on 21 August 2012
Gounod's St Cecilia Mass had a bad start in this country, for it was taken up by Novellos and published in an edition without the composer's approval and with changes 'adapted to the Protestant form of worship'. He recognized the uselessness of his objections, however, 'as it is a time-honoured practice in England', and brought out a revised edition of his own, making some changes that would help secure his ongoing copyright (the original had not been registered at Stationers' Hall).
Michael Pilkington, taking into account the history of the piece, and the composer's intentions, has produced a fresh edition - rather ironically published by Novellos, in their excellent 'New Novello Choral Edition' series which aims to update, in the light of modern scholarship and performing demands, many of their Victorian standard editions that have been the mainstay of British choral singing throughout most of the 20th century, a long overdue exercise with generally first-class results.
Justice can at last be said to have been done and perhaps will encourage performances of this interesting and tuneful work. Not for nothing has Gounod sometimes been referred to as a French equivalent of Arthur Sullivan, but he has all but disappeared from the British concert platform (his operas are more often heard).
Now, how about Mors et Vita and La Rédemption?
on 10 February 2014
The Novello vocal score for Gounod's Messe Solonnelle is the one being used by our choir, so is helpful for choir members to have. It arrived promptly after ordering, and is priced competitively, so I am satisfied with my purchase.