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The Complete Piano Music of Jean Roger-Ducasse



#9 Forbes Best Classical Recordings of 2016

Jean Roger-Ducasse was born in Bordeaux on 18 April 1873. He studied at the Paris Conservatoire from 1892 and in 1895, along with Ravel, joined the composition class of Gabriel Fauré. In 1902 he won the second Grand Prix de Rome with his cantata Alcyone, with Ravel gaining fourth prize. He had a very active role in musical life in Paris founding the Société Musicale Indépendante in 1909 and gaining the position of inspector general for the teaching of singing in Paris schools in 1910. His circle included Fauré, to whom he was a close friend, the famed pianist Marguerite Long, who performed his Six Preludes in 1912, and Debussy, who Roger-Ducasse joined for the premiere of En Blanc et Noir in 1916. In 1935 he succeeded Paul Dukas as Professor of Composition at the Paris Conservatoire, a post he held until the outbreak of World War II after which he retired to Bordeaux. He died in Taillan-Médoc, Gironde on 19 July 1954.

Roger-Ducasse's compositions include several songs, two string quartets, numerous orchestral and choral pieces, two stage works and a sizeable group of piano pieces. Contrary to the music of Ravel and Debussy Roger-Ducasse's style is not impressionist but descends from Chopin and more closely aligns with Fauré. The piano music, composed 1906-1923, is typical of his musical language: complex and chromatic, but perfectly formed. It is now high-time to revisit the works of this unjustly forgotten talent.

The Complete Piano Music of Jean Roger-Ducasse


"Goodness, this favorite pupil of Fauré’s and Ravel-contemporary knew how to write tenaciously charming music and Martin Jones communicates it marvelously well, with a felt touch and color-rich palette that give Roger-Ducasse the full impressionist treatment." Forbes Top 10 Classical Recordings of 2016

"Finely recorded, [Martin Jones] makes it difficult to imagine performances of a greater lucidity and command." Gramophone October 2015 

“There are some lovely pieces in these Livres, impressively played by Martin Jones and Adrian Farmer… I found this to be an unexpectedly enticing release. Although Debussy occasionally comes to mind, Jean Roger-Ducasse has a forward looking, wholly personal touch. Lovers of late 19th and early 20th century French piano music should fall in love with many of these pieces especially in such fine performances. The recording from the Concert Hall of the Nimbus Foundation, Wyastone Leys, Monmouth, UK is tip top. There are useful notes.”