Born: 1855, Paris, France
Died: 1899, Limay, France
“There are moments when I feel myself driven by a kind of feverish instinct, as if I had the presentiment of being unable to attain my goal, or of attaining it too late.”
Although he died early (after he crashed a bicycle into a wall) and was regarded by some contemporaries as an amateur, Chausson composed productively in all genres, including a handful of operas and other stage music, a symphony, the sublime Poème for violin and orchestra, chamber music, and a host of songs. The son of a successful contractor, Chausson was able to indulge his various artistic interests, although he did complete law school. He studied with Massenet at the Paris Conservatory, where he also audited classes with Franck. He went to Germany often to hear Wagner, and his own music is a highly personal accommodation of these influences, passionate and intense but free of histrionic gestures.
Symphony in B-flat, Op. 20 (1889-90) Montreal Symphony Charles Dutoit (Decca)
Poème, Op. 25 (1896) Joshua Bell (violin), Royal Philharmonic Andrew Litton (Decca)