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Ernest Ansermet

Ernest Ansermet was born in Vevey, Switzerland, on November 11, 1883. His father was a mathematician and schoolteacher, and his mother taught him music. He studied mathematics at Lausanne University, graduating in 1903. He became a schoolteacher, and then a professor of mathematics in Lausanne (1905-1906). During this time he also studied music with Ernest Bloch, his composition teacher. Deciding to become a musician, he watched conductors closely. He studied conducting with Mottl in Munich and Nikisch in Berlin, and made his concert conducting debuts in Lausanne and Montreux in 1910. He credited his observation of Francisco de Lacerda as the basis of his conducting technique. In 1911 he succeeded de Lacerda as conductor of the Kursaal concerts in Montreux., in 1915 becoming the conductor of the Geneva Symphony Orchestra. The composer Igor Stravinsky frequently stayed in Switzerland before the war and especially the war years. Ansermet became friends with Stravinsky, and also with Debussy and Ravel. The great ballet impresario Serge Diaghilev hired Ansermet as the principal conductor of his Ballets Russes company. During the war Diaghilev took his company to America. Leading their orchestra, Ansermet made his North American debut in New York in 1916 and appeared in South America for the first time in 1917. On this tour in the USA he made his first recordings. On September 28, 1918, he conducted the premiere of Stravinsky's dance-theater piece "L'Histoire du Soldat" in Lausanne. Through the 1920s he conducted several important premieres for the Ballets Russes, including Falla's The Three-Cornered Hat, Prokofiev's , and Stravinsky's Pulcinella. He became a favorite conductor of Stravinsky's.

He founded L'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande in Geneva in 1918 and remained its chief conductor until he retired in 1966. Although he undertook guest conducting assignments frequently, his loyalty to the orchestra his founded was notable, and he spent by far the majority of his working time with it. His reputation as a conductor was primarily in music of the Classical Era and in tonal twentieth-century music, particularly of French and Swiss composers. He was also a notable interpreter of Russian music of the Rimsky-Korsakov school, but not so outstanding in the rest of the Romantic repertoire. Among the composers he especially championed were Debussy, Ravel, Falla, Roussel, Honegger, Frank Martin, Bartók, and Britten. He was noted for his exceptionally clear orchestral timbres and his accuracy. He was especially noted for recordings in the early stereo LP era, for the English Decca label ("London" in North America) under their "ffss" logo; these recordings were notable for their clean, wide, and brilliant sound. Ansermet died in Geneva on February 20, 1969. ~ Joseph Stevenson
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: Ansermet Decca Recordings 1953-1967

Disc 1
Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach
Title: Cantata No. 31, "Der Himmel Lacht! Die Erde Jubilieret," BWV 31 (BC A55)
Composer: Franz Joseph Haydn
Title: Symphony No. 22 In E Flat Major ("Philosopher"), H. 1/22
Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven
Title: Symphony No. 4 In B Flat Major, Op. 60
Composer: Carl Maria von Weber
Title: Der Beherrscher Der Geister (The Ruler Of The Spirits), Overture For Orchestra, J. 122 (Op. 27) (revision Of Overture To Rübezahl)
Title: Preciosa, Incidental Music For Soloist, Chorus & Orchestra, J. 279 (Op. 78)
Composer: Felix Mendelssohn
Title: Ruy Blas, Overture For Orchestra In C Minor, Op. 95
Disc 2
Composer: Alexander Borodin
Title: Prince Igor, Opera (Completed By Rimsky-korsakov & Glazunov)

