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Albert Roussel

Albert Roussel (1869-1937)

Nationality: French
Born: April 5, 1869, Tourcoing Died: August 23, 1937, Royan (age 68)

Trio, Op. 40 (for flute, viola and cello)

(for flute, viola and cello)
4:51 I. Allegro grazioso
6:06 II. Andante
4:52 III. Allegro non troppo
Duration: 15 minutes (approximately)
Composed: 1929 (age 59-60)
2 recordings, 6 videos
autoopen autoplay
5:01
Pappalettere, Corti, Benvenuti
I. Allegro grazioso
5:32
Pappalettere, Corti, Benvenuti
II. Andante
4:47
Pappalettere, Corti, Benvenuti
III. Allegro non troppo
4:41
Bove, et. al.
I. Allegro grazioso
6:40
Bove, et. al.
II. Andante
4:56
Bove, et. al.
III. Allegro non troppo
From Kai Christiansen

Albert Roussel, 1869-1937

Trio for Flute, Viola and Cello Op. 40, 1929

Albert Roussel was a gifted French composer, just seven years younger than Claude Debussy, who found his mature, individual style in a series of highly regarded early 20th century works for stage, orchestra, voice, piano and chamber music. Though his musical gifts were evident from a young age, Roussel began casually composing only in his late twenties while completing his formal music studies when he was nearly forty. Roussel first pursued his interests in mathematics and then joined the French Navy serving as midshipman for several years. Once he resigned and turned to music as a new full time, Roussel quickly mastered the art, studying at the Scholara Cantorum with D'Indy and becoming a teacher of counterpoint with students including Erik Satie, Edgard Varèse and Bohuslav Martinů. As a composer, Roussel's influences naturally include Debussy and the French "impressionists" but also Stravinsky, neo-classicalism and jazz. Roussel's mature style became distinctly his own with his most admired works from the late twenties and thirties comprising ballets, symphonies and chamber music including the Trio for flute, viola and cello, Op. 40 of 1929.

Commissioned by and dedicated to the American patron saint of chamber music, Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge, Roussel's trio is a polished masterwork of colorful counterpoint, rhythmic vitality and classical clarity in a modern tonal idiom with the finest of French characteristics. The scoring for flute, viola and cello ensures a crystal clear texture by virtue of both its distinctive sonorities and the spacious separation of the instruments' ranges from high to low. While Roussel often gives the flute a staring melodic role, his writing is highly linear and polyphonic with points of imitation, pairing of voices into two-part counterpoints with or without a third, solo voice and sometimes a trio of independent voices, each with a distinctively different figuration, rhythm or textural role. The three movements follow the familiar fast-slow-fast template with exuberant outer movements surrounding a central slow movement with a languid, atmospheric cast by turns shimmering, troubled and hypnotic. The finale includes a middle tranquillo section where both strings play ethereal harmonics for an especially magic sonority before a vivacious dash to a bright conclusion.

© Kai Christiansen Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Related Composers

1900 WWI WWII Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924) Vincent d'Indy (1851-1931) Claude Debussy (1862-1918) Erik Satie (1866-1925) Albert Roussel (1869-1937) Maurice Ravel (1875-1937) Paul Le Flem (1881-1984) Edgard Varèse (1883-1965) Bohuslav Martinů (1890-1959) Georges Auric (1899-1983) Émile Goué (1904-1946)
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