WALTER GIESEKING (pianoforte)
THE B B C ORCHESTRA
't (Section B)
Leader, ARTHUR CATTERALL
Conductor, ADRIAN BOULT
(First Performance in England)
Albert Roussel, born at Tourcoing in 1869, was educated at Tourcoing Naval College. In 1894 Roussel left the Navy and decided to devote himself to music. He went to Paris and studied under Gigout, and two years later became one of Vincent d'lndy's first pupils at the newly formed Schola Cantorum where he was appointed a professor in 1902, and in 1904 he wrote his first symphony, ' Le Poeme de la foret '.
During the war Roussel served with the Red Cross on the Marne, and then with the motor transport at Verdun and on the Somme. In 1918 he went to live quietly in Brittany where he wrote an opera, Padmavati, which was produced at the Paris Opera in 1923. Since that time a number of important works have come from his pen, including three more symphonies.
' As a composer', says Grove,
' Roussel possesses almost every quality but that of spontaneous invention: his work is fastidious and distinctive, full of colour, poetry, and decorative refinement, but seldom inspired in a purely musical sense. He conjures up images which appeal by their delicacy and individuality to the hearer's aesthetic perception rather than to his ear. Roussel is an artist first and a musician afterwards.
Roussel's later works, however, show a leaning towards the new developments of neo-classicism, particularly of the work of Stravinsky and Prokofiev, whose influence is to some extent discernible in his Symphony No. 3, in G minor. But, unlike most of the adherents of neo-classicism Roussel does not scorn lyrical utterance.
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