1. Prince Igor, Opera (Completed By Rimsky-korsakov & Glazunov): Polovtsian Dance No.8

2. Prince Igor, Opera (Completed By Rimsky-korsakov & Glazunov): Polovtsian Dance No.17

Composer: Anatol Lyadov
Title: Kikimora For Orchestra, Op. 63

3. Kikimora For Orchestra, Op. 63: Kikimora, Op. 63

Composer: Igor Stravinsky
Title: Pulcinella, Suite For Orchestra

4. Pulcinella, Suite For Orchestra: I. Sinfonia

5. Pulcinella, Suite For Orchestra: II. Serenata

6. Pulcinella, Suite For Orchestra: III. Scherzino

7. Pulcinella, Suite For Orchestra: III. Allegro

8. Pulcinella, Suite For Orchestra: III. Andantino

9. Pulcinella, Suite For Orchestra: IV. Tarantella

10. Pulcinella, Suite For Orchestra: V. Toccata

11. Pulcinella, Suite For Orchestra: VI. Gavotta Con Due Variazioni

12. Pulcinella, Suite For Orchestra: VII. Vivo

13. Pulcinella, Suite For Orchestra: VII. Minuetto

14. Pulcinella, Suite For Orchestra: VII. Finale

Composer: Jean Sibelius
Title: Symphony No. 4 In A Minor, Op. 63

15. Symphony No. 4 In A Minor, Op. 63: I. Tempo Molto Moderato, Quasi Adagio

16. Symphony No. 4 In A Minor, Op. 63: II. Allegro Molto Vivace

17. Symphony No. 4 In A Minor, Op. 63: III. Il Tempo Largo

18. Symphony No. 4 In A Minor, Op. 63: IV. Allegro

Disc 3
Composer: Léo Delibes
Title: Coppélia, Ou La Fille Aux Yeux D'émail, Ballet

1. Coppélia, Ou La Fille Aux Yeux D'émail, Ballet: Prelude Et Mazurka

Title: Sylvia, Ou La Nymphe De Diane, Ballet

2. Sylvia, Ou La Nymphe De Diane, Ballet: Les Chasseresses

Composer: César Franck
Title: Le Chasseur Maudit (The Accursed Huntsman), Symphonic Poem (also Arr. For Piano, 4 Hands), M. 44

3. Le Chasseur Maudit (The Accursed Huntsman), Symphonic Poem (also Arr. For Piano, 4 Hands), M. 44: Le Chasseur Maudit

Composer: Emmanuel Chabrier
Title: Joyeuse Marche (Marche Française), For Orchestra Or Piano, 4 Hands

