entire cycle I remembered the Karajan from my library borrowing days. When I bought the Honegger set,I thought Honegger definitely sounded more interesting than this?!!! ??? I must say,I have yet to hear a recording by Dutoit which I haven't found bland. There is always a more interesting alternative.
Not knocking him,though. I'm just a listener. But there's just something missing!!
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Mirror Image on March 21, 2017, 07:29:38 AM
Thanks! Dutoit's Honegger and Roussel just seemed a bit dull,on the whole. His Roussel No 1,excepted! I hadn't heard Honegger for a few years. I listened to the Dutoit about twice when I got it. Baudo,by comparison,was a revelation! Not being familiar with his entire cycle I remembered the Karajan from my library borrowing days. When I bought the Honegger set,I thought Honegger definitely sounded more interesting than this?!!! ??? I must say,I have yet to hear a recording by Dutoit which I haven't found bland. There is always a more interesting alternative.
Not knocking him,though. I'm just a listener. But there's just something missing!!

Dutoit’s strengths, IMHO, are in Impressionistic music. Other than this, I haven’t really been wowed by anything he’s done either.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: relm1 on March 21, 2017, 05:18:53 PM
Dutoit’s strengths, IMHO, are in Impressionistic music. Other than this, I haven’t really been wowed by anything he’s done either.

Dutoit is excellent with the bombastic music too!  His Prokofiev and Holst Planets are fantastic.  So his range is wide.  A very fine conductor.  I expect your experience with his conducting is limited.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Mirror Image on March 21, 2017, 08:05:59 PM
Dutoit is excellent with the bombastic music too!  His Prokofiev and Holst Planets are fantastic.  So his range is wide.  A very fine conductor.  I expect your experience with his conducting is limited.

No, not limited at all, relm1. I’ve heard his Stravinsky, Prokofiev, Holst, Shostakovich, Honegger, Tchaikovsky, Janacek, Berlioz, Rachmaninov, and a few others. I still stand by my original opinion that I’m not impressed with much he’s done. He doesn’t wow me or make me say “I’ve got to hear that performance again!”
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Monsieur Croche on March 22, 2017, 12:08:45 AM
Dutoit is excellent with the bombastic music too!  His Prokofiev and Holst Planets are fantastic.  So his range is wide.  A very fine conductor.  I expect your experience with his conducting is limited.

I have yet to hear a Dutoit conducted recording that to me did not sound too fast -- somewhere between more than just a little or more;  those I've heard have all seemed rushed, ergo, they bypass allowing the music to speak... to the point where I simply now pass over any of his recordings I have not yet heard and instead look for another performance. (chacun à son goût)
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Daverz on September 27, 2018, 11:27:03 AM
There seem to be 3 recordings of the fascinating String Quartet available for streaming

Schoenberg Quartet: https://open.spotify.com/album/7ni2mYLd7AnfU9hUjjmrCn
Quatuor Rosamonde: https://open.spotify.com/album/1Rek0LfWxydsTaxvr2UGyT
Loewenguth Quartet: https://open.spotify.com/album/1JF1Ad25A6XAIQw3wmjmf1 (Vox, not the earlier Decca)

And then there's the arrangement by the Aurelia Saxophone Quartet:

https://open.spotify.com/album/6QrFxJI3mPjSFVPqZJFLau

I've also ordered the Via Nova Quartet on CD:

Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: cilgwyn on September 28, 2018, 08:03:01 AM
Dutoit is excellent with the bombastic music too!  His Prokofiev and Holst Planets are fantastic.  So his range is wide.  A very fine conductor.  I expect your experience with his conducting is limited.
Not with Mi's collection! I must admit Dutoit's conducting never does anything for me,either! Rattle's another one. But each to his own. If it excites you,go for it!! :)
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Ghost of Baron Scarpia on September 28, 2018, 08:09:09 AM
Not with Mi's collection! I must admit Dutoit's conducting never does anything for me,either! Rattle's another one. But each to his own. If it excites you,go for it!! :)

At one point I was universally down on Dutoit, but I've come to appreciate some of his stuff. He did a Bartok disc including the CfO and Music for strings, celesta and percussion which was really outstanding. And a Ravel La Valse which ended with a truly stunning tour de force of orchestral playing - getting the complex rhythm just right at a thrilling tempo. Maestro Guess Your Weight did some things right.

