Gounod: Symphony No. 1 in D; Symphony No. 2 in E flat

Composer(s):
Gounod
Works:
Symphony No. 1 in D; Symphony No. 2 in E flat
Performer:
Orchestra of St John’s, Smith Square/ John Lubbock
Label:
ASV
Catalogue Number:
CD DCA 981
Performance:
starstarstarstarstar
Sound:
starstarstarstarstar
5
Reviewer:
BBC Music Magazine
The music of Gounod’s two symphonies is nothing like that of Faust or religious works such as Mors et vita or Rédemption. Nor does it fit the image of the venerable sage-like photographs, of the composer as a French Lisztian figure who aspired to the cloth. These two symphonies (1855-6) date from his middle years and owe much to both Haydn and Schumann. They are tuneful, charming and, at times, witty works and provide good solos for the woodwind players. Like Max Bruch (twenty years his junior), Gounod considered melody the cornerstone of music and the excellent playing and stylish phrasing demonstrated here could ensure a place in concert programmes for these two neglected compositions. John Lubbock and his players evidently enjoyed playing both works and the result is a fine one. Christopher Fifield