Petite Symphonie (arr Fennell)
This work bears the designation Opus 90.
Year: 1885 / 1985
Duration: c. 19:00
Difficulty: IV (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Chamber Orchestra
Publisher: Ludwig Masters
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $55.00 | Score Only (print) - $15.00
1. Adagio, Allegro - 5:25
2. Andante Cantabile – 4:50
3. Scherzo: Allegro Moderato – 3:50
4. Finale: Allegretto – 4:40
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II
Horn in F I-II
Contrabass Clarinet (or Double Bass or Contrabassoon)
None discovered thus far.
Petite symphonie pour neuf instruments à vent, or the "Little Symphony for Winds," was composed in 1885. Gounod's friend, and flute professor at the Paris Conservatiore, Paul Taffanel, commissioned him to write a chamber piece for winds. Its instrumentation of a wind octet, with an added flute part in honor of Taffanel, is modeled after Mozart’s wind serenades.
This complete miniature symphony is elegant, delicate, and sweet. The first movement uses a slow introduction, like that of Haydn, and an Allegretto in sonata form. The second movement features the added flute part. The scherzo that follows is based on a hunting theme, with a lively finale in the fourth movement to end the symphony.
- Notes from The Philharmonic Winds
Like many French instrumental works of the late Romantic era, Petite Symphonie is anti-Wagnerian in its simplicity and its conservative form. In four movements, the work follows the form of a standard symphony. Themes are regular in structure, follow traditional harmonic expectations, and contrast in character. This work is playable by fine high school and collegiate musicians, although younger groups may opt to perform select movements. This is an excellent piece for teaching style and interpretation. As solos are passed around the group, players must listen across the ensemble to perform in a stylistically cohesive manner.
- Notes from Great Music for Wind Band
Though Gounod wrote little instrumental music, the two symphonies of 1855, the Petite Symphonie of 1885, and a handful of late string quartets are all skillfully wrought essays in traditional forms, graceful and unpretentious. We can be grateful to the flutist Paul Taffanel, who commissioned the Petite Symphonie for a Paris concert series devoted to wind chamber music. Gounod took the Mozartian wind octet consisting of pairs of clarinets, oboes, horns, and bassoons and added a single prominently featured flute to the mix. With an overall character of elegant conversation, the work features a Haydnesque slow introduction to a lively allegro, and a slow movement like an operatic aria for flute over sonorous winds. In the Scherzo and Finale, the musical ideas are beguiling both in their charm and in the manner of their distribution amongst the players.
- Program Note by Ron Drummond (Northwest Sinfonietta)
None discovered thus far.
To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project
- United States Marine Band (Washington, D.C.) - 8 July 2020
- University of Utah (Salt Lake City) Wind Ensemble (Leslie Sampson) – 4 March 2020
- University of Southern California (Los Angeles) Thornton Wind Ensemble (H. Robert Reynolds, conductor) – 1 November 2019
- Southern Oregon University (Ashland) Wind Ensemble (Cynthia Hutton, conductor) – 6 June 2019
- State University of New York, Potsdam, Crane Wind Ensemble (Brian K. Doyle, conductor) – 15 February 2019
- Golden Gate Park Band (San Francisco, Calif.) (Robert Calonico, conductor) - 15 July 2018
- Merion Concert Band (Penn.) - 12 February 2012
Works for Winds by this Composer
- Ah! Je Veux Vivre from "Romeo and Juliet" (tr. Odom) (1867)
- Ballet Music from "Faust"
- Festive Dance from "Faust" (arr. Glover) (1859/2003)
- Funeral March of a Marionette (arr. Squires) (1872/2001)
- Funeral March of a Marionette (transposed Brackett) (1872/2004)
- La Reine de Saba (1862)
- Petite Symphonie (1885)
- Petite Symphonie (arr. Fennell) (1885/1985)
- Gounod, C.; Fennell, F. (1985). Petite symphonie: Opus 90/1885 [score]. Ludwig Music Co.: Cleveland, Ohio.
- Nicholson, Chad. (2009). Great Music for Wind Band: A Guide to the Top 100 Works in Grades IV, V, VI. Galesville, MD: Meredith Music Publications. pp 40-41.