Benjamin Godard

Biography

Born: August 18, 1849; Paris, France   Died: January 10, 1895; Cannes, France  
The music of French composer Benjamin Godard, whose meteoric rise to fame during the late 1870s earned him a general popularity that eluded most of his Parisian contemporaries, has fallen out of the general repertory since his death in 1895. Godard was born in Paris on August 18, 1849, and was trained on the violin as a young boy (he was fortunate enough receive lessons from famed virtuoso Henri Vieuxtemps). After entering the Paris Conservatoire Read more in 1863 (composition with Henri Reber) and making two unsuccessful bids in for the Prix de Rome (1866 and 1867), Godard earned a living as a violist until his music began to attract the attention of publishers during the final years of the 1860s. Godard's reputation as a skilled and prolific composer grew steadily during the 1870s, and when his Le Tasse (dramatic symphony for chorus, soloists, and orchestra) was awarded the Prix de la Ville de Paris in 1878 Godard entered the front rank of Parisian musicians.

Godard gained further attention when his music was made a focus of conductor Jules Étienne Pasdeloup's Concerts Populaires; Godard himself took over direction of the concerts during the mid-1880s, renaming them the Concerts Modernes, but the series never regained the success it had achieved under Pasdeloup. An interest in opera during the 1880s and 1890s led to the production of five dramatic operas, all popular failures (though the "Berceuse" from the 1888 opera Jocelyn is Godard's only well-known work). A comic opera, La vivandière, was left unfinished at the composer's death in 1895; the orchestration of the work was finished by another musician and the work was premiered in Paris later in the year.

Given Godard's instrumental background, it is not surprising that his chamber and symphonic works have the most to offer performers and listeners. The five symphonies (some with fanciful titles, e.g. Symphonie gothique or Symphonie orientale), while perhaps less rewarding than the music for violin (five sonatas for piano and violin, two concertos, of which the Concerto romantique is considered the superior, and an important solo violin sonata), are nevertheless superior to the operas, which fall rather short of their dramatic ambitions due to a lack of potent musical substance. Godard seems to have had little innate sympathy for the piano, and, although works for this instrument actually constitute a substantial portion of his total output, his piano music is generally rather trite. Perhaps Godard's widespread fame as a salon composer compelled him to compose such trifles, but he was not a miniaturist at heart, and his efforts in this vein are generally unsuccessful.