But, back to the subject, I find myself dependent on him for Roussel symphonies, although there are some worthwhile alternatives from Cluytens and Ansermet. Then there's Janowski and Deneve, which I've been meaning to listen to.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: ritter on September 28, 2018, 08:17:48 AM
There seem to be 3 recordings of the fascinating String Quartet available for streaming

Schoenberg Quartet: https://open.spotify.com/album/7ni2mYLd7AnfU9hUjjmrCn
Quatuor Rosamonde: https://open.spotify.com/album/1Rek0LfWxydsTaxvr2UGyT
Loewenguth Quartet: https://open.spotify.com/album/1JF1Ad25A6XAIQw3wmjmf1 (Vox, not the earlier Decca)

And then there's the arrangement by the Aurelia Saxophone Quartet:

https://open.spotify.com/album/6QrFxJI3mPjSFVPqZJFLau

I've also ordered the Via Nova Quartet on CD:


I was listening to the Schönberg Quartet’s recording of the Roussel SQ just some days ago, and was very favourably impressed (even more so as some of the other chamber music contained in the 3 CD set on Brilliant seemed rather inconsequential). Roussel is at the top of his game in the SQ IMHO, as the medium makes him find—as is the case with many composers—a felicitous balance between rigour and inventiveness.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Daverz on September 28, 2018, 04:04:25 PM
I was listening to the Schönberg Quartet’s recording of the Roussel SQ just some days ago, and was very favourably impressed (even more so as some of the other chamber music contained in the 3 CD set on Brilliant seemed rather inconsequential). Roussel is at the top of his game in the SQ IMHO, as the medium makes him find—as is the case with many composers—a felicitous balance between rigour and inventiveness.

Got the Quatuor Via Nova set today.  The recording is disappointingly dry, but the Via Nova have good tone and their playing is alert.

New recordings would certainly be welcome.

...Listening to the Quatuor Rosamunde again, I think this is the best: excellent recording, and their playing is more dynamic.

Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Biffo on September 29, 2018, 12:35:35 AM
Does anyone know the Plasson recording of Padmavati? If so what do you think of it - I only have the Martinon live recording and the sound is rather ropey.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: ritter on September 29, 2018, 12:54:15 AM
Does anyone know the Plasson recording of Padmavati? If so what do you think of it - I only have the Martinon live recording and the sound is rather ropey.

(https://img.discogs.com/shtnCiDyVbK_whJY08rlGU7RrKU=/fit-in/600x600/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(90)/discogs-images/R-5788675-1447861296-1407.jpeg.jpg)

I’ve owned it since it was first released—in its original incarnation pictured above—, and find it a first-rate affair all-round. Marlyn Horne is outstanding in a role one wouldn’t immediately identify with her, and Nicolai Gedda and José van Dam are excellent as well. Also, the awkward CD break of the Martinon (just before the lead’s ravishing “Oh mes soeurs fidèles” airoso IIRC) is better placed in the Plasson, thus not destroying the great arch of the whole scene. It’s good to have the Martinon, of course (it’s one of the very few opera recordings by that conductor available, and its roster of soloists is very strong as well), but the Plasson IMHO is preferable (not only because of its far superior sound).

I’m surprised there’s so few versions of this beautiful and noble work available in the market, and that is almost never performed.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Biffo on September 29, 2018, 01:30:29 AM
(https://img.discogs.com/shtnCiDyVbK_whJY08rlGU7RrKU=/fit-in/600x600/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(90)/discogs-images/R-5788675-1447861296-1407.jpeg.jpg)

I’ve owned it since it was first released—in its original incarnation pictured above—, and find it a first-rate affair all-round. Marlyn Horne is outstanding in a role one wouldn’t immediately identify with her, and Nicolai Gedda and José van Dam are excellent as well. Also, the awkward CD break of the Martinon (just before the lead’s ravishing “Oh mes soeurs fidèles” airoso IIRC) is better placed in the Plasson, thus not destroying the great arch of the whole scene. It’s good to have the Martinon, of course (it’s one of the very few opera recordings by that conductor available, and its roster of soloists is very strong as well), but the Plasson IMHO is preferable (not only because of its far superior sound).

I’m surprised there’s so few versions of this beautiful and noble work available in the market, and that is almost never performed.

Many thanks for your comments - I will have to give the Plasson recording a try as it seems unlikely a new version will appear anytime soon.

Edit: Does the version shown have a libretto? The later reissue only has a link to a website that no longer exists. I have the choice of buying a secondhand version of the first release, a new CD of the reissue with no libretto or a lossless download with no libretto (by far the cheapest option).
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: ritter on September 29, 2018, 05:10:05 AM
The original release includes a 48 page booklet with an essay (in French and English) and the full libretto (also with an English translation).

Regards,
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Biffo on September 29, 2018, 05:15:26 AM
The original release includes a 48 page booklet with an essay (in French and English) and the full libretto (also with an English translation).

Regards,

Thanks again. Will now have to ponder the options but I am reluctant to buy an expensive secondhand copy of the original issue just for the libretto. I have a brief synopsis with the Martinon recording.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: SymphonicAddict on September 29, 2018, 08:51:51 AM
I'm curious about the rather negative commentaries about Dutoit on these symphonies. I've heard his cycle and I don't have important complaints. Why do some of you claim that?
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on September 29, 2018, 01:32:53 PM
I'm curious about the rather negative commentaries about Dutoit on these symphonies. I've heard his cycle and I don't have important complaints. Why do some of you claim that?
They are fine. People are just picky, and Dutoit is not popular on this forum. My only reservation is not the most up to date sound compared to Deneve.

Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: SymphonicAddict on September 29, 2018, 08:06:51 PM
They are fine. People are just picky, and Dutoit is not popular on this forum. My only reservation is not the most up to date sound compared to Deneve.

I agree with you, and I've had the same feeling about Dutoit on this forum. Anyway, the Deneve set seems to be slightly better. I compared both versions, the Deneve sounds more vivid and definite overall, but I wouldn't be without the Dutoit one either.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Brian 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.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Mirror Image 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.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Ghost of Baron Scarpia 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?
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Jo498 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. ;)
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Mirror Image 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’. ::)
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Mirror Image 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.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Ghost of Baron Scarpia 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.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Brian 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.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Jo498 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...)
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Mirror Image 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.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Ken B 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.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Mirror Image 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.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Ken B 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?
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Ghost of Baron Scarpia 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.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Mirror Image 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.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Mirror Image 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:
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Brian 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
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Ghost of Baron Scarpia 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).
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Daverz 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.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: pjme 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.





Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Brian on March 27, 2019, 08:06:20 AM
Presumably they simply included this set:

which is out of print, but already in my shopping cart (used).
Yes, the CD sleeves for the songs even have that cover art on them.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Mirror Image on March 27, 2019, 07:58:33 PM
To people using iTunes to rip music, has anyone who owns this Erato set had trouble bringing up the information of each disc?
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Brian on May 06, 2019, 11:28:39 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.

So far I've listened to:

CD1: The piano works and some solo works for other instruments. The sonatina in two movements and "Segovia," a two-minute encore for guitar, made the strongest impressions here. Turibio Santos is a super cool guitarist and Roussel's imitation of Spanish guitar is spot-on. The piano Suite Op. 14 is bogged down by a repetitive, slow opening movement. Flute piece is nice if generic.

CD2: Chamber works (not the whole CD though). Probably overall my least favorite disc so far. I have some of these works on a Brilliant Classics set, and neither feature the world's greatest artists.

CD4: Le Festin de l'araignée suite. A wonderful half-hour wonderfully played.

CD5: Suite in F. This is one of my favorite bits of light music ever, so it gets a lot of airtime in my house. The performance in this box is crackling and witty, as good as Paray on Mercury Living Presence.

CD6: Le Bardit des Francs, Madrigal aux muses, Psaume LXXX, Petite Suite, Symphony No. 3. Munch's performance of the Symphony is A+ stuff. The Psaume is a truly wild piece, with an almost violent opening that is far from suggesting religious fervor...high contrasts between sections and the bits of old-school religious harmony, when they arrive, are like beams of sun between the clouds. The Madrigal aux muses is actually a kinda cool little miniature, for three female voices.

General comments: Listening to this much Roussel in rapid succession confirms that the guy uses a handful of tricks over and over. One is the kind of motoric rhythm-as-melody writing that that would so heavily influence Roussel's protégé, Martinu. (Sidebar for Mirror Image: Roussel and Martinu are very heavily linked in my mind. Even more so than, say, Roussel and Debussy, which would be an accurate prism to view the Frenchman's earlier work like Symphony No. 1 and Le marchand de sable qui passe, which tragically is NOT in this Erato box.) There are lots of fast movements with the kind of ticky-tocky stuff that should not be catchy, but is, much like in Martinu's 30s neobaroque stuff.

The other thing that Roussel reminds me of...and this will require a bit of explanation...is Erroll Garner.

https://www.youtube.com/v/tASVN1YGYZg

Garner has this constant mannerism - it's my favorite thing about him - where every tune begins with this wild, thorny introduction that has absolutely no apparent relation to what follows. And your ears are getting absolutely whacked by this nutty loud intro with grinding dissonances and crazy chords - and then oops, Garner just slips right into some super famous pop tune. Everybody grins and laughs and settles back. Then, next song, he starts playing something insane again and you sit forward going "What the hell is this one going to be?"

So many Roussel pieces are like that!! Hearing them all side by side in a box, I notice time and again that he seems to use modernity as a sort of trick. Roussel whomps your ears with something bizarre (like the start of Psaume LXXX) and you go "What the hell is this?!" and then the harmony takes a sharp left turn, the key might go from minor to major, and some galloping wonderful melody resolves out of the ensemble and you go, "Oh, THAT's what this is about." Another classic example, of course, is the overture to Bacchus et Ariane. So as the set went on, I started listening to each new work with the mindset of, "Wow, this is off to a weird start, where on earth is he gonna go?" And then he finds some way to claw out of the corner and toward his primary voice.

