Ralph Rousseau


Price: € 12.95
Format: CD
Label: Challenge Records
UPC: 0608917333121
Catnr: CR 73331
Release date: 27 October 2011
1 CD
✓ in stock
€ 12.95
Challenge Records
Catalogue number
CR 73331
Release date
27 October 2011

About the album

“I wanted this CD to be personal”, says Ralph. “Almost all the tracks have something to do with my life: you could even call Silence a musical autobiography.

He knows his classics, he champions the music of 18th-century gamba virtuoso Forquerais. No-one performs the baroque repertoire of Marin Marais with greater enthusiasm and devotion, but a French chanson or one of Sting’s hits are treasures to him too. Rousseau: “You can’t put me in a pigeonhole. I don’t fit into the standard compartments. For me, music has to do with freedom. This is the idea behind my last two CDs.”

“Now the role of the voice has been taken over completely by the gamba. The gamba sings! If there is a string instrument that can truly sing, it is the gamba. Its colour comes very close to the human voice." The gamba may be a baroque instrument, but adaptations of The Sounds of Silence or Bridge over Troubled Water show how readily at home the instrument is in contemporary repertoire. Rousseau: “This undoubtedly has to do with the instrument’s pure sound. Unlike the cello, the gamba’s sound is not associated with the full and romantic sound of the 19th century. It is precisely the natural, fragile sound of the gamba that makes it so exceptional, so multifunctional.” (from the linernotes written by Oswin Schneeweisz)
Ralph Rousseau spielt die siebensaitige 'Viola da Gamba', die wie alle ihrer Familie nicht am Kinn gehalten, sondern auf dem Boden aufgestützt werden. Ralph Rousseau ist ein begehrter Solist in klassischen Orchestern Europas (vom Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra bis zum Krakow Philharmonic Orchestra), und nicht zuletzt Gewinner des Edison Classical Audience Award 2009. Immer war er aber auch offen für aktuelle Musik, und nun endlich konnte er auch eine ganze CD aufnehmen mit all den 'Klassikern', die ihn immer begleitet haben: von Sting´s 'Fragile' über Beatles´ 'Let it be', bis Jacques Brel´s 'La Chanson des Vieux Amants' bis Simon & Garfunkel´s 'The Sound of Silence'. Und das mit handverlesenen Begleitmusikern, die er schon Jahre aus anderen Projekten kennt.


Ralph Rousseau began playing the piano and bass guitar at the age of eight. He later combined his conservatoire double-bass studies with a university physics degree, graduating ‘cum laude’ in both. His professional career began as a double-bass player, where he performed with, among others, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. He also combined this with pop, jazz and rock music.

In 1996 he changed direction and took up the viola da gamba. He studied with Jaap ter Linden and rapidly became the most prominent Netherlands ambassador for the seven-stringed instrument. He has been soloist with, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Gelders Orchestra, the Residentie Orchestra Bach Ensembles, the North-Netherlands Orchestra and the Krakow Philharmonic Orchestra, with such conductors as Sir Roger Norrington and Ivan Fischer.

Ralph’s greatest strength is his interpretation of the works for solo viola da gamba. Various composers have created new works for him and his solo concerts have brought him to chamber music festivals throughout Europe, the United States, Thailand and China. The presentation of his concerts is very personal; he introduces the works himself and his commentary creates an intimate atmosphere even in the largest of halls.

His CD recordings of composers such as Bach and Marais are internationally praised and his cross-over work has also gained exceptional recognition. At the end of 2008 Ralph signed a recording contract with Challenge Records and brought out his CD ‘Chansons d’Amour’. This was received with critical acclaim: “Chansons d’Amour is more than flirtation. It is real love.” (Klassieke Zaken)

Ralph plays an original instrument by Georg Aman (1705), a seven string bass by Reinhard Ossenbrunner and a copy of a division viol by Floris-Jan van der Voort. Bows by Gerhard Landwehr.



Play album


Ralph Rousseau & friends: The sound of silence
Ralph Rousseau Silence video
Ralph Rousseau & Friends: La chanson des vieux amants
Interview Ralph Rousseau over CD Silence & presentatie bij AVRO Radio 4
Ralph Rousseau - Plainte Caix d'Hervelois

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