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Charles Gounod

Biography

Born: 1818   Died: 1893   Country: France   Period: Romantic
Charles Gounod is best known for his operas Faust and Romeo et Juliette and for his Ave Maria (1859). Except for concertos, he composed music in the major genres, but with varying success in the instrumental realm. Gounod was more at home in the vocal arena, particularly in opera and sacred music. Though his reputation began to fade even before he died, he is still generally regarded as a major figure in nineteenth century French music. Read more Stylistically, he was a conservative whose influence nevertheless extended to Bizet, Saint-Saëns, and Massenet. He could not be called a trailblazer or the founder of any movement or school. His works are tuneful, his vocal writing imaginative, and orchestral scoring masterly. Gounod's compositions, even his two symphonies and lesser known operas, are occasionally explored today, and the aforementioned Faust and Romeo et Juliette and Ave Maria are widely performed and recorded.

Gounod was born on June 17, 1818. His mother was a pianist who served as the young boy's first teacher. While still in his youth she arranged for him to receive composition lessons from Anton Reicha. After Reicha's death, Gounod began studies at the Paris Conservatory, where he won a Grand Prix in 1839 for his Cantata Fernand.

After further composition studies in Rome, where he focused on sixteenth century church music, particularly the works of Palestrina, he became deeply interested in religion and by 1845 was contemplating the priesthood. Though he would eventually reject the idea and marry, he remained religious throughout his life and wrote many sacred works, including masses, the most popular being the 1855 St. Cecilia Mass. In that year Gounod also turned out two symphonies, which achieved attention but not lasting success. It was the 1859 opera Faust, however, that, after a slow start, became Gounod's calling card. Mireille (1864) and especially Romeo et Juliette (1867) added to his reputation, not only in France but throughout Europe.

From 1870-1875 Gounod lived in England owing to the exigencies of the Franco-Prussian War. In his years there and in the period following his return to France, Gounod wrote much music, especially religious music, but never again attained the kind of success he experienced in the 1850s and '60s. Among his more compelling and imaginative late works is the 1885 Petite Symphonie, (scored for nine instruments). Gounod died in St. Cloud on October 18, 1893. Read less
Gounod: Symphonies No 1 & 2 / Gallois, Sinfonia Finlandia
Release Date: 09/26/2006   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8557463   Number of Discs: 1
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Bizet: L'Arlesienne Suites, Faure, Gounod / Yamada, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande
Release Date: 11/19/2013   Label: Pentatone  
Catalog: 5186358   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Faust: Salut! demeure chaste et pure

