ERNEST CHAUSSON (1855 - 1899)
After a sheltered childhood in a cultured family and subsequent study of law, Chausson became a pupil of Massenet at the Paris Conservatoire, also attending the classes of César Franck. He led a generally peaceful life, shortened by a cycling accident, and he echoed in his music the developments of the period, from Massenet to Debussy.
Chausson wrote relatively little orchestral music. Of the four surviving works, Poème, for solo violin and orchestra, is an important item in violin repertoire. He completed a single symphony, in B flat, and two symphonic poems, one of which, Viviane, depicts a legend from the Round Table of King Arthur, the subject of his last opera.
Chausson’s chamber music includes a String Quartet, completed by d’Indy after the composer’s death, and a Piano Quartet, as well as the interesting Concert for piano, violin and string quartet.