So far the box has not changed the list of Roussel works I'd consider favorites, except the tiny "Segovia," but there is still plenty of time. Especially with the albums of songs; between this and the Fauré songs in the Michel Dalberto box, I now have a whole lot of French chansons to get through in the coming months.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Ghost of Baron Scarpia on May 06, 2019, 11:35:41 AM
as good as Paray on Mercury Living Presence.

I forgot I have that!
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Mirror Image on May 06, 2019, 01:20:56 PM
So far I've listened to:

CD1: The piano works and some solo works for other instruments. The sonatina in two movements and "Segovia," a two-minute encore for guitar, made the strongest impressions here. Turibio Santos is a super cool guitarist and Roussel's imitation of Spanish guitar is spot-on. The piano Suite Op. 14 is bogged down by a repetitive, slow opening movement. Flute piece is nice if generic.

CD2: Chamber works (not the whole CD though). Probably overall my least favorite disc so far. I have some of these works on a Brilliant Classics set, and neither feature the world's greatest artists.

CD4: Le Festin de l'araignée suite. A wonderful half-hour wonderfully played.

CD5: Suite in F. This is one of my favorite bits of light music ever, so it gets a lot of airtime in my house. The performance in this box is crackling and witty, as good as Paray on Mercury Living Presence.

CD6: Le Bardit des Francs, Madrigal aux muses, Psaume LXXX, Petite Suite, Symphony No. 3. Munch's performance of the Symphony is A+ stuff. The Psaume is a truly wild piece, with an almost violent opening that is far from suggesting religious fervor...high contrasts between sections and the bits of old-school religious harmony, when they arrive, are like beams of sun between the clouds. The Madrigal aux muses is actually a kinda cool little miniature, for three female voices.

General comments: Listening to this much Roussel in rapid succession confirms that the guy uses a handful of tricks over and over. One is the kind of motoric rhythm-as-melody writing that that would so heavily influence Roussel's protégé, Martinu. (Sidebar for Mirror Image: Roussel and Martinu are very heavily linked in my mind. Even more so than, say, Roussel and Debussy, which would be an accurate prism to view the Frenchman's earlier work like Symphony No. 1 and Le marchand de sable qui passe, which tragically is NOT in this Erato box.) There are lots of fast movements with the kind of ticky-tocky stuff that should not be catchy, but is, much like in Martinu's 30s neobaroque stuff.

The other thing that Roussel reminds me of...and this will require a bit of explanation...is Erroll Garner.

https://www.youtube.com/v/tASVN1YGYZg

Garner has this constant mannerism - it's my favorite thing about him - where every tune begins with this wild, thorny introduction that has absolutely no apparent relation to what follows. And your ears are getting absolutely whacked by this nutty loud intro with grinding dissonances and crazy chords - and then oops, Garner just slips right into some super famous pop tune. Everybody grins and laughs and settles back. Then, next song, he starts playing something insane again and you sit forward going "What the hell is this one going to be?"

So many Roussel pieces are like that!! Hearing them all side by side in a box, I notice time and again that he seems to use modernity as a sort of trick. Roussel whomps your ears with something bizarre (like the start of Psaume LXXX) and you go "What the hell is this?!" and then the harmony takes a sharp left turn, the key might go from minor to major, and some galloping wonderful melody resolves out of the ensemble and you go, "Oh, THAT's what this is about." Another classic example, of course, is the overture to Bacchus et Ariane. So as the set went on, I started listening to each new work with the mindset of, "Wow, this is off to a weird start, where on earth is he gonna go?" And then he finds some way to claw out of the corner and toward his primary voice.

So far the box has not changed the list of Roussel works I'd consider favorites, except the tiny "Segovia," but there is still plenty of time. Especially with the albums of songs; between this and the Fauré songs in the Michel Dalberto box, I now have a whole lot of French chansons to get through in the coming months.

Thanks for the write-up, Brian. Quite informative, although I knew of the Roussel/Martinů connection. I still have yet to find Roussel’s personal compositional voice, though and Martinů’s voice is instantly recognizable to me and, as you know, he’s one of my favorite composers. Roussel lacks a certain kind of lyricism in his music that I hear in Martinů all day long. Roussel seems black/white while Martinů is working in technicolor. I don’t know if this makes any sense, but it’s my roundabout way of saying that, while Roussel is an interesting figure in 20th Century French music, he’ll never come close to exciting me the way Debussy or Ravel have done (and continue to do).
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: ritter on May 07, 2019, 07:49:25 AM
So far I've listened to:

CD1: The piano works and some solo works for other instruments. The sonatina in two movements and "Segovia," a two-minute encore for guitar, made the strongest impressions here. Turibio Santos is a super cool guitarist and Roussel's imitation of Spanish guitar is spot-on. The piano Suite Op. 14 is bogged down by a repetitive, slow opening movement. Flute piece is nice if generic.

