Charles GOUNOD 17 June 1818 - 18 October 1893 (age 75)
Charles Gounod was one of the most notable French composers of the 19th
century. His opera 'Faust' was used for the opening of New York's
Metropolitan Opera House in 1883.
His 'Funeral March of a Marionette' is better known as the theme tune of the 'Alfred Hitchcock Presents' TV programs.
Born: Paris, 17 June 1818 Father: Francois-Louis Gounod, art teacher and architect, died when he was 5 Mother: Victoire Lemachois, taught him the piano Siblings: one brother, Urbain - architect Wife: Anna Children: 2, Jean, painter and musician, and Jeanne Died: suffered a stroke at St.Cloud, France. 18 October 1893 Grave: Cimetiere d'Auteuil, Paris see findagrave
This was also the theme tune of the 'Hitchcock Presents' TV series
Travels and career
Age 5 - Father died leaving his mother to oversee his education. She begins teaching him the piano.
13 - His mother took him to see Rossini's 'Otello' and later to see a
performance of Mozart's 'Don Juan'. These had a profound influence on
him as did performances of Beethoven's symphonies.
Age 21 - Won the Prix de Roma with his cantata 'Fernand'.
Age 21- 23 Lived in Rome at the Villa Medici. Studied Palestrina and music of the 16th century
Age 24 - 9 months in Vienna where he studied Bach and counterpoint.
Age 25-30 - Returned to Paris. Appointed musical director of the Church of Foreign Missions.
During this period he thought he might have a vocation for the
priesthood and studied theology. He also started wearing clerical robes
and even signed himself Abbé Gounod.
30 - Decides that operatic theatre is the way to go: "For a composer,
there is but one road to follow in order to make a name, and that is the
theatre [the operatic stage]."
Age 32 - Urbain, his elder brother, dies.
Age 34 - Marries Anna Zimmerman.
Age 37 - publishes 2 symphonies
Age 38 - son Jean born.
Age 40 - his mother dies .
Age 41 - 'Faust' his best known opera debuts in Paris.
Age 45 - daughter Jeanne born
Age 49 - Opera 'Romeo et Juliette' premieres in Paris, followed by London.
52 - Owing to the Franco-Prussian war and the Siege of Paris he moves
to London with his family. The following year his wife, mother and
children return to France.
Age 52-56 - Lived in London.
Became the first conductor of the Royal Choral Society soon after the
opeing of the Royal Albert Hall.
Age 59 - made Commander of the Legion of Honour.
Age 75 - Wrote a Requiem Mass for his grandson and died while making finishing touches.
Gounod in Art
A fascinating collection of images - art, portraits, caricatures, cartoons, album covers and postage stamps.
Bobby McFerrin - the Bach/Gounod Ave Maria
Romeo et Juliette performance in the Arena, Verona
Petite Symphonie for wind instruments: II Andante cantabile
" God created three beautiful things: music, flowers and women, It is them I always sang."
"Musical ideas sprang to my mind like a flight of butterflies, and all I had to do was to stretch out my hand to catch them."
I fight against the void. I think I've written something acceptable, and then, when I look at it again, I find it execrable.
Links - Where to go for more information
Click the above banner to go to an excellent site run by his great-great grandson Francois Davin.