Music Composers

Charles Gounod-Part 5

"If I have worked any good during my life, by word or deed, I owe it to my mother and to her I give the praise. She sleeps beneath a stone as simple as her blameless life had been. May this tribute from the son she loved so tenderly form a more imperishable crown than the wreaths of fading immortelles he laid upon her grave, and clothe her memory with a halo of reverence and respect he fain would have endure long after he himself is dead and gone."

As a child Gounod possessed the gift of absolute pitch. He discovered that the dogs barked in certain pitches and that the street venders sang "as if they were crying" when they sang in the minor mode. His early training was almost entirely received from his mother who, however, did not wish to have her son a musician, knowing the privations which many unsuccessful artists undergo. She did, however, place him under the instruction of the noted contrapuntalist Anton Reicha, who advised Madame Gounod to make a musician of the boy. Accordingly, after he had received his Bachelor's Degree from the Lycee St. Louis, he entered the Paris Conservatoire where he studied with Halevy, Lesueur and Paer. In 1837, after he had been in the conservatoire but one year, he won the second Prix de Rome with his cantata Marie Stuart and Rizzio; and in 1839 he won the Grand Prix de Rome with his cantata Fernand, carrying twenty-five votes out of twenty-seven.

The Etude Magazine November 1912

 

 

 

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