Charles-François Gounod (1818 -- 1893) was a French
composer, most well known for his Ave Maria (based on a
work by Bach) as well as his opera Faust. Another opera
by Gounod is Roméo et Juliette.
Gounod was born in Paris, the son of a pianist mother
and an artist father. His mother was his first piano
teacher. Under her tutelage, Gounod first showed his
musical talents. He entered the Paris Conservatoire,
where he studied under Fromental Halévy and Pierre
Zimmermann (he later married Zimmermann's daughter). In
1839, he won the Prix de Rome for his cantata Fernand.
He was following his father; François-Louis Gounod (d.
1823) had won the second Prix de Rome in painting in
1783. During his stay of four years in Italy, Gounod
studied the music of Palestrina and other sacred works
of the sixteenth century; these he never ceased to
cherish. Around 1846-47 he gave serious consideration
to joining the priesthood, but he changed his mind
before actually taking holy orders, and went back to
composition. During that period, he was attached to the
Church of Foreign Missions in Paris.
In 1854, Gounod completed a Messe Solennelle, also
known as the Saint Cecilia Mass. This work was first
performed in its entirety in the church of St Eustache
in Paris on Saint Cecilia's Day, 22 November 1855; from
this rendition dates Gounod's fame as a noteworthy
The other works, those meant for use in a Mass and with
Latin texts, are more traditionally hymn-sounding:
reverent, slow, and reassuring. And yet there is still
enough variety in the settings -- even among four
settings of O Salutaris Hostia. This arrangement
features 3 selections from "Chants sacrés", 60 part
songs for voices and organ in 3 volumes: O Salutaris,
Ave Verum and Pie Jesus.
Although originally composed for Solo Voice (Soprano
and Tenor) and Organ, I created this arrangement for
Viola & Acoustic Piano.