Petite Symphonie – Charles Gounod (1818-1893)
Adagio – Allegro
Andante cantabile (quasi adagio) attacca
Scherzo: Allegro moderato
This ‘little symphony’ in B-flat for Wind Nonet was premiered in Gounod’s hometown of Paris, in 1885, at the Salle Pleyel. Gounod studied at the Paris Conservatoire and won the prestigious Prix de Rome when he was 21. He went on to compose sacred works including a mass, as well as the opera Faust and several orchestral works. Petite Symphonie, only published in 1904, well after his death, has four movements alive with melody, including the second movement which could be seen as an aria for flute.
It is a symphony of sorts, straddling the boundary of large-ensemble chamber music and wind symphony. Gounod wrote it at the instigation of his friend, Paul Taffanel, who is widely viewed as the founder of the modern French school of flute playing.
Gabriele von Dürckheim (flute), Lisa White (oboe 1), Caren Bam (oboe 2), Daniel Prozesky (clarinet 1), Annelize de Villiers (clarinet 2), Brandon Phillips (bassoon 1), Simon Ball (bassoon 2), Caroline Prozesky (horn 1) and Conrad van der Westhuizen (horn 2)