From 1887 on Godard was a member of the faculty at the Paris Conservatoire, and in 1889 he was named a Chevalier of the Légion d'honneur. Read less
Browse 1-25 of 108 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Victor Hugo en musique / Konstantin Wolff, Trung Sam
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 1951997 Release Date: 02/19/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Liszt,  Gabriel Fauré,  Reynaldo Hahn,  Benjamin Godard  ... 
    Performer:  Konstantin Wolff,  Trung Sam
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  • 2.
    Godard: Piano Works, Vol. 2
    Label: Grand Piano   Catalog: 684 Release Date: 01/08/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Benjamin Godard
    Performer:  Reyes Eliane
    CD: $17.99
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  • 3.
    Godowsky: Passacaglia; 4 Poems; Transcriptions; Paraphrases
    Label: Piano Classics   Catalog: 96 Release Date: 11/13/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Leopold Godowsky,  Richard Strauss,  Georges Bizet,  Benjamin Godard  ... 
    Performer:  Emanuele Delucchi
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  • 4.
    Leopold Godowsky: Piano Music, Vol. 13
    Label: Marco Polo   Catalog: 8225367 Release Date: 11/13/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Leopold Godowsky,  Georges Bizet,  Benjamin Godard,  Carl Maria von Weber  ... 
    Performer:  Konstantin Scherbakov
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  • 5.
    Godard: Piano Works, Vol. 1
    Label: Grand Piano   Catalog: 683 Release Date: 10/09/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Benjamin Godard
    Performer:  Reyes Eliane
    CD: $17.99
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  • 6.
    Itzhak Perlman: The Complete Warner Recordings
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 552439 Release Date: 09/25/2015   Number of Discs: 77
    Composer:  Niccolò Paganini,  Pablo de Sarasate,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  Itzhak Perlman,  Pinchas Zukerman,  Ray Still,  Samuel Sanders  ... 
    Conductor:  Lawrence Foster,  Daniel Barenboim,  Itzhak Perlman,  Bernard Haitink  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  English Chamber Orchestra,  Israel Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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    CD: $287.49
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  • 7.
    Godard: Les Trois Quatuors  / Elysee Quartet
    Label: Timpani   Catalog: 1221 Release Date: 07/10/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Benjamin Godard
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Élysée Quartet
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  • 8.
    Clarinet Lollipops
    Label: Continuum   Catalog: 1080 Release Date: 05/12/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Gershwin,  Kurt Weill,  Fritz Kreisler,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Murray Khouri
    Conductor:  Paul Terracini
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  • 9.
    Godard: Piano Works  / Alessandro Deljavan
    Label: Piano Classics   Catalog: 72 Release Date: 10/28/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Benjamin Godard
    Performer:  Alessandro Deljavan
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  • 10.
    Phase 4 Stereo - Stereo Concert Series
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002188302 Release Date: 10/27/2014   Number of Discs: 41
    Composer:  John Philip Sousa,  Charles A. Zimmerman,  Francis S. Van Boskerck,  George Norton  ... 
    Performer:  Stanley Black,  David Parkhouse,  Alan Loveday,  Robert Merrill  ... 
    Conductor:  Rodney Bashford,  Stanley Black,  Bernard Herrmann,  Edward Downes  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Grenadier Guards Band,  London Festival Orchestra,  London Festival Recording Ensemble  ... 
    CD: $162.49
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  • 11.
    James Galway - The Complete RCA Album Collection
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 302633 Release Date: 09/16/2014   Number of Discs: 73
    Composer:  Arthur Smith,  Various,  Traditional,  Stan Lebowsky  ... 
    Performer:  James Galway,  Sylvia,  Marisa Robles,  Phillip Moll  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Scimone,  Sir Neville Marriner,  Jörg Faerber,  Eduardo Mata  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Solisti Veneti,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Galway Pops Orchestra  ... 
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  • 12.
    The Romantic Piano Concerto Vol 63 - Godard / Shelley
    Label: Hyperion   Catalog: 68043 Release Date: 07/08/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Benjamin Godard
    Performer:  Howard Shelley
    Conductor:  Howard Shelley
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra
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  • 13.
    The Hidden Violin: Romantic Virtuoso Works For Solo Violin
    Label: First Hand Records   Catalog: 29 Release Date: 04/08/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Christian Sinding,  Franz Von Vecsey,  Leon de Saint-Lubin,  Joseph Joachim  ... 
    Performer:  Vaughan Jones
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  • 14.
    Meditations: Oboe & Harp At The Opera / Celine Moinet, Sarah Christ
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 902175 Release Date: 02/11/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gaetano Donizetti,  Antonio Pasculli,  Franz Schubert,  Jules Massenet  ... 
    Performer:  Céline Moinet,  Sarah Christ
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  • 15.
    Allume: Music For Flute & Harp
    Label: Albany Records   Catalog: 1464 Release Date: 12/10/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Vittorio Monti,  Michel Blavet,  Marie-Auguste Durand,  Carrol McLaughlin  ... 
    Performer:  Brian Luce,  Carrol McLaughlin
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  • 16.
    The Art Of Erica Morini -  Westminster / American Decca Recordings
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 40044 Release Date: 11/12/2013   Number of Discs: 11
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Giuseppe Tartini,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Erica Morini,  Leon Pommers,  Walter Trampler,  Felix Galimir  ... 
    Conductor:  Artur Rodzinski,  Nicholas Harsanyi,  Frederic Waldman
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Princeton Chamber Orchestra,  Musica Aeterna
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  • 17.
    Flute Vocalise / Kenneth Smith, Paul Rhodes
    Label: Divine Art   Catalog: 24156 Release Date: 06/25/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Cécile Louise Chaminade,  Frédéric Chopin,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Benjamin Godard  ... 
    Performer:  Kenneth Smith,  Paul Rhodes
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  • 18.
    Lullaby & Nocturne / David Hays, Peter Collins
    Label: Msr   Catalog: 1436 Release Date: 05/14/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Xaver Neruda,  Igor Stravinsky,  Sergei Lyapunov,  Fritz Kreisler  ... 
    Performer:  Peter Collins,  David Hays
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    On sale! $13.98
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  • 19.
    Beethoven, Godard, Chausson, Saint-Saens, Ravel / Oistrakh
    Label: Melodiya   Catalog: 1002032 Release Date: 02/12/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ernest Chausson,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Maurice Ravel  ... 
    Performer:  David Oistrakh
    Conductor:  Kiril Kondrashin
    CD: $18.99
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  • 20.
    A Musical Journey- France: Marseille, Tarascon, Cannes, Cote D'azur, Camargue
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 2110312 Release Date: 10/30/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Gabriel Fauré,  Benjamin Godard,  Jacques Offenbach  ... 
    Conductor:  Ondrej Lenárd,  Keith Clark
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bratislava Radio Symphony Orchestra
    DVD: $12.99
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  • 21.
    Godard: Piano Concerto No 2, Jocelyn Suites / Sangiorgio, Yates
    Label: Dutton Laboratories/Vocalion   Catalog: 7291 Release Date: 09/12/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Benjamin Godard
    Performer:  Victor Sangiorgio
    Conductor:  Martin Yates
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Scottish National Orchestra
    On sale! $25.98
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  • 22.
    Benjamin Godard: Piano Works
    Label: Fc Records   Catalog: 9738 Release Date: 04/10/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Benjamin Godard
    Performer:  Jouni Somero
    On sale! $20.98
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  • 23.
    Caruso In Song
    Label: Rca Victor Gold Seal   Catalog: 61640 Release Date: 11/29/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Francesco Paolo Tosti,  Fermin Maria Alvarez,  Traditional,  George M. Cohan  ... 
    Performer:  Enrico Caruso,  Francis Lapitino,  Ruggero Leoncavallo
    Conductor:  Josef Pasternack,  Walter Rogers
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 24.
    Dame Joan Sutherland - Complete Decca Studio Recitals  [23-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001619502 Release Date: 11/01/2011   Number of Discs: 23
    Composer:  Gaetano Donizetti,  Giuseppe Verdi,  George Frideric Handel,  Vincenzo Bellini  ... 
    Performer:  Nadine Sautereau,  Dame Joan Sutherland,  Richard Conrad,  Ambrose Gauntlett  ... 
    Conductor:  Nello Santi,  Francesco Molinari-Pradelli,  Richard Bonynge
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestre de la Société du Conservatoire Paris,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Chorus  ... 
    CD: $108.49
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  • 25.
    Godard: Piano Concerto No 1, Symphonie Orientale / Sangiorgio, Yates
    Label: Dutton Laboratories/Vocalion   Catalog: 7274 Release Date: 09/13/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Benjamin Godard
    Performer:  Victor Sangiorgio
    Conductor:  Martin Yates
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Scottish National Orchestra
    Recommendation
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