Author Topic: Gare de Gounod  (Read 812 times)

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Offline Cato

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Gare de Gounod
« on: March 04, 2018, 04:55:25 AM »
Yesterday (March 3, 2018)  I read an article about Charles Gounod's best opera, Faust.  After diligent searching here at GMG, I was amazed to conclude that nobody had as yet established a topic with his name.  To be sure, he appears under many other topics, according to the "Search engine," but nothing with his own name.

If it is buried somewhere, feel free to ignore this topic! 0:)

Here are excerpts from the article:

Quote
...After reading Goethe’s drama “Faust,” about a pact between the 16th-century scholar and the devil, Gounod’s interest deepened in 1850 upon attending “Faust et Marguerite,” an adaptation of Goethe by playwright Michel Carré. Once Gounod met poet Jules Barbier, the three joined forces, and after many delays Gounod’s initial version of “Faust” premiered on March 19, 1859, at the Théâtre Lyrique, Paris, with spoken dialogue linking the musical numbers. Although the first audiences were cool, it was reviewed admiringly by Hector Berlioz, who had completed his own “Damnation de Faust” in 1846.

Expanded with sung recitatives and a ballet, Gounod’s “Faust” became arguably the most popular musical treatment of Goethe’s drama. In 1883, it was chosen to open New York’s Metropolitan Opera House; Gaston Leroux used it to evoke the resplendent gala evening that starts his 1910 novel “The Phantom of the Opera.” Even Hollywood recognized its perennial appeal—the classic 1936 film “San Francisco” features a fully staged montage of “Faust” scenes sung by Jeanette MacDonald....

...Gounod’s distinctive sense of musical characterization and atmosphere are exemplified in the scene in Marguerite’s garden where Méphistophélès implements his stratagem for Faust to woo and ruin her. The scene opens with one of the most exquisite of all tenor arias, “Salut! demeure, chaste et pure,” its vocal-orchestral texture gilded by a solo violin obligato...

...Méphistophélès prepares the way for the lovers with a spacious incantation commanding “night’s perfumed darkness to charm away all misgivings.” The smooth bass voice intones the spell over an ethereal tissue of high, sustained string chords, delicate harp figures and a rising horn theme that circles the haunting sixth degree of the major scale.... 

...Marguerite’s thoughts interweave with a brief rising theme in G-flat borne upward by the flute and clarinet over divided cellos. The harmony slides chromatically from key to key on trembling instrumental textures as Marguerite proclaims to the darkness her newfound passion... 


See:

https://www.wsj.com/articles/an-opera-worth-your-soul-1520013033
« Last Edit: March 04, 2018, 04:57:33 AM by Cato »
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Offline Cato

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Re: Gare de Gounod
« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2018, 02:39:32 PM »
Added to the index (which, by the way, you should check first!)

Did I miss something?  I found no listing for Gounod in the Index and was amazed that I found nothing!   I then did a search - which should have turned up any Gounod topic in the Index - and again found nothing devoted to him.

For those of a late classical bent, check out Gounod's two symphonies: YouTube offers this for the First:

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/K5Tkc_Dqra4" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/K5Tkc_Dqra4</a>


COWBOY (sitting down to a poker game for the first time): "Is this a game of chance?!"

- W. C. FIELDS  (as Cuthbert Twillie): "Uhh, not the way I play it, no." in  My Little Chickadee.

Offline Cato

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Re: Gare de Gounod: Petite Symphonie
« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2018, 04:19:26 AM »
Not at all; I assumed you didn't check the Index and that the search engine was your first course of action. My bad.

Ah!  Thanks for adding this to the Index Scriptorum Musicae  0:) !

For those who are not opera types: Gounod's Petite Symphonie

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/DZ3HwKYDljg" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/DZ3HwKYDljg</a>

COWBOY (sitting down to a poker game for the first time): "Is this a game of chance?!"

- W. C. FIELDS  (as Cuthbert Twillie): "Uhh, not the way I play it, no." in  My Little Chickadee.

Offline Alberich

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Re: Gare de Gounod
« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2018, 06:30:27 AM »
I have tickets to next summer's Savonlinna opera festival, to two operas in fact. The other is Faust by Gounod and other Pique Dame by Tchaikovsky, neither of which I have ever seen live, even though I adore both operas. Can't wait!
"Javert, though frightful, had nothing ignoble about him. Probity, sincerity, candor, conviction, the sense of duty, are things which may become hideous when wrongly directed; but which, even when hideous, remain grand."

- Victor Hugo

Offline Cato

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Re: Gare de Gounod
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2018, 07:23:18 AM »
I have tickets to next summer's Savonlinna opera festival, to two operas in fact. The one is Faust by Gounod and the other Pique Dame by Tchaikovsky, neither of which I have ever seen live, even though I adore both operas. Can't wait!