CD2: Chamber works (not the whole CD though). Probably overall my least favorite disc so far. I have some of these works on a Brilliant Classics set, and neither feature the world's greatest artists.

CD4: Le Festin de l'araignée suite. A wonderful half-hour wonderfully played.

CD5: Suite in F. This is one of my favorite bits of light music ever, so it gets a lot of airtime in my house. The performance in this box is crackling and witty, as good as Paray on Mercury Living Presence.

CD6: Le Bardit des Francs, Madrigal aux muses, Psaume LXXX, Petite Suite, Symphony No. 3. Munch's performance of the Symphony is A+ stuff. The Psaume is a truly wild piece, with an almost violent opening that is far from suggesting religious fervor...high contrasts between sections and the bits of old-school religious harmony, when they arrive, are like beams of sun between the clouds. The Madrigal aux muses is actually a kinda cool little miniature, for three female voices.

General comments: Listening to this much Roussel in rapid succession confirms that the guy uses a handful of tricks over and over. One is the kind of motoric rhythm-as-melody writing that that would so heavily influence Roussel's protégé, Martinu. (Sidebar for Mirror Image: Roussel and Martinu are very heavily linked in my mind. Even more so than, say, Roussel and Debussy, which would be an accurate prism to view the Frenchman's earlier work like Symphony No. 1 and Le marchand de sable qui passe, which tragically is NOT in this Erato box.) There are lots of fast movements with the kind of ticky-tocky stuff that should not be catchy, but is, much like in Martinu's 30s neobaroque stuff.

The other thing that Roussel reminds me of...and this will require a bit of explanation...is Erroll Garner.

https://www.youtube.com/v/tASVN1YGYZg

Garner has this constant mannerism - it's my favorite thing about him - where every tune begins with this wild, thorny introduction that has absolutely no apparent relation to what follows. And your ears are getting absolutely whacked by this nutty loud intro with grinding dissonances and crazy chords - and then oops, Garner just slips right into some super famous pop tune. Everybody grins and laughs and settles back. Then, next song, he starts playing something insane again and you sit forward going "What the hell is this one going to be?"

So many Roussel pieces are like that!! Hearing them all side by side in a box, I notice time and again that he seems to use modernity as a sort of trick. Roussel whomps your ears with something bizarre (like the start of Psaume LXXX) and you go "What the hell is this?!" and then the harmony takes a sharp left turn, the key might go from minor to major, and some galloping wonderful melody resolves out of the ensemble and you go, "Oh, THAT's what this is about." Another classic example, of course, is the overture to Bacchus et Ariane. So as the set went on, I started listening to each new work with the mindset of, "Wow, this is off to a weird start, where on earth is he gonna go?" And then he finds some way to claw out of the corner and toward his primary voice.

So far the box has not changed the list of Roussel works I'd consider favorites, except the tiny "Segovia," but there is still plenty of time. Especially with the albums of songs; between this and the Fauré songs in the Michel Dalberto box, I now have a whole lot of French chansons to get through in the coming months.
A very inetersting read, Brian. Thanks!

I'm going through the box myself. I did like the beginneing of the Piano Suite, op. 14, but found that the later movements were tiresome (so effectively the opposite reaction to yours  ;)).

Now going through CD6: The Psaume is interesting if slightly disconcerting. The a capella piece for female voices said nothing to me, and I found the vocal performances so-so at best  ::). The Petite suite sounded very Gershwin-esque in this performance (even if I don't think Roussel could have listened to An American in Paris when he was compsoing it). The Symphony No. 3 under Münch is, as you say, a stunner! Great, great recording.

Lots for me to explore still. Loooking forward to it... :)
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Ghost of Baron Scarpia on May 07, 2019, 08:01:34 AM
I think of Roussel as a composer who wrote a relatively small core of very fine works, the symphonies 2, 3, 4, the Sinfonietta, the Suit in F, Bacchus. I like the ascerbic neo-classicism he brings to his mature works. Sometimes I am tempted to think that he is "derivative" or "not original" but then I can't think of any composers whose works make the the same impression. I get a lot of enjoyment from his works.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: pjme on May 07, 2019, 08:28:07 AM
"Evocations" is a delightful (early) work.

https://www.youtube.com/v/9dIpnQjgF4c

I hope to hear it in Utrecht / Vredenburg / september 20th

Radio Filharmonisch Orkest
Groot Omroepkoor
James Gaffigan dirigent
Sasha Cooke mezzosopraan
Cécile van de Sant alt
Alessandro Fischer tenor
Jean-Luc Ballestra bariton

programma
Debussy Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune
Ravel Shéhérazade
Roussel Évocations

Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Mirror Image on May 07, 2019, 09:49:19 AM
I think of Roussel as a composer who wrote a relatively small core of very fine works, the symphonies 2, 3, 4, the Sinfonietta, the Suit in F, Bacchus. I like the ascerbic neo-classicism he brings to his mature works. Sometimes I am tempted to think that he is "derivative" or "not original" but then I can't think of any composers whose works make the the same impression. I get a lot of enjoyment from his works.

