Charles Gounod

Symphony No. 2 in E flat major

    Description by Joseph Stevenson

    Charles Gounod wrote his first symphony following the premiere of his opera <

    At nearly thirty-five minutes, the Symphony in E flat is longer than its predecessor. There is a strong influence of Gounod's most immediate predecessors in the symphonic form, Mendelssohn (who had died in the previous decade) and Schumann (who died the same year this symphony was written). Schumann's influence is particularly strong in the main body of the first movement, marked "Allegro agitato," following a rather more Mendelssohnian opening introduction in "Adagio."

    The second movement is a gentle "larghetto" with elegant melodies and unexpected modulations. The third movement is a scherzo in classical mood and form, while the finale is a light-footed "allegro leggiero assai."

    Throughout the symphony the scoring is transparent and kept light, and the French touch is particularly evident in the deft and imaginative use of woodwinds. Above all it is the constant flow of pleasing melody that keeps this lightweight symphony fresh and viable.


    1. Introduction et allegro agitato
    2. Larghetto
    3. Scherzo. Allegro molto
    4. Finale. Adagio - allegro vivace

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2015 Tacet TACET 214CD
    2014 CPO 7778632
    2010 EMI Classics / EMI Classics / Warner Classics 50999906820
    2009 Timpani / Zebralution
    2006 Naxos 8557463
    2006 Timpani 1C1102
    2003 DG Deutsche Grammophon 000085602
    2002 Arion 68239
    1998 Philips 462 125-2PH
    1996 ASV CDDCA981
    Electrecord 173