I must admit that I have never heard Tchaikovsky's effort!   Perhaps it is time to fill that gap! 0:)
COWBOY (sitting down to a poker game for the first time): "Is this a game of chance?!"

- W. C. FIELDS  (as Cuthbert Twillie): "Uhh, not the way I play it, no." in  My Little Chickadee.

Offline Alberich

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Re: Gare de Gounod
« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2018, 07:26:07 AM »
I must admit that I have never heard Tchaikovsky's effort!   Perhaps it is time to fill that gap! 0:)

Pique Dame is a wonderful opera, I warmly recommend it! One of my favorite Russian operas.
"Javert, though frightful, had nothing ignoble about him. Probity, sincerity, candor, conviction, the sense of duty, are things which may become hideous when wrongly directed; but which, even when hideous, remain grand."

- Victor Hugo

Spineur

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Re: Gare de Gounod
« Reply #6 on: March 05, 2018, 08:22:39 AM »
Besides Faust, his Romeo et Juliette is given regularly today.  I own the Alagna Georghiu Van Dam version directed by Michel Plasson



Alagna and Giorghiu were very young at the time and really made very credible Romeo and Juliette
There are more recent version with Anna Netrebko, Roberto Alagna (MET live) and Nino Machaidze, Rolando Villazón under Nézet Seguin also live from Salzburg.

Among his operas rarely performed, the most interesting one is (IMHO) Cinq-Mars.  There are minor deviation from the real history of Cinq Mars, but the love story and the plot with Spain against France are real and make an ideal background for an opera.  Recently revived by the Palazzo Bru Zane



His Polyeucte is on the other hand not very interesting compared to Donizetti.  Neither is La Colombe.  I do not know La none sanglante, which is I believe of some interest since it is occasionally produced on some opera stages.

His melodies are marvelous.  The CD with Felicity Lott is a must have



« Last Edit: March 05, 2018, 08:25:04 AM by Spineur »

Online ritter

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Re: Gare de Gounod
« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2018, 08:43:41 AM »
If I were emperor of the world (which fortunately—for the world and for me—I am not), I’d ban Gounod from all opera houses. For me, he represents the worst of 19th century operatic conventionality, and I only detect some (few and far between) interesting things in the “provencal” Mireille and in La nonne sanglante (which one could say is so bad, it’s good  ;)). But of course, this is purely a matter of personal taste, and therefore of no consequence whatsoever.  0:)
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Offline North Star

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Re: Gare de Gounod
« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2018, 09:28:10 AM »
If I were emperor of the world (which fortunately—for the world and for me—I am not), I’d ban Gounod from all opera houses. For me, he represents the worst of 19th century operatic conventionality, and I only detect some (few and far between) interesting things in the “provencal” Mireille and in La nonne sanglante (which one could say is so bad, it’s good  ;)). But of course, this is purely a matter of personal taste, and therefore of no consequence whatsoever.  0:)
Well at least one of his pupils was the great Pierre-Auguste Renoir. ;)
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pjme

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Re: Gare de Gounod
« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2018, 02:06:37 AM »
Ah, those wonderful novelties of the 19th century!

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/vW9mhB5qm70" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/vW9mhB5qm70</a>

Movements 2 & 3 are also on YT.

Or on a Hyperion CD : https://youtu.be/0_9W5ER0tS4

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/-9ISzBgcidI" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/-9ISzBgcidI</a>
« Last Edit: March 06, 2018, 02:14:22 AM by pjme »

Spineur

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Re: Gare de Gounod
« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2018, 02:18:08 AM »
Although Charles Gounod is most famous for his lyric works, and mostly Faust, 80% of his composition are sacred music.  He was a religious man and lamented that his century was undergoing a rapid de-christianization.  It probably is good that he did not witness what happened in the 20th century.  I suspect the lack of interest in Gounod' sacred music actually comes from difficulties that people have to dissociate the music from the parent religion.  It is strange to me as this is not the case with paintings.  Vinci St John the baptist or Caravaggio St Jerome are often cited among the painters most representative works.

Gounod wrote sone 20 masses and 4 requiem but only a small fraction have been recorded.  Michel Corboz and his vocal ensemble in Lausanne have recorded, his last and most beautifiul requiem



His recording of the last seven words of Christ is also particularly interesting.  It is coupled with the magnificent work on the same subject by César Franck



Unfortunately this CD is OOP.

Gounod wrote also some quartets which have been recorded by the Danel quartet.  I have some difficulties to place them stylistically.  Somewhere between classical and romantic inspirations.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2018, 02:34:09 AM by Spineur »

Offline Cato

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Re: Gare de Gounod
« Reply #11 on: March 12, 2018, 09:48:06 AM »


His recording of the Seven Last Words of Christ is also particularly interesting.  It is coupled with the magnificent work on the same subject by César Franck



Unfortunately this CD is OOP.