The problem I’ve had (or continue having) is that I don’t really hear an individual compositional voice in Roussel’s music. I’ll admit to liking his Symphony No. 3 a lot (that middle movement Adagio is gorgeous) and I do like the ballets like Le Festin de l’araignée and Bacchus et Ariane, but even with these works I’d say they don’t exactly excite me or intrigue me. I guess I’ll just have to put him in the category of ‘to listen to 10 years from now’.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Brian on May 07, 2019, 10:07:13 AM
I guess I’ll just have to put him in the category of ‘to listen to 10 years from now’.

Yup. I think he's just not for you, or you don't like him, or whatever. You're listening to the right stuff and Roussel really has a big bold vibrant voice - none of these works sound like anybody else to me, I totally agree with Scarpia on this - but it's just not a voice you're getting. No harm in that. Plenty of composers I don't get.

I also agree with Scarpia that the list of really good Roussel is pretty short. But I also have a soft spot for the really early works because I like all that fluffy impressionist genre of stuff.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Mirror Image on May 14, 2019, 07:13:54 PM
Cross-posted from the ‘Listening’ thread -

Now:

Roussel
Symphony No. 1 in D minor ("Le poème de la forêt"), Op. 7
Leif Segerstam, conductor
Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz


(https://rovimusic.rovicorp.com/image.jpg?c=xr8IAcWCsw0UPto2COE6_T6KsMttLlyBmmVTZ6_CLs0=&f=5)

Absolutely stunning! I’m not sure where my mind was many weeks ago when I said Roussel wasn’t for me, but I was clearly listening with some concrete in my ears. It seems that I’m going to be preferring older performances of Roussel to the newer ones. There’s a certain magic here from Segerstam that I just don’t hear from Eschenbach or Denève for example.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Mirror Image on May 15, 2019, 01:58:52 PM
I yearn for a better recording of the String Trio and String Quartet (my two favorite Roussel chamber works).
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Daverz on May 20, 2019, 10:42:55 PM
I yearn for a better recording of the String Trio and String Quartet (my two favorite Roussel chamber works).

For the String Quartet, I recommend the Quatuor Rosamunde recording I mentioned a few pages back:



There is also an arrangement for saxophone quartet:

Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Mirror Image on May 21, 2019, 05:46:25 AM
For the String Quartet, I recommend the Quatuor Rosamunde recording I mentioned a few pages back:



There is also an arrangement for saxophone quartet:



Kudos, Daverz. 8)
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: mjmosca on October 12, 2019, 05:02:31 AM
Roussel is indeed a great composer, I love the 3rd and 4th Symphonies, and have the famous Munch recording. Another work that is very impressive is his opera, Padmavati, but I think it must be seen in the theater since the final dramatic climax does not have vocal participation [as I recall, its been a while since I listened to this work.]

I understand the criticism of Poulenc as being too precious, but he also had a much deeper side, as indicated by his great Dialogue of the Carmelites, and other religious works.

Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Mirror Image on October 14, 2019, 07:55:46 AM
I understand the criticism of Poulenc as being too precious, but he also had a much deeper side, as indicated by his great Dialogue of the Carmelites, and other religious works.

Indeed, but don’t forget about the chamber works. There’s a deep yearning in much of this music that shows Poulenc wasn’t all musical mischief.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Mirror Image on February 08, 2021, 09:12:43 PM
I have to say I’ve come around to Roussel quite a bit since my last critique in May of 2019. It does seem that there’s something deeper at work here in this music. His music can be divided up into three periods: Impressionism, Impressionism/Neoclassicism hybrid and finally Neoclassicism. In his middle period works with perhaps the 2nd symphony being the most obvious example we hear a composer who is transition but also someone who found a way to combine Impressionism with Neoclassicism. I have been great impressed by everything I’ve revisited so far. I need to spend more time with the chamber music and mélodies since I love both of these genres. I listened to a few of Roussel’s mélodies and they are quite good. The Roussel Edition on Erato is a treasure trove of classic performances and I urge everyone here who has an interest in this composer to pick up this set (if you haven’t already).
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Mirror Image on February 08, 2021, 09:19:04 PM
"Evocations" is a delightful (early) work.

https://www.youtube.com/v/9dIpnQjgF4c

I hope to hear it in Utrecht / Vredenburg / september 20th

Radio Filharmonisch Orkest
Groot Omroepkoor
James Gaffigan dirigent
Sasha Cooke mezzosopraan
Cécile van de Sant alt
Alessandro Fischer tenor
Jean-Luc Ballestra bariton

programma
Debussy Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune
Ravel Shéhérazade
Roussel Évocations

