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For more information on Gounod, please visit http://www.charles-gounod.com/vi/index.htm 


Events
Faust, a co-production of the Metropolitan Opera and English National Opera, March - April 2013
Debussy, Haydn and Gounod performed by the Charnwood Orchestra, 29/09/12
If you know of any events concerning Gounod or his works, please let us know:
contact@drjamesharding.co.uk
Gounod, published in 1973, was Harding's fourth biography set against the backdrop of French music.
Reviews of Gounod
"...a technique occasionally worthy of Firbank; it is immensely readable." Music and Musicians






The book
Harding traces a fascinating portrait of a complex personality who, though he became a musician, could have developed equally well as artist or priest.  All his life Gounod (1818 - 1893) was tormented by religious scruples.  At the same time he longed for success in the theatre.  This basic conflict helps to explain the frequent nervous breakdowns and the abrupt emotional crises that chequered his existence.  Gounod's character is brought vividly to life - no less so than that of the extraordinary Mrs Weldon who sponsored him during the tragi-comic years he spent in London.  Others who make their appearance include the Mendelssohns, Berlioz, Pauline Viardot, Bizet and Liszt.  A master craftsman, an inspired reformer of church music, and the creator of an original and unique French style, Gounod remains a vital historical figure.  From him springs the distinguished line that proceeds by way of Massenet to Debussy and Fauré.    
The man
Gounod, the son of a pianist mother and an artist father, was a baffling mixture of cunning and simplicity, of malice and kindness, of hypocrisy and noble aspiration.  Add to this an irresistible charm and an unfailing appetite for women, and his life was bound to be eventful.  Gounod wrote one of the world's most famous operas, Faust, and has suffered ever since from the weight of its enormous success.  The poignant lyricism of Mireille and the elegant humour of le Médecin malgré lui should not be ignored for the sake of Faust or Roméo et Juliette.  Later in his life, Gounod combined his religious impulses with his musical skill, writing much sacred music.