Browse 1-25 of 133 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Bravo! Villazon - The Recitals [4-CD Set]
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 623618 Release Date: 10/28/2014   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Jacques Offenbach,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Friedrich von Flotow  ... 
    Performer:  Rolando Villazón,  Florian Laconi,  Theresa Blank
    Conductor:  Michel Plasson,  Marcello Viotti,  Placido Domingo,  Evelino Pidò
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Madrid Community Orchestra,  ORTF Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $26.99
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  • 2.
    50 Great Arias / Jonas Kaufmann
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002153502 Release Date: 09/23/2014   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Georges Bizet,  Friedrich von Flotow,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Jonas Kaufmann,  Jana Sibera,  Michael Volle,  Margarete Joswig  ... 
    Conductor:  Marco Armiliato,  Claudio Abbado,  Donald Runnicles,  Antonio Pappano
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague Philharmonic Orchestra,  Mahler Chamber Orchestra,  Parma Teatro Regio Chorus  ... 
    On sale! $32.98
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  • 3.
    The Early Domingo
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 975792 Release Date: 08/26/2014   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Jacques Halévy  ... 
    Performer:  Placido Domingo,  Georgetta Psaros,  John McCaw,  Franklyn Whiteley  ... 
    Conductor:  Edward Downes,  Nello Santi,  Sherrill Milnes,  James Levine  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  John Alldis Choir  ... 
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  • 4.
    Voices of Firestone DVD 4-Pack - Bjorling, Sutherland, Merrill, Stevens
    Label: Kultur Video   Catalog: 4938 Release Date: 04/07/2014   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Richard Rodgers,  Georges Bizet,  Rudolf Friml,  Robert Schumann  ... 
    Performer:  Risë Stevens,  Jussi Björling,  Anne-Lisa Björling,  Dame Joan Sutherland  ... 
    Conductor:  Richard Bonynge,  Howard Barlow
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Voice of Firestone Orchestra
    On sale! $34.99
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  • 5.
    Fernando De Lucia - Complete Gramophone Company Recordings 1902-1909
    Label: Marston   Catalog: 54004 Release Date: 09/30/2013   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Francesco Paolo Tosti,  Jules Massenet,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Gioachino Rossini  ... 
    Performer:  Fernando de Lucia,  Salvatore Cattone,  Antonio Pini-Corsi,  Josefina Huguet  ... 
    Conductor:  Salvatore Sassano
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
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  • 6.
    The Best of Jonas Kaufmann
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001894302 Release Date: 09/03/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Georges Bizet,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Charles Gounod  ... 
    Performer:  Jonas Kaufmann,  Jana Sibera,  Renée Fleming,  Barbara Vignudelli  ... 
    Conductor:  Marco Armiliato,  Antonio Pappano,  Claudio Abbado,  John Eliot Gardiner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague Philharmonic Orchestra,  Verdi Grand Symphonic Orchestra Milan,  Verdi Chorus Milan  ... 
    CD: $13.99
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  • 7.
    Nicolai Gedda - Tenor Par Excellence
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 1203 Release Date: 01/29/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Jules Massenet,  Georges Bizet,  Daniel-François-Esprit Auber  ... 
    Performer:  Nicolai Gedda
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  • 8.
    Placido Domingo Sings Caruso
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 195442 Release Date: 07/31/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gaetano Donizetti,  Jules Massenet,  Francesco Cilèa,  Friedrich von Flotow  ... 
    Performer:  Placido Domingo,  Georgetta Psaros
    Conductor:  Nello Santi,  Erich Leinsdorf,  Sir Georg Solti,  Edward Downes
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $6.99
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  • 9.
    The Very Best Of Jussi Bjorling
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 6789972 Release Date: 03/13/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Gioachino Rossini,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Amilcare Ponchielli  ... 
    Performer:  Jussi Björling,  Robert Merrill,  Victoria de los Angeles,  Paul Franke  ... 
    Conductor:  Nils Grevillius,  Sir Thomas Beecham,  Renato Cellini
    CD: $17.99
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  • 10.
    Nessun Dorma
    Label: Membran / Documents   Catalog: 233346 Release Date: 11/21/2011   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Jules Massenet,  Jacques Halévy,  Charles Gounod  ... 
    Performer:  Franco Bonisolli,  Mirella Freni,  Henno Garduhn,  Maria Corelli  ... 
    Conductor:  Leone Magiera,  Francesco Molinari-Pradelli,  Lamberto Gardelli,  Bruno Bartoletti
    CD: $18.99
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  • 11.
    Giuseppe Di Stefano - The Decca Recordings
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001589102 Release Date: 08/30/2011   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Traditional,  Franco Cesarini,  Ernesto De Curtis,  Eldo Di Lazzaro  ... 
    Performer:  Giuseppe Di Stefano,  Hilde Gueden,  Renato Capecchi,  Luisa Mandelli  ... 
    Conductor:  Dino Olivieri,  Iller Pattacini,  Franco Patanè,  Francesco Molinari-Pradelli
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra,  New Symphony Orchestra of London,  Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra  ... 
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  • 12.
    Jussi Bjorling - The Complete RCA Album Collection
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 774892 Release Date: 07/26/2011   Number of Discs: 14
