Stamp of the Month: October 2018

San Marino 12.2.1999

Charles Gounod

The French composer Charles François Gounod was born in Paris on June 17, 1818. He died on October 18, 1893 in Saint-Cloud. In October 2018, his death marks the 125th time.
First, Gounod studied privately with a Bohemian composer and from 1836 at the Paris Conservatory, among others with Fromental Halévy. In 1839 he was awarded the Prix de Rome and traveled to Italy to learn about the music of the old masters.

After his return, he was church music director, choir director and organist in Paris and composed initially some sacred works, but from 1848 he turned away to strengthen the opera composition. In 1859, his most famous opera “Faust” brought him the breakthrough as a respected composer. The opera, which is often performed in Germany under the title “Marguerite” is still regarded as his masterpiece. Although most of his twelve operas are no longer on the board today, Charles Gounod is considered one of the most respected representative of the typical French Opéra lyrique. Due to the Franco-German War 1870/71 Gounod lived in London from 1870 to 1874, where he founded the Gounod’s Choir, which later became the Royal Choral Society. In his age, the deeply religious Gounod again turned to church music and left numerous oratorios and choral works. His “Ave Maria” based on the “Well-Tempered Clavier” by Johann Sebastian Bach is known worldwide as one of the most popular pieces of classical music.

The video shows the Ballet of the Semperopera Dresden performing the “Faust Waltz” from the opera “Marguerite” by Charles Gounod.