I found this CD on Amazon:

COWBOY (sitting down to a poker game for the first time): "Is this a game of chance?!"

- W. C. FIELDS  (as Cuthbert Twillie): "Uhh, not the way I play it, no." in  My Little Chickadee.

Offline Moonfish

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Re: Gare de Gounod
« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2018, 09:14:23 AM »
A Gounod compilation is on its way in celebration of it being 200 years since the composer's birth!  (Release date: June 8, 2018)   
Enticing!

"This 15CD boxset pays tribute to the great French composer Charles Gounod (1818-1893), whose 200th anniversary of birth we will celebrate on June 17th.
The most comprehensive boxset dedicated to Gounod ever released.
It includes 3 operas: his masterpiece Faust in the historic version by Georges Prêtre and Plácido Domingo, a highlights version sung in German by Gedda, Moser and Moll, and Roméo et Juliette and Mireille by the French conductor Michel Plasson and Alfredo Kraus (1st) and Mirella Freni (2nd). They are completed by some other opera arias, a great selection of 26 songs, three sacred works including the well-known Messe solennelle de Sainte Cécile and the only version available of Mors et Vita. Then, after a rarity, the Symphony for Wind instruments, the box ends with Gounod’s symphonies."




« Last Edit: May 14, 2018, 09:26:34 AM by Moonfish »
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Offline Moonfish

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Re: Gare de Gounod
« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2018, 09:22:41 AM »
I'm surprised that this thread is so new (March 2018).  Was there no interest in Gounod before that time or did the previous thread get deleted?

Personally, I had have had great joy listening to Gounod's 'Faust' as well as 'Roméo et Juliette' more times than I can remember over the last ten years. The recording recommended by Spineur (msg #6) is fantastic. Gheorghiu and Alagna are in top form. Gheorghiu's voice is marvelous in this performance. 

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Spineur

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Re: Gare de Gounod
« Reply #14 on: May 14, 2018, 09:25:32 AM »
I have most of the recordings in this box.  They are all historical recordings and I would say, they show their age.  Honestly, I would have expected much better from the records labels to celebrate the 200th birthday of his birth.  Here are two excellent new recordings I acquired recently and that I very warmly recommend
Prosseda: piano works


and his 5 string quartets, including the 2 that were redescovered in 1993

Aparte CDs are hard to get.  In the end I ordered it directly from the record label and got it immediately.
The Palazzetto Bru-Zane is also putting together a new production of Faust in june with a terrific cast.  It will be performed in june and a CD will be edited therafter.  If anybody wants a good Faust recording with modern sound and a decent french diction, I woud say WAIT !



Offline Moonfish

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Re: Gare de Gounod
« Reply #15 on: May 14, 2018, 09:36:33 AM »
I have most of the recordings in this box.  They are all historical recordings and I would say, they show their age.  Honestly, I would have expected much better from the records labels to celebrate the 200th birthday of his birth.  Here are two excellent new recordings I acquired recently and that I very warmly recommend
Prosseda: piano works


and his 5 string quartets, including the 2 that were redescovered in 1993

Aparte CDs are hard to get.  In the end I ordered it directly from the record label and got it immediately.
The Palazzetto Bru-Zane is also putting together a new production of Faust in june with a terrific cast.  It will be performed in june and a CD will be edited therafter.  If anybody wants a good Faust recording with modern sound and a decent french diction, I woud say WAIT !

I agree! Surely it would have been appropriate to include additional operas and works in the celebration of Gounod's life. After all, he was quite prolific!   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_compositions_by_Charles_Gounod
Perhaps Warner should have collaborated with some other labels?

Thanks for all your recommendations, Spineur! Besides, the new Faust recording from the Palazzetto Bru-Zane is fantastic news!!!!!
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Offline Alberich

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Re: Gare de Gounod
« Reply #16 on: July 08, 2018, 06:37:57 AM »
Back from Savonlinna where I saw Tchaikovsky's Pique dame and Gounod's Faust. I greatly enjoyed both performances. My only real complaints with Faust were that the title character's singer wasn't quite as good as Mephistofeles's (he really stole the show) and Marguerite's and that they cut the Walpurgisnacht scene. I get that the scene isn't really essential and kind of outside the main plot but it contains some nice music and even in the Goethe's original play it's one of my favorite parts. It's not like Faust is an exceptionally long opera.
"Javert, though frightful, had nothing ignoble about him. Probity, sincerity, candor, conviction, the sense of duty, are things which may become hideous when wrongly directed; but which, even when hideous, remain grand."

- Victor Hugo