|ORCHESTRA: Suite Française; Variations sur un Thème Grave; Petite Suite; Nocturne de Printemps; Marche Française; Sarabande; Au Jardin de Marguerite.|
|OPERA: Orphée; Caulegril.|
|CHAMBER MUSIC: Quartet in D-Minor; Quartet in G-Minor.|
|Pieces for piano; songs, etc.|
Ceillier Laurent. Roger-Ducasse; Hill E. B. Modern French Music.
Musical Times 62:250April 1921.
" Albert Roussel Evocations are one of seven or eight symphonic-works composed during twenty years which will insure, for a long time to come, the future of French music. "--GEORGES JEAN- AUBRY
ALBERT CHARLES PAUL ROUSSEL was born in Turcoing on April 5, 1869. As a boy he reacted so forcefully to outdoor life, particularly to the lure of the sea, that his greatest ambition was to become a sailor. It was to bring this ideal to realization that he entered the Brest Naval School in 1887. When he had completed his nautical studies at the Stanislas College in Paris, he became an ensign on board an armored cruiser, The Styx, bound for China. It was during this trip that the colors of sea and sky and the caress of shifting winds awakened something deep within him, and aroused him to a vivid consciousness of beauty in Nature. The desire to express himself in some artistic form became more and more pressing, and so, in 1894, he resigned from the navy to adopt music--an art which had always possessed a keen interest for him.
His early studies were pursued in Roubaix, and then in Paris where Roussel received his first emphatic encouragement when his Deux Madrigaux à Quatre Voix was awarded a prize by the Société des Compositeurs. In 1898, he entered the Schola Cantorum for more intensive study where he soon proved to be a rebellious student who could not accept unequivocally the rules and laws which the professors meted out so dogmatically. Before long, Roussel became known as one of the most brilliant students, and at the same stroke, one of the real problem-students of the Schola.
During the Winter of 1909-10, wanderlust once again called to Roussel, and together with his wife he embarked for the East, this time as a passenger. It was during this trip that there occurred one of the most interesting experiences of his life. But permit him to speak for himself: "We were travelling in India and had stopped at Chitor, between Jaipur and Udaipur, where--as our guide told us--there were ruins of a very old and interesting city. Unfortunately, the city was quite a distance from the station, and we had no vehicle with which to make the difficult trip across a hot plain. An English tourist, seeing our plight, kindly offered us the use of his elephant and horses, which the rajah had sent him. His kindness would know no refusal, and so we eagerly accepted his invitation. Together we visited the place where, in the thirteenth century, there took place the tragic story of the Hindu heroine, Padmâvatî. It is this legendary story which was to become, in a few years, the libretto of my most successful work. I have always felt that it was the amiability and kindness of the English traveller that were largely responsible for the birth of my opera. I wish you would mention his name, for I owe to him the existence of one of the best of my works. His name? It is Ramsay MacDonald."
The opera of which Roussel speaks in the above anecdote was presented at the Paris Opéra under the name of Padmâvatî on June 1, 1923, when it was unanimously accepted as one of the outstanding French operas produced since Debussy's Pelléas.____________________