CDs & DVD
This album is a celebration of the 200th birthday of French composer Charles Gounod.
He composed about forty piano pieces in all, and this collection of a number of them allows us to appreciate their charm and expressive variety.
Performed by Italian pianist Roberto Prosseda, the release contains a number of world premieres, alongside Gounod’s more famous pieces such asMéditation sur le 1er prélude de J. S. Bach (1852), later known as Ave Maria and Marche funèbre d’une marionette, popularised by its use as a television theme tune.
The album is supported by the Palazzetto Bru Zane – Centre de musique romantique française, favouring the rediscovery of the French musical heritage of the long nineteenth century (1780-1920). It is housed in Venice in a palazzo dating from 1695, specially restored for the purpose.
A note from the pianist:
Charles Gounod: the "French Mendelssohn".
I decided to explore Charles Gounod’s piano music as I feel that he is one of the most underrated Romantic composers. Famous for his operas Faust and Roméo et Juliette, Gounod wrote about 40 pieces for piano, and some of them, like the ambitious Sonate pour piano à quatre mains (here recorded with Enrico Pompili),remained unpublished and unrecorded till today. After having recorded Gounod’s complete piano works for pedal piano and orchestra (the only concertante repertoire of his catalogue) it was a natural step for me to discover Gounod’s piano repertoire as well. Much of the pieces included in this CD are influenced by Mendelssohn: Gounod met Fanny Mendelssohn in Rome and she introduced him to Bach’s Well Tempered Clavier and to the Lieder ohne Worte by Felix Mendelssohn. It is not a coincidence, though, that also Gounod composed Six Preludes and Fugues (like Mendelssohn’s op. 35) and Six Romances sans Paroles, with their exquisite post-mendelssohnian lyricism. But the most famous piece is the Méditation sur le 1er Prélude de J. S. Bach (1852), that was originally written for piano solo: only later, in 1859, he added the words of Ave Maria to the melodic line, giving eternal fame to this music. Another world famous piece, originally written for piano solo, is the Marche funèbre d’une marionnette (1872), a grotesque musical portrait of the British music critic H. F. Chorley, which was used, in a later orchestral transcription, for Alfred Hitchcock's TV series.
1. La Veneziana (Barcarolle) in G minor CG 593
2. Impromptu in G major CG 580WP
3. Souvenance (Nocturne) in E flat major CG 590WP
4. Marche funèbre d’une marionette in D minor CG 583
Six Romances sans Paroles:
5. No. 1: La Pervence in B major CG 585
6. No. 2: Le Ruisseau in G flat major CG 589
7. No. 3: Le Soir in E flat major CG 441a
8. No. 4: Le Calme (La Nonne sanglante) in D flat major CG2e WP
9. No. 5: Chanson de Printemps in A flat major CG 359a
10. No. 6: La Lierre (Ivy) in B flat major CG 581
11. Méditation sur le 1er Prélude de Bach (Ave Maria) in C major CG 89b
Six Préludes et Fugues
12. Prélude in G major CG 587 a1
13. Fugue in G major CG 587 a2
14. Choral in E minor CG 587 b1
15. Fugue in E minor CG 587 b2
16. Prélude in C major CG 587 c1
17. Fugue in C major CG 587 c2
18. Prélude in D major CG 587 d1
19. Fugue in D major CG 587 d2
20. Choral in F major CG 587 e1
21. Fugue in F major CG 587 e2
22. Choral in A minor CG 587 f1
23. Fugue in A minor CG 587 f2
Sonata in E flat major for piano four hands CG 617 * WP
24. I. Allegro
25. II. Adagio
26. III. Presto