Gounod's Petite Symphonie - Mondays Free Ensemble Monterey Download

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Charles Gounod (1818-1893) was a French composer who is best known today for his opera Faust. Gounod’s musical abilities were noticed early and his mother arranged for him to have weekly lessons with Anton Reicha. Reicha was an early fan of wind ensemble music, particularly the wind quintet. Later, Gounod's music became increasingly prominent on the Paris music scene in the 1850’s and 1860’s, and he mentored young composers including Georges Bizet and Camille Saint-Saens.

This "Little Symphony" is in the traditional French romantic style of polite parlor music. Gounod composed his Petite Symphonie in 1885 for his friend and colleague, Paul Taffanel and his professional ensemble, the Society of Wind Chamber Music. The players in this group are the stuff of legends! Paul Taffanel was the flute instructor at the Paris Conservatoire during this time and is considered to be the founder of the modern school of flute playing. Petite Symphony is written in the style of the wind Octets and Serenades by Mozart, which do not have flute parts, so Gounod made sure to feature the flute prominently. The flute solo in the second movement is here played by Ensemble Monterey's Principal Flutist, Lars Johannesson. This piece has become a standard work for wind ensembles ever since its premier and is arguably one of Gounod’s most popular instrumental works.

Yours in Music - John Anderson