Gounod gothique


Choral music and transcriptions for choir of works by Bach, Palestrina, Mozart

3 June 2018 – 1:30 pm
Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord
Tickets 14 to 27 € Book
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Production Palazzetto Bru Zane
Joint realisation C.I.C.T. – Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord

Gounod took a passionate interest in choral transcription and the musical styles of the past, at the very time when Viollet-le-Duc was restoring and reinterpreting the Gothic architecture of the churches and cathedrals of France. He focused his attention in turn on Bach, Palestrina, Handel, Arcadelt, Arbeau and Mozart, adapting for chorus the March of the Priests from Die Zauberflöte and the celebrated Ave verum corpus. This contact with the past enabled him to hone his skills in harmony and Renaissance counterpoint. On his way back from the Villa Medici, he composed in Vienna, in 1843, a Messe vocale of his own in the Palestrinian style which has never been published or revived since its first performance. Punctuated by chorales after the manner of Johann Sebastian Bach, the work goes far beyond mere pastiche: it traverses the various aesthetics of the past while enriching them with the vibrant harmonies of the Romantic era. But this ardent, impassioned mysticism recurs in even stronger form in Les Sept Paroles de notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ sur la croix (The Seven Last Words of Christ on the Cross, 1855), whose subject, at once gloomy and spiritual, was an ideal match for the ambiguous personality of Gounod’s music, torn between religious fervour and sensuality.

Hervé Niquet conductor
François Saint-Yves organ

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