Albert Roussel: Symphony No.3 in G minor, op.42 [1/4]
  • Classical music Albert Roussel (1869-1937): Symphony No.3 in G minor, op.42 [1929-1930] I. Allegro vivo BBC Symphony Orchestra Lionel Bringuier, conductor At every stage of his career, Roussel's best work is masterly finished, engaging, surefire. But for the connoisseur, tracing his stylistic evolution possesses a fascination of its own. If the opera-ballet Padmåvatî (1914-1918) crowns his second manner, making explicit the preoccupation with instinct and annihilation ironically broached in the ballet Le Festin de l'araignée (1912), his Symphony No. 2 (1919-1920) encapsulates the period with formal yet disturbing point. The ironic detachment of Le Festin gives way to dark (and harmonically adventurous) foreboding, while the irrepressibly animated episodes are fraught with frenzied feverishness. But by the mid-1920s the skies had cleared, so to speak, and Roussel entered his final, neo-Classical, phase with the orchestral Suite in F (1926) whose three movements—two in Baroque dance forms—afford a foretaste of the Symphony No. 3 in their effortless combination of energy and serenity. Commissioned by Koussevitzky, conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Suite received its premiere by those forces January 21, 1927, continuing a Francophile tradition that had seen Henri Rabaud and Pierre Monteux as chef d'orchestre, and entertained Roussel's teacher and colleague, Vincent d'Indy, in 1905 and 1921. To celebrate the BSO's 50th anniversary, Koussevitzky commissioned a number of works ...

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