Évocations is a gorgeous work and it’s a piece that finds Roussel in the transitional period between his early Impressionist style and the Neoclassical style which he would later become more known for. I also like Résurrection, but this work is even earlier (composed in 1903 whereas Évocations was composed in 1911).
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Catison on July 27, 2021, 06:22:16 PM
I've just started listening to Roussel after I found the Chandos recording of his 3rd Symphony.  I just saw the name and I thought that I was going to get something like Couperin (I don't know why), so I was pleasantly surprised to hear some chromatic, rhythmic music that I would never have pegged as French.  But what was really surprised to hear were the proto-Martinu references, the little spinning motorific patterns that drive a lot of Martinu's orchestral music.  I absolutely love Martinu, and it always thought of him as a singular composer, because his sound is different than any other Czech composer I've heard.  I've also heard that Martinu's early music is French, and then always stumped me.  His colors are slightly impressionistic, but I didn't hear French.  Now I think I understand the sound.  And I've been diving into the Naxos discs.

Is there any music of Roussel's that you find particular influenced Martinu?  I feel like this is my way into this composer.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Mirror Image on July 27, 2021, 06:33:55 PM
I've just started listening to Roussel after I found the Chandos recording of his 3rd Symphony.  I just saw the name and I thought that I was going to get something like Couperin (I don't know why), so I was pleasantly surprised to hear some chromatic, rhythmic music that I would never have pegged as French.  But what was really surprised to hear were the proto-Martinu references, the little spinning motorific patterns that drive a lot of Martinu's orchestral music.  I absolutely love Martinu, and it always thought of him as a singular composer, because his sound is different than any other Czech composer I've heard.  I've also heard that Martinu's early music is French, and then always stumped me.  His colors are slightly impressionistic, but I didn't hear French.  Now I think I understand the sound.  And I've been diving into the Naxos discs.

Is there any music of Roussel's that you find particular influenced Martinu?  I feel like this is my way into this composer.

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.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Catison 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?
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Mirror Image 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.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Catison 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.)
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Symphonic Addict on November 02, 2021, 07:48:57 PM
The 2nd Symphony is hands down the best French symphony. I can't think otherwise. An exquisite, mysterious, dark, haunting, "subtle" and evocative creation. Quite riveting to be honest. It's the perfect bridge between his impressionist and neoclassical phases. For instance, the Trio from the 2nd movement is just bewitching in its majesty. Wow!!! An assured masterpiece in the league of the greats. It's not strange to think that this work could influence Martinu on his last symphony. The form is rather similar too. A desert-island symphony for me.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Mirror Image on November 02, 2021, 07:52:44 PM
The 2nd Symphony is hands down the best French symphony. I can't think otherwise. An exquisite, mysterious, dark, haunting, "subtle" and evocative creation. Quite riveting to be honest. It's the perfect bridge between his impressionist and neoclassical phases. For instance, the Trio from the 2nd movement is just bewitching in its majesty. Wow!!! An assured masterpiece in the league of the greats. It's not strange to think that this work could influence Martinu on his last symphony. The form is rather similar too. A desert-island symphony for me.

I agree in that I think Roussel is the best French symphonist bar none. The 2nd symphony is a fascinating mixture of Impressionism and Neoclassicism. It's almost as if he's still finding his "compositional footing" so to speak. Which performance did you listen to that impressed you so much?

A little follow-up to what you wrote: Roussel was Martinu's teacher, so the influence is quite likely.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Symphonic Addict on November 02, 2021, 08:00:18 PM
I agree in that I think Roussel is the best French symphonist bar none. The 2nd symphony is a fascinating mixture of Impressionism and Neoclassicism. It's almost as if he's still finding his "compositional footing" so to speak. Which performance did you listen to that impressed you so much?

From this:

(https://d1iiivw74516uk.cloudfront.net/eyJidWNrZXQiOiJwcmVzdG8tY292ZXItaW1hZ2VzIiwia2V5IjoiNzk0OTc5Ni4xLmpwZyIsImVkaXRzIjp7InJlc2l6ZSI6eyJ3aWR0aCI6OTAwfSwianBlZyI6eyJxdWFsaXR5Ijo2NX0sInRvRm9ybWF0IjoianBlZyJ9LCJ0aW1lc3RhbXAiOjE0NjEwODM5OTJ9)

An authentic interpretation, very French with razor playing, yet with a more Neoclassical leaning. At times I was reminded of Stravinsky. A fascinating work.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Mirror Image on November 02, 2021, 08:02:33 PM
From this:

(https://d1iiivw74516uk.cloudfront.net/eyJidWNrZXQiOiJwcmVzdG8tY292ZXItaW1hZ2VzIiwia2V5IjoiNzk0OTc5Ni4xLmpwZyIsImVkaXRzIjp7InJlc2l6ZSI6eyJ3aWR0aCI6OTAwfSwianBlZyI6eyJxdWFsaXR5Ijo2NX0sInRvRm9ybWF0IjoianBlZyJ9LCJ0aW1lc3RhbXAiOjE0NjEwODM5OTJ9)

An authentic interpretation, very French with razor playing, yet with a more Neoclassical leaning. At times I was reminded of Stravinsky. A fascinating work.

