Ernest Chausson

Ernest Chausson belongs to the generation of young artists who, in the so-called “Period of National Renewal” in French music in the last decades of the 19th century, prepared the radical modernism in French culture with their multidirectional searches. From 1866 until the end of his life (he died in an accident at the age of only 44), he was the secretary of the National Musical Society, and his home in Paris was a meeting point for famous artists  including the composers Henri Duparc, Gabriel Fauré, Claude Debussy, and Isaac Albéniz, the poet Stéphane Mallarmé, the Russian novelist Ivan Turgenev, and the impressionist painter Claude Monet. His 40 or so opuses, mostly vocal and chamber ensembles, are full of subtle lyricism and a delicate sense of sonic colour – he is believed to be the first composer to use the celesta. He also wrote several symphonic poems (most famous being Viviane and Poem of Love and the Sea), various works for voice and orchestra, and a lyric drama, King Arthur.

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