4. Joyeuse Marche (Marche Française), For Orchestra Or Piano, 4 Hands: Joyeuse Marche

Title: Le Roi Malgré Lui, Opéra-comique In 3 Acts

5. Le Roi Malgré Lui, Opéra-comique In 3 Acts: Danse Slave

Composer: Gabriel Fauré
Title: Pénélope, Opera In 3 Acts

6. Pénélope, Opera In 3 Acts: Prelude

Composer: Robert Schumann
Title: Carnaval For Piano, Op. 9

7. Carnaval For Piano, Op. 9: I. Préambule

8. Carnaval For Piano, Op. 9: II. Pierrot

9. Carnaval For Piano, Op. 9: III. Arlequin

10. Carnaval For Piano, Op. 9: IV. Valse Noble

11. Carnaval For Piano, Op. 9: V. Eusebius

12. Carnaval For Piano, Op. 9: VI. Florestan

13. Carnaval For Piano, Op. 9: VII. Coquette

14. Carnaval For Piano, Op. 9: IX. Papillons

15. Carnaval For Piano, Op. 9: X. ASCH - SCHA (Lettres Dansantes)

16. Carnaval For Piano, Op. 9: XI. Chiarina

17. Carnaval For Piano, Op. 9: XII. Chopin

18. Carnaval For Piano, Op. 9: XIII. Estrella

19. Carnaval For Piano, Op. 9: XIV. Reconnaissance

20. Carnaval For Piano, Op. 9: XV. Pantalon Et Colombine

21. Carnaval For Piano, Op. 9: XVI. Valse Allemande

22. Carnaval For Piano, Op. 9: XVII. Paganini (Intermezzo)

23. Carnaval For Piano, Op. 9: XVII. Aveu

24. Carnaval For Piano, Op. 9: XVIII. Promenade

25. Carnaval For Piano, Op. 9: XIX. Pause

26. Carnaval For Piano, Op. 9: XX. Marche Des "Davidsbündler" Contre Les Philistins

Disc 4
Composer: Gabriel Fauré
Title: Masques Et Bergamasques, Suite For Orchestra, Op. 112
Composer: Maurice Ravel
Title: Le Tombeau De Couperin, For Orchestra
Composer: Claude Debussy
Title: Petite Suite (4), For Piano, 4 Hands (Or Orchestra), L. 65
Title: Épigraphes Antiques (6), For Piano, 2 Or 4 Hands (or Orchestra), L. 131
Composer: Ottorino Respighi
Title: Fontane Di Roma (The Fountains Of Rome), Symphonic Poem, P. 106
Disc 5
Composer: Arthur Honegger
Title: Le Roi David, Oratorio (Psaume Symphonique) For Narrator, 3 Solo Voices, 2 Choruses & Chamber Orchestra, H37b

1. Le Roi David, Oratorio (Psaume Symphonique) For Narrator, 3 Solo Voices, 2 Choruses & Chamber Orchestra, H37b: Introduction

2. Le Roi David, Oratorio (Psaume Symphonique) For Narrator, 3 Solo Voices, 2 Choruses & Chamber Orchestra, H37b: L'eternel Et Mon Berger

3. Le Roi David, Oratorio (Psaume Symphonique) For Narrator, 3 Solo Voices, 2 Choruses & Chamber Orchestra, H37b: Psaume: Loue Soit Le Seigneur (Choeur)

4. Le Roi David, Oratorio (Psaume Symphonique) For Narrator, 3 Solo Voices, 2 Choruses & Chamber Orchestra, H37b: Cantique Du Berger David (Voix D'enfant)

5. Le Roi David, Oratorio (Psaume Symphonique) For Narrator, 3 Solo Voices, 2 Choruses & Chamber Orchestra, H37b: Psaume: Ne Crains Rien (Tenor Solo)

6. Le Roi David, Oratorio (Psaume Symphonique) For Narrator, 3 Solo Voices, 2 Choruses & Chamber Orchestra, H37b: Psaume: Ah ! Si J'avais Des Ailes De Colombe (Soprano Solo)

7. Le Roi David, Oratorio (Psaume Symphonique) For Narrator, 3 Solo Voices, 2 Choruses & Chamber Orchestra, H37b: L'homme Ne De La Femme

8. Le Roi David, Oratorio (Psaume Symphonique) For Narrator, 3 Solo Voices, 2 Choruses & Chamber Orchestra, H37b: Psaume: Pitie De Moi, Mon Dieu (Tenor Solo)

9. Le Roi David, Oratorio (Psaume Symphonique) For Narrator, 3 Solo Voices, 2 Choruses & Chamber Orchestra, H37b: Psaume: L'eternel Est Ma Lumiere Infinie (Choeur)

10. Le Roi David, Oratorio (Psaume Symphonique) For Narrator, 3 Solo Voices, 2 Choruses & Chamber Orchestra, H37b: En Vain Saul Desepere. Incantation

11. Le Roi David, Oratorio (Psaume Symphonique) For Narrator, 3 Solo Voices, 2 Choruses & Chamber Orchestra, H37b: Lamentations De Guilboa

12. Le Roi David, Oratorio (Psaume Symphonique) For Narrator, 3 Solo Voices, 2 Choruses & Chamber Orchestra, H37b: Jerusalem! Jerusalem! Chantez Mes Soeurs

13. Le Roi David, Oratorio (Psaume Symphonique) For Narrator, 3 Solo Voices, 2 Choruses & Chamber Orchestra, H37b: Et Voici Les Bergers Amenant Leurs Troupeaux

14. Le Roi David, Oratorio (Psaume Symphonique) For Narrator, 3 Solo Voices, 2 Choruses & Chamber Orchestra, H37b: Cantique: De Mon Coeur Jaillit Un Cantique (Choeur)