    Composer:  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Charles Gounod,  Giacomo Puccini,  Giacomo Meyerbeer  ... 
    Performer:  Jussi Björling,  Robert Merrill,  Emil Markow,  Frederick Schauwecker  ... 
    Conductor:  Renato Cellini,  Nils Grevillius,  Jonel Perlea,  Erich Leinsdorf  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra,  Orchestra,  Rome Opera House Orchestra  ... 
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  • 13.
    Gounod: Faust - Highlights / Pretre, Domingo, Freni
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 94862 Release Date: 06/21/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Charles Gounod
    Performer:  Marc Vento,  Thomas Allen,  Michèle Command,  Nicolai Ghiaurov  ... 
    Conductor:  Georges Prêtre
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Paris Opera Chorus,  Paris Opera Orchestra
    CD: $12.99
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  • 14.
    Lebendige Vergangenheit: Richard Crooks
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 89744 Release Date: 04/12/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gaetano Donizetti,  Richard Wagner,  Charles Gounod,  Jules Massenet  ... 
    Performer:  Richard [Tenor Vocal] Crooks
    Conductor:  Wilfrid Pelletier,  Nathaniel Shilkret
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  • 15.
    Lebendige Vergangenheit: Albert Da Costa
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 89740 Release Date: 02/08/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Vincenzo Bellini,  Jacques Halévy,  Giacomo Meyerbeer,  Charles Gounod  ... 
    Performer:  Albert da Costa
    On sale! $22.98
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  • 16.
    Lebendige Vergangenheit: Kurt Baum
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 89741 Release Date: 02/08/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Vincenzo Bellini,  Gioachino Rossini,  Jacques Halévy,  Giacomo Meyerbeer  ... 
    Performer:  Kurt Baum
    Conductor:  Wilhelm Loibner
    On sale! $22.98
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  • 17.
    The Very Best Of Placido Domingo
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 48676 Release Date: 02/08/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  George Frideric Handel,  Giacomo Meyerbeer,  Charles Gounod  ... 
    Performer:  Placido Domingo,  Montserrat Caballé,  Renato Capecchi,  Peter Horton
    Conductor:  Eugene Kohn,  Asher Fisch,  John Barker,  Georges Prêtre  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra,  National Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $12.99
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  • 18.
    Joseph Hislop - Recordings 1923-1929
    Label: Hafg   Catalog: 10109 Release Date: 12/03/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Jules Massenet,  Ambroise Thomas,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Joseph Hislop,  Lotte Schöne,  Feodor Chaliapin
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 19.
    Georges Thill Vol 3 - Gounod
    Label: Hafg   Catalog: 10248 Release Date: 10/15/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Charles Gounod
    Performer:  Marthe Nespoulous,  Fred Bordon,  Georges Thill,  Germaine Feraldy  ... 
    Conductor:  Eugène Bigot,  Sir Thomas Beecham,  Philippe Gaubert
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  • 20.
    Jacques Urlus Vol 2 - Recordings 1907-1923
    Label: Hafg   Catalog: 10260 Release Date: 10/15/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Eugène d' Albert,  Carl Maria von Weber,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Jacques Urlus
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 21.
    Margherita Carosio & Luigi Fort - Recordings 1930-1949
    Label: Hafg   Catalog: 10086 Release Date: 10/15/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franco Vittadini,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacomo Puccini,  Daniel-François Auber  ... 
    Performer:  Luigi Fort,  Leo Picciòli,  Margherita Carosio
    Conductor:  L. E. Gennai
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 22.
    Dokumente Eine Sangerkarriere: Josef Traxel
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 93459 Release Date: 10/12/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Maria von Weber,  François Boieldieu,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Aimé Maillart  ... 
    Performer:  Josef Traxel
    Conductor:  Arthur Grüber,  Hans Löwlein,  Werner Schmidt-Bolcke,  Wilhelm Schüchter
    On sale! $22.98
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  • 23.
    Heroes & Villains - Opera's Leading Men
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001433902 Release Date: 06/01/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Amilcare Ponchielli,  Georges Bizet,  Jules Massenet  ... 
    Performer:  Carlo Bergonzi,  Rolando Villazón,  Nicolai Ghiaurov,  Luciano Pavarotti  ... 
    Conductor:  Gianandrea Gavazzeni,  Daniele Callegari,  Robin Stapleton,  Sir Colin Davis  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rome Santa Cecilia Academy Orchestra,  Verdi Grand Symphonic Orchestra Milan,  National Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 24.
    Gounod: Faust Highlights / Bonynge, Sutherland, Corelli
    Label: London/Decca Opera Gala Series   Catalog: 421861 Release Date: 04/08/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Charles Gounod
    Performer:  Nicolai Ghiaurov,  Franco Corelli,  Dame Joan Sutherland,  Robert Massard  ... 
    Conductor:  Richard Bonynge
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ambrosian Opera Chorus,  London Symphony Orchestra
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 25.
    Icon - Beniamino Gigli - Tenor Legend
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 55693 Release Date: 03/23/2010   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Pietro Mascagni,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Beniamino Gigli,  Licia Albanese,  Leone Paci,  Giuseppe Nessi  ... 
    Conductor:  Umberto Berrettoni,  Franco Ghione,  Carlo Sabajno,  Walter Goehr  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Orchestra,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
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