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Born: 1869, Tourcoing, France
Died: 1937, Royan, France
"Spiritual values are at the base of any society that claims to be civilized, and, among the arts, music is the most significant and highest expression of those values."
Roussel was an officer in the French navy and traveled widely in Asia, where he encountered the rich influence of non-western music. At the same time he was attracted to the new art of impressionistic harmony and instrumentation. But he was a classicist by nature, and these exotic influences are always joined to lucid structures and clear harmonies in his music. When the wave of neo-classicism swept Europe in the 1920s, Roussel was thus poised to produce music in the purest style of Gallic baroque, without abandoning the expressive media of modern French music.
Symphonies Nos. 3 and 4 (1929-34)
French National Radio Orchestra, Cluytens (Testament)