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Gouvy: Symphonies 3 & 5 CD


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Gouvy: Symphonies 3 & 5 + Gouvy: Symphony No. 4 | Symphonie Breve | Fantaisie [Jacques Mercier]  [CPO: 777382-2] + Gouvy: Symphonies 1 & 2
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Product details

  • Conductor: Mercier
  • Composer: Gouvy
  • Audio CD (1 Jun. 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: CPO
  • ASIN: B001UWOIXW
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 336,845 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Symphony No. 3, Op. 20 in C Major - Saarbrucken Radio Symphony Orchestra
2. Symphony No. 5, Op. 30 in B Flat Major - Saarbrucken Radio Symphony Orchestra

Product Description

CPO 777379; CPO - CLASSIC PROD.OSNABRUCK - Germania; Classica Orchestrale

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Charles Voogd on 24 Jun. 2009
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is a positive review of a disc which delighted and surprised me. It's wonderful music and it's very good played, recorded and documented.
The booklet says Gouvy was a Frenchman living so close to the German border they thought he was a German. And in Germany he was labelled as a Frenchman. He was very popular in Leipzig. The French - then - didn't like or want symphonies. They only digested opera and ballet; what a meagre meal! In Germany the tastes were (are?) broader indeed. Why Gouvy's neglect? I don't know. Bad luck?

For me listening to Gouvy's 3rd and 5th symphonies was a very likeable experience. Don't think here's a new masterpiece rediscovered. But the overall neglect of these works is something which can't be understood properly.

The soundworld is (non-explosive) Mendelssohn, (lightweight) Schumann and Raff without much conflict. So if you think these are recordings of Mendelssohn's symphony nr.6 and 7 or Schumann 5 or 6, you could be right. It's easy on the ear; full of charm. The scherzos are very Raff-like. Butterflies and fairies and so on. Go on CPO!
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By J. A. Peacock on 5 May 2009
Format: Audio CD
The music on this disc was a real surprise, warmly melodic and with a distinctive sense of élan. I was familiar with the name Gouvy, but he barely features in books on the history of music and I knew nothing of his prolific output. Independently wealthy, in that sense Gouvy was something of a dilettante and there doesn't seem to be any evidence that he displayed any particular interest or talent for music at an early age like his contemporary, Mendelssohn, had done. Dilettante or not, on the evidence of this disc he was certainly able to produce skilfully written and charming music.

Berlioz is reported to have singled out his symphonic works for praise and you can see why from the symphonies recorded here; that French composer and Mendelssohn are both influences, particularly in the sphere of orchestration. Otherwise his music is more conventional than Berlioz, but with a freshness of melody and expression that is quite different from either of the two composers I've mentioned.

The slow movement of the third symphony really shines out - starting out with a long, lyrical melody over relatively conventional string figures, it appears to share the classical lineage of much of this music; however, with the subsequent delicate use of the harp and the introduction of a different, gently throbbing accompaniment in the string line, Gouvy paints a sultry nocturne that seems quite ahead of its time. It really is exquisitely beautiful and, for me at least, worth the price of the disc on its own. I can't think of any contemporaneous symphonic movement to equal its wonderfully judged effects, which are matched by a sensitively judged performance from Mercier and the Deutsche Radio Philharmonie.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4 reviews
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Recommended Romanticist 27 Aug. 2009
By Cornelius - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Gouvy isn't a lot of composers, and will suffer when compared to famous romantic-era artists.
But his obviously French-flavored symphonies are enjoyable in their own right.
Certainly there are works by Gounod and Saint-Saens that are lesser accomplishments than these symphonies.
They well repay an open-minded listening.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Major additions to the 19th c. symphonic repertoire 28 Nov. 2013
By James A. Altena - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Louis Theodore Gouvy (1819-1898) has only recently begun to emerge from the obscurity to which adverse circumstances consigned him to assume his rightful place as one of the major symphonists of the 19th century. An Alsatian by birth and upbringing, he was caught both geographically and culturally in the larger political tug-of-war between France and Germany, a situation only made worse by Germany's expropriation of Alsace-Lorraine following its defeat of France in the Franco-Prussian war of 1870-71. While Gouvy identified with the French side of all this (French was his first language and his musical training was in Paris), it was in Germany that he attained his major successes with his symphonies and oratorios -- genres generally neglected or even spurned in France, where opera reigned supreme. He found particular favor in Leipzig -- not surprising, since his early works demonstrate the clear influence of Mendelssohn (who also greatly influence Saint-Saens and Gounod), with Schumann, Brahms, Max Bruch, and a hint of Berlioz later coming into the mix. Nevertheless, Gouvy was very much his own man; his thematic materials is consistently original and fresh, and he demonstrates superior skills in his command of symphonic forms and orchestration. This is music of considerable substance, sophistication, and subtlety; it can only be termed "elevator "music" by someone who narrow-mindedly supposes that all later 19th-century symphonies must conform to the models of Brahms and Bruckner.

Jacques Mercier has been recordings all seven of Gouvy's symphonies (only #7 is still awaited), along with several shorter orchestral scores. His efforts have ranged from good to excellent, and that holds true here as well. (I have reviewed some of the other releases in the series at greater length in another venue.) As always, cpo provides excellent recorded sound and detailed notes. Along with Friedrich Gernshiem, Gouvy is a major musical voice that posterity needs to reclaim; if any further proof for that is needed, try to track down and acquire the recording (out of print, alas) of his Requiem, a towering masterpiece of the genre. All of the oratorios are also making their way onto CD, and some chamber works have followed as well. I say, keep 'em coming!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Nothing Great, but Worth a Listen 21 Dec. 2013
By J. R. Trtek - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This is one of (at present) four discs from CPO that offer the majority of the symphonies written by Louis Theodore Gouvy, a French composer born in Prussian-controlled territory and ultimately influenced by both national cultures. He never made a huge splash in France, which at that time was fixated on opera rather than purely instrumental music, and though he spent the final portion of his life in Germany, his career didn't take off there, either. These two mid-nineteenth-century symphonies are lively if ultimately rather unmemorable works, sounding to my untrained ears like a mix of Mendelssohn and Bizet. I find them a bit more distinctive than the composer's first two symphonies -- the No. 3 is particularly likable -- but while they are certainly engaging at the time, I find they fade rather quickly once I switch off the player. Still, if you enjoy travelling the less-familiar byways of Romantic Era music, this is one stop you should definitely make.
12 of 29 people found the following review helpful
Pleasant 19th Century "Elevator" Music 30 Jun. 2009
By Kenneth Gilman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Mid 19th century symphonies in the style of Mendelssohn, Schumann, Gade, etc, but not nearly as good. A mix of French & German elements, nice, pleasant melodies but with dull orchestration. Gouvy obviously had talent, but didn't have the kind of training that would have made him better. A gifted, essentially amateur composer, writing for the conservative Leipzig audience of his time.
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