Charles Gounod

(1818 - 1893)
If Gounod had never written Faust, his fame would be less, but respect for him would be greater. Faust has so successfully held its place in the operatic repertoire that the breadth of its composer’s achievement has been largely sidelined. The irony about Faust is that, while loved for its music, it has been less admired for its literary qualities. The work singles out the love interest in Goethe’s version of the legend, the custom in German-speaking lands was once to call the work Margarete (after its heroine rather than its hero) and to think of its composer with condescension. Consider instead a reputation centred on what many admirers call his masterpiece, the subtle, understated and intensely dramatic Mireille (1864) and on his delicately poised songs with piano; on his more conventional but brilliantly effective Roméo et Juliette (1867) and on the lyrical, at times imposing Messe solennelle de Sainte Cécile (1855); on the two high-spirited, finely scored symphonies (1855 and 1856) and the Petite symphonie for wind ensemble (1885). Gounod believed that success in a composing career must be won through opera, but that was a policy of realism. He worked in Paris when the openings in most other kinds of music were limited, and yet – like Berlioz and almost nobody else – he still made his mark across the board.

Charles Gounod Composition Timpani and Percussion Requirements

Faust - Opera

Timpani + 4 percussion
1) snare drum, off stage snare drum, tambourine in ballet music, tam tam, 2) triangle, off stage snare drum 2, 3) clash cymbals, tam tam, 4) orchestral bass drum

Funeral March of a Marionette

Timpani + 3 percussion
1) clash cymbals, 2) triangle, 3) orchestral bass drum

Messe Solenelle

Timpani + 2 percussion
1) clash cymbals, 2) orchestral bass drum

Romeo et Juliette

Timpani + 3 percussion
1) clash cymbals, suspended cymbal. 2) triangle, snare drum, 3) orchestral bass drum

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