For Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Horn, Bassoon and Piano
Albert Roussel (1869-1937) was born in the French town of Tourcoing. He did not begin to study music seriously until he was an adult, first serving in the French navy for several years. After leaving the navy he studied at the Schola Cantorum in Paris with Vincent d'Indy. He himself became a highly influential teacher and among his many well-known students were Erik Satie, Edgar Varese and Bohuslav Martinu. Roussel's early compositions were heavily influenced by the impressionist works of Debussy, Ravel and d'Indy, but later he turned to neoclassicism.
His Divertissement dates from 1905. He was at the premiere of a similar work by d'Indy and this no doubt influenced him. Unlike his other early works, the Divertissement does not show the influence of impressionism but is far more daring. The opening measures anticipate Stravinsky's Petrushka. The work consists of four sections which flow into each other by means of slowing and accelerating passages. Each of the instruments is wonderfully treated and receives telling opportunities.
We also offer Ludwig Thuille's Sextet, Paul Juon's Divertimento, Theodor Blumer's Sextet and Hans Huber's Sextet for this same instrumental combination. They make finely contrasing companion works..