P0143. ALBERT ROUSSEL Cond.: Le Festin de l'araignée; ALBERT ROUSSEL (Pf.), w. CLAIRE CROIZA: Cinq mélodies (both Cond. / Played by the Composer); WALTER STRARAM Cond. La Tragédie de Salomé; FLORENT SCHMITT (Pf.), w.QUATUOR CALVET: Piano Quintet in b (Played by the Composer). EMI 54840, recorded 1928-35, w.Elaborate 31pp. Brochure w.Texts. Long out-of-print, Final Copy! - 077775484021
“Claire Croiza was one of the great French singers of the earlier years of this century. Although she made her début at the Opéra at Nancy as early as 1905, then at the Paris Opéra in 1908, Croiza did not record any of the many operatic mezzo roles or French songs in her repertory until 1927. Although she had at this point been singing for twenty-two years, her voice was then in fine condition and remained so until her last recordings made in 1936. Beginning in 1934, she taught at the Paris Conservatory, where her students included some of the finest French singers of the next generation - Jacques Jansen, Gérard Souzay, Camille Maurane, Janine Micheau, Suzanne Juyol and many others. Croiza’s expressive voice, superb diction, and fine sense of style, made of her an ideal interpreter of French song. To anyone interested in the genre, these recordings are invaluable.”
- Maurice Richter, LA FOLIA, Aug., 1999
"Entering the Schola Cantorum to study with Vincent d’Indy in 1898, Albert Roussel took over the counterpoint class four years later and taught a generation of composers including Eric Satie, Edgard Varèse and Bohuslav Martinu. Roussel’s output falls into three main periods. From 1902–13 he absorbed the Impressionistic tendencies of such composers as Debussy and Ravel, evident in his First Symphony and choral work Evocations, arriving at an idiom of great refinement and subtlety in his ballet 'Le festin d’araignée'.
The years of the First World War were occupied with an ambitious opera-ballet 'Padmavati', its Hindu-derived scenario a testament to his imagination and its harmonic complexity to an exploration of new musical territory. This was mined extensively in works from 1918 to 1925, notably the Second Symphony, the opera 'La naissance de la lyre' and his Second Violin Sonata. This musical soul-searching was succeeded around 1925 by a mature idiom which, while related to European neo-Classicism, is highly personal in its subtle harmonies, intricate counterpoint and energetic rhythms. Notable works include the comic opera 'Le testament de la tante Caroline', the ballets 'Bacchus et Ariane' and 'Aenéas', the Third and Fourth Symphonies, a setting of Psalm 80, and chamber works including the String Quartet and String Trio. This period also coincided with his growing success outside France, notably in the United States where he made a triumphal visit in 1930, but failing health gradually took its toll. Following a heart attack, he died at Royan on 23 August 1937 and was buried overlooking the sea: a composer whose music was always created for its own sake.
A composition pupil of Massenet and of Fauré at the Paris Conservatoire, Florent Schmitt, in common with a number of his contemporaries, was fascinated by the exotic; an element of orientalism appears as a feature in several of his successful compositions. 'La Tragédie de Salomé', originally a dance piece, was revised as a symphonic poem in 1910. An element of exoticism is apparent in the film score for Flaubert’s 'Salammbô', with its Carthaginian setting, and in a number of subsequent orchestral works, while his gifts of orchestration are evident in his two symphonies and in a varied series of other compositions.
Schmitt won early success with his exotic setting of Psalm 47 in 1904. Other choral works range from settings of La Fontaine’s fables to liturgical music (settings of the Mass and other sacred texts). Chamber music for various combinations of instruments includes finely judged work for wind instruments, while Schmitt’s music for keyboard shows equal variety of conception."
- Jonathan Summers & David Patmore