Yes, that is a fine 2-CD set. What do you think of Stéphane Denève's cycle on Naxos?
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Symphonic Addict on November 02, 2021, 10:48:46 PM
Yes, that is a fine 2-CD set. What do you think of Stéphane Denève's cycle on Naxos?

I quite like it, the performances are solid enough to consider it my favorite cycle. I think that the great sonics on these recordings benefit the music, so that is a great plus.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Mirror Image on November 03, 2021, 06:32:08 AM
I quite like it, the performances are solid enough to consider it my favorite cycle. I think that the great sonics on these recordings benefit the music, so that is a great plus.

I remain indifferent about the Denève cycle. I think the performances are too slack and faceless for me. I wrote a review about it:

This cycle from Stéphane Denève and his Scottish forces seems to get a lot of praise, but, for me, he is hardly competitive when one actually looks deeper into the Roussel discography. I have to say that I think it was a good move on Naxos’ part to record Roussel in the first-place since he’s a composer that still hasn’t received the kind of recognition as Debussy, Ravel, Poulenc or even Messiaen when talking about 20th Century French music. I think one of the problems with Roussel is not his music, but the general lack of modern performances that do his music justice. There have been some outstanding Roussel performances throughout the years, but I hate to say that this Denève set is not one of them. There are three points with what I perceive to be fundamentally wrong with Denève’s performances: 1. lack of visceral excitement and spontaneity, 2. sluggish tempi and 3. no general conception of the music other than to simply ‘play the notes’. Just because you have a French conductor up on the podium conducting a French composer’s music doesn’t mean it’s authoritative or somehow superior and I think this is what some of the reviews I’ve read concerning these recordings fail to address.

For some truly exciting Roussel performances, I say get the newly issued “Roussel Edition” on Erato, which contains many classic performances from Munch to Cluytens to Martinon, but also contains his oft-ignored chamber music, mélodies, solo piano works and his opera, “Padmâvatî”.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Symphonic Addict on November 04, 2021, 08:59:38 PM
I remain indifferent about the Denève cycle. I think the performances are too slack and faceless for me. I wrote a review about it:

This cycle from Stéphane Denève and his Scottish forces seems to get a lot of praise, but, for me, he is hardly competitive when one actually looks deeper into the Roussel discography. I have to say that I think it was a good move on Naxos’ part to record Roussel in the first-place since he’s a composer that still hasn’t received the kind of recognition as Debussy, Ravel, Poulenc or even Messiaen when talking about 20th Century French music. I think one of the problems with Roussel is not his music, but the general lack of modern performances that do his music justice. There have been some outstanding Roussel performances throughout the years, but I hate to say that this Denève set is not one of them. There are three points with what I perceive to be fundamentally wrong with Denève’s performances: 1. lack of visceral excitement and spontaneity, 2. sluggish tempi and 3. no general conception of the music other than to simply ‘play the notes’. Just because you have a French conductor up on the podium conducting a French composer’s music doesn’t mean it’s authoritative or somehow superior and I think this is what some of the reviews I’ve read concerning these recordings fail to address.

For some truly exciting Roussel performances, I say get the newly issued “Roussel Edition” on Erato, which contains many classic performances from Munch to Cluytens to Martinon, but also contains his oft-ignored chamber music, mélodies, solo piano works and his opera, “Padmâvatî”.

Ah yes, I could see your points, but I frankly hear other things and I don't care if they're more authentic or not, or more vintage recordings.

Denève is a great set to cherish.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Mirror Image on November 04, 2021, 09:27:51 PM
Ah yes, I could see your points, but I frankly hear other things and I don't care if they're more authentic or not, or more vintage recordings.

Denève is a great set to cherish.

As long as you feel something from the performances, this is all that matters. Of the more modern sets, I like Janowski on RCA and Eschenbach on Ondine, but it's been years since I've given a proper listen to the Eschenbach, but I remember enjoying his cycle.
Title: Re: Albert Roussel - A Sadly Neglected French Composer.
Post by: Brian on November 05, 2021, 10:11:10 AM
Since there was discussion about influences, I'd just like to point out two William Walton pieces that absolutely show the influence of Roussel - the Partita for orchestra and the slow movement of the Second Symphony (especially at the climax).