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RMCO Work Detail

Title Symphony No. 1 in D Major
Composer Gounod, Charles
Contributor's Name Robert Wright
Bio Movements: Allegro molto / Allegretto moderato / Scherzo: Non troppo presto / Adagio; Allegro vivace

In his mid-thirties, Gounod wrote two symphonies that are highly inventive and blessedly light of touch. Things had not been going well for him. His second opera had failed and he was thrown into turmoil. He sought comfort in St. Augustine and contemplated the religious life. Then he cheered up and wrote an Andante and a Scherzo which were performed at a Paris concert in 1855. Encouraged by the welcome they received, he added two more movements to create a full symphony, which, given a month later, was equally well received. Gounod seemed to revel in the enjoyment of writing music simply to please himself and the result is entirely charming.

The original Scherzo, now the third movement, looks to Haydn for its brisk good humor, although the main influence suggests Schumann. The orchestration sparkles and includes some enchanting passages for the winds, together with a fugue that is remarkably well worked out.


Work record last updated on 07-19-2004