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Interesting facts: Chausson

This week we’ll focus on interesting facts and stories about important musicians. The first interesting item about the French composer Ernest Chausson is his name. The word chausson, in French, means “slipper” – as in the slippers you wear on your feet. But a chausson aux pommes is an apple turnover.

As a young man, Ernest Chausson studied law, and was admitted to the bar. But music was his great love, and instead of practicing law he enrolled at the Paris Conservatory, where he studied with Jules Massenet and César Franck. Chausson’s family was fairly wealthy, and Chausson himself was comfortable enough financially that he never had to make a living as a composer. He left relatively few works, the most famous of which is undoubtedly the Poème, or “Poem,” for violin and orchestra. He certainly would have left many more fine works, but at the age of 44 Ernest Chausson died when he crashed his bicycle into a brick wall.

A Minute with Miles is a production of South Carolina Public Radio, made possible by the J.M. Smith Corporation. 

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Miles Hoffman is the founder and violist of the American Chamber Players, with whom he regularly tours the United States, and the Virginia I. Norman Distinguished Visiting Professor of Chamber Music at the Schwob School of Music, in Columbus, Georgia. He has appeared as viola soloist with orchestras across the country, and his solo performances on YouTube have received well over 700,000 views.