Work: Symphony no 2 in E flat major
About This Work
At nearly thirty-five minutes, the Symphony in E flat is longer than its predecessor. There is a strong influence of Gounod's most immediate predecessors in the symphonic form, Mendelssohn (who had died in the previous decade) and Schumann (who died
the same year this symphony was written). Schumann's influence is particularly strong in the main body of the first movement, marked "Allegro agitato," following a rather more Mendelssohnian opening introduction in "Adagio."
The second movement is a gentle "larghetto" with elegant melodies and unexpected modulations. The third movement is a scherzo in classical mood and form, while the finale is a light-footed "allegro leggiero assai."
Throughout the symphony the scoring is transparent and kept light, and the French touch is particularly evident in the deft and imaginative use of woodwinds. Above all it is the constant flow of pleasing melody that keeps this lightweight symphony fresh and viable.
-- Joseph Stevenson
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