Albert ROUSSEL

Family tree of Albert ROUSSEL

Composer

FrenchBorn Albert Charles Paul Marie ROUSSEL

French composer

Born on April 04, 1869 in Tourcoing, France , France

Died on August 23, 1937 in Royan, France

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Born in Tourcoing (Nord department of France), Roussel's earliest interest was not in music but mathematics. He spent a time in the French Navy, and in 1889 and 1890 he served on the crew of the frigate Iphigénie. These travels affected him artistically, as many of his musical works would reflect his interest in far off, exotic places.



After resigning from the Navy in 1894, he began to study music seriously with Eugène Gigout, then continuing his studies until 1908 at the Schola Cantorum (one of his teachers there was Vincent d'Indy). While studying, he was also teaching; his students included Satie and the young Edgard Varèse.

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During World War I, he served as an ambulance driver on the Western Front. Following the war, he bought a summer house in Normandy, where he devoted most of his time to composition.



Roussel was by temperament a classicist. While his early work is strongly influenced by impressionism, he eventually found a personal style which was more formal in design, with a strong rhythmic drive, and with a more distinct liking for functional tonality than is evident in the work of his more famous contemporaries (for instance Debussy, Ravel, Satie, and Stravinsky).



Another student of Roussel's was Bohuslav Martinu (after the war and his own apprenticeship, and starting in 1923.)



Roussel's training at the Schola Cantorum, with its emphasis on rigorous academic models such as Palestrina and Bach, left its mark on his mature style, which is characterized by contrapuntal textures. In comparison with the subtle and nuanced style of other French composers like Gabriel Fauré or Claude Debussy, Roussel's orchestration is rather heavy. While the stylistic and orchestral aesthetic of so-called "French" music, however, was one which Roussel did not fully share. Certainly, in contrast with the sound of the German romantic orchestral tradition (such as Anton Bruckner or Gustav Mahler), it could hardly be called heavy at all.



Roussel was also interested in jazz, and wrote a piano-vocal composition entitled Jazz dans la nuit, similar in its inspiration to other jazz-inspired works such as "Blues" second movement of Maurice Ravel's Violin Sonata, or Darius Milhaud's La Création du Monde).



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Geographical origins

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