Petite Symphonie, Op.216
For Flute, 2 Oboes, 2 Clarinets, 2 Horns & 2 Bassoons
Charles Gounod (1818-1893) cannot be called an unknown composer, not at least to fans of the opera. But not many chamber music aficionados are aware that he composed four string quartets as well as a nonet for winds which he entitled Petite Symphonie. The Petite Symphony was the result of a commission from the famous flutist Paul Taffanel and the wind ensemble, Societé ŕ des Instruments ŕ Vent, he had founded. Written in classical form, this work illustrates Gounod's superb gifts for melody and motion. It was first performed in Paris in 1885. As with much of Gounod’s output, the slow music is quite memorable. The expansive opening chorale exploits the blended wind timbres to their richest capacity. The moving Andante cantabile is the emotional centerpiece of the work and acts as an opera aria for flute soloist. The rest of the work exists in a lighthearted world of French insouciance.
Charles Gounod, born in Paris on June 18, 1818 was the son of a talented but unsuccessful painter who died when Gounod was four. Gounod's mother, also an artist, kept up his father's classes while also giving music lessons. Gounod displayed a talent in both art and music. He began composing at the age of twelve, and left art in favor of music by the age of thirteen. Entering the conservatory in 1836, Gounod was highly successful. He won the coveted Prix de Rome three years later and developed a keen interest in that city.
He discovered and began a serious study of 16th century sacred music. The beauty of the sacred music prompted Gounod to lifelong religious interests, and he had difficultly deciding between entering the church and continuing with secular music. In 1843, he returned to Paris. Gounod acknowledged that opera was the only field that led to success for a French composer and made his Operatic debut in 1850. Today he is remembered for Faust which appeared in 1856 and had an incredible influence upon French musical thought.
Parts & Score: $48.95