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Gounod: Symphonies, Faust Ballet Music / Marriner, ASMF


Release Date: 07/20/1999 
Label:  Philips   Catalog #: 462125   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Charles Gounod
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 13 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Gounod's image as the composer of sentimental and sanctimonious works dies hard with the general public (and with record executives) to the exclusion of his music in lighter vein - we haven't had a new Philémon et Baucis for about 35 years, and the delightful Médecin malgré lui is a conspicuous absentee from the Gramophone Database. But his symphonies, elegantly crafted with a Gallic delicacy, may come as a surprise to anyone who does not know them. There have in fact been two very successful recordings - by Plasson and his Toulouse players, and Lubbock with his St John's orchestra - but when it comes to verve, precision and virtuosity (noticeably called for in the finale of the First Symphony) the present team are more Read more than a match for anybody.

Symphony No. I has been called Haydnesque, most pertinently in the so-called Scherzo, whose non troppo presto marking approximates it more to a minuet or Land/er, especially in its rustic trio; and vivacity is the hallmark of the outer movements (the first written at the age of 25, a dozen years before the rest). The work's spryness and structure had a big effect on Bizet, who made a piano duet version of it and was thereby stimulated to write his own delectable symphony. No. 2 starts off with rather more earnest intentions, and its Scherzo (a real one this time) could claim Beethoven as godparent, but Gounod shows a light touch in the Larghetto, in which the two contrasting themes are eventually combined, and in the finale reverts to his most sparkling and frothy manner.

For all its melodiousness and suitability for the dancers, the Faust ballet music included as a makeweight is more conventional, but Marriner and the ASMF, by lavishing every care on it, make it appear better than it intrinsically is.

-- Gramophone [9/1998]
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Works on This Recording

1.
Symphony no 1 in D major by Charles Gounod
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1855; France 
Date of Recording: 03/1997 
Venue:  Henry Wood Hall, London, England 
Length: 25 Minutes 29 Secs. 
2.
Symphony no 2 in E flat major by Charles Gounod
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1856; France 
Date of Recording: 03/1997 
Venue:  Henry Wood Hall, London, England 
Length: 30 Minutes 36 Secs. 
3.
Faust: Ballet Music by Charles Gounod
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1859; France 
Date of Recording: 03/1997 
Venue:  Henry Wood Hall, London, England 
Length: 17 Minutes 7 Secs. 

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