15. Le Roi David, Oratorio (Psaume Symphonique) For Narrator, 3 Solo Voices, 2 Choruses & Chamber Orchestra, H37b: Bien-aime, Prends Ma Main

16. Le Roi David, Oratorio (Psaume Symphonique) For Narrator, 3 Solo Voices, 2 Choruses & Chamber Orchestra, H37b: Misericorde, O Dieu, Pitie

17. Le Roi David, Oratorio (Psaume Symphonique) For Narrator, 3 Solo Voices, 2 Choruses & Chamber Orchestra, H37b: Psaume: Je Fus Concu Dans Le Peche (Choeur)

18. Le Roi David, Oratorio (Psaume Symphonique) For Narrator, 3 Solo Voices, 2 Choruses & Chamber Orchestra, H37b: Psaume: Je Leve Mes Regards Vers La Montagne (Tenor Solo)

19. Le Roi David, Oratorio (Psaume Symphonique) For Narrator, 3 Solo Voices, 2 Choruses & Chamber Orchestra, H37b: O Foret D'ephraim

20. Le Roi David, Oratorio (Psaume Symphonique) For Narrator, 3 Solo Voices, 2 Choruses & Chamber Orchestra, H37b: Marche Des Hebreux (Recitant)

21. Le Roi David, Oratorio (Psaume Symphonique) For Narrator, 3 Solo Voices, 2 Choruses & Chamber Orchestra, H37b: Psaume: Je T'aimerai, Seigneur, D'un Amour Tendre (Choeur)

22. Le Roi David, Oratorio (Psaume Symphonique) For Narrator, 3 Solo Voices, 2 Choruses & Chamber Orchestra, H37b: Psaume: Dans Cet Effroi (Choeur)

23. Le Roi David, Oratorio (Psaume Symphonique) For Narrator, 3 Solo Voices, 2 Choruses & Chamber Orchestra, H37b: Ayant Promis A Dieu

Title: Pacific 231, Symphonic Movement For Orchestra (Mouvement Symphonique No. 1), H53

24. Pacific 231, Symphonic Movement For Orchestra (Mouvement Symphonique No. 1), H53: Pacific 231

Disc 6
Composer: Paul Dukas
Title: La Péri, Ballet

1. La Péri, Ballet: Fanfare

2. La Péri, Ballet: La Peri (Poème Dansé)

Composer: Nikolay Andreyevich Rimsky-Korsakov
Title: Dubinushka (The Little Oak Stick) (I), Tone Poem For Orchestra, Op. 62

3. Dubinushka (The Little Oak Stick) (I), Tone Poem For Orchestra, Op. 62: Dubinushka, Op.62

Composer: Ottorino Respighi
Title: Rossiniana, Original Music By Rossini Arranged For Orchestra, P. 148

4. Rossiniana, Original Music By Rossini Arranged For Orchestra, P. 148: I. Capri E Taormina (Barcarola E Siciliana)

5. Rossiniana, Original Music By Rossini Arranged For Orchestra, P. 148: II. Lamento

6. Rossiniana, Original Music By Rossini Arranged For Orchestra, P. 148: III. Intermezzo

7. Rossiniana, Original Music By Rossini Arranged For Orchestra, P. 148: IV. Tarantella "Puro Sangue" (Con Passaggio Della Processione)

Composer: Igor Stravinsky
Title: Scherzo à La Russe, for Orchestra

8. Scherzo à La Russe, for Orchestra: Scherzo A La Russe

Composer: Frank Martin
Title: Concerto For 7 Wind Instruments (timpani, Percussion & String Orchestra)

9. Concerto For 7 Wind Instruments (timpani, Percussion & String Orchestra): Allegro

10. Concerto For 7 Wind Instruments (timpani, Percussion & String Orchestra): Adagietto

11. Concerto For 7 Wind Instruments (timpani, Percussion & String Orchestra): Allegro Vivace

x

Track List: Igor Stravinsky: Histoire Du Soldat - Trois Poèmes De La Lyrique Japonaise - Le Chant Des Bateliers De La Volga (Historical Live Recordings)

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