Petite Symphonie (arr Fennell)

From Wind Repertory Project
Charles Gounod

Charles Gounod (ed. Frederick Fennell)

This work bears the designation Opus 90.

General Info

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 - 5:40
2. Andante Cantabile – 4:55
3. Scherzo: Allegro Moderato – 4:15
4. Finale: Allegretto – 5:00


Full Score
Oboe I-II
Bassoon I-II
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II
Horn in F I-II
Contrabass Clarinet (or Double Bass or Contrabassoon)


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

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)


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Baylor University (Waco, Tx.) Wind Ensemble (Craig Adams, conductor) - 27 February 2024
  • University of Northern Colorado (Greeley) Chamber Winds (Wesley J. Broadnax, conductor) - 25 March 2021
  • Illinois State University (Normal) Symphonic Winds (Lauren Bobarsky, conductor) - 26 February 2021
  • United States Coast Guard Band (New London, Conn.) (Jeffrey A. Spenner, conductor) - 24 January 2021
  • Sacramento (Calif.) State University Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Matthew Morse, conductor) – 2 December 2020
  • Southern Methodist University (Dallas, Tx.) Meadows Wind Ensemble (Jack Delaney, conductor) - 13 November 2020
  • North Dakota State University (Fargo) Wind Symphony (Wayne Olfert, conductor) - 19 October 2020
  • University of Kentucky (Lexington) Symphony Band (George Boulden, conductor) - 25 September 2020
  • 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
  • Texas State University (San Marcos) Wind Ensemble (Rodney C. Schueller, conductor) – 1 March 2008 (CBDNA 2008 Southwestern Division Conference, Kansas City, Mo.)

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

All Wind Works