Biography of Rousseau Samuel:
The French composer and organist Samuel-Alexandre Rousseau was born in Neuve-Maison, Aisne in 1853 the son of an organ-builder. Naturally, Samuel (as he came to be called) took to the instrument, and eventually studied in Paris under César Franck. Rousseau won the Prix de Rome in 1878 with his cantata ‘La fille du Jepthé’, and thereafter established himself as a composer, organist, conductor and music critic until his untimely death at the age of 51. His son Marcel Samuel-Rousseau was also a composer, who wrote an opera on ‘Taras Bulba’.
Samuel Rousseau’s Fantaisie dates from 1894, and was probably first performed on the organ at St Clotilde. It reveals the strong melodic influence of Franck, but not overpoweringly so, and is cast in the form of a passacaglia with much dramatic juxtaposition within the texture and a strong sense of forward momentum. In its own way, and with its integration of large-scale contrasts, this is an impressive work by a composer little-heard today, whose music surely does not deserve, on this evidence, the neglect into which it appears to have fallen. (from the booklet of GMCD 7340)