Sheet music

Musical contribution - July 2016

bladmuziek met potlood

Meditation religieuse (Charles Gounod) (1818-1983)

French composer Charles Gounod was born in Paris as the son of artists. He received his first music lessons from his mother. Later he studied in Rome among other places, and worked in London for five years. He returned to Paris and was hired as the organist and choir director at the Missions Etrangères church. He considered becoming a priest, but the attraction of music won in the end. The list of his compositions is impressive.

We actually know very little about the how and why of our Meditation religieuse. Officially it was written for flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, French horn, trumpets, harp and violin solo. In the end, this piece gained fame thanks to an arrangement by Franz Liszt for piano solo.

And this month for organ. After a short introduction of 6 bars, in which we close 1 or more registers in alternate bars, a wonderful melody follows in bar 7. The accompaniment, a few stationary chords, may seem a little static. Particularly if you have heard the orchestra or piano version a few times. A minimum of movement in the harmonies can do miracles.

I can imagine the resulting stop in all the colors of the rainbow. In this way, a principal 8’ can create serenity. Other options are soft reeding or a combination of 8’, (4’) 3’.

Bars 17, 19 and 21-24 need a little extra attention. As do 63-71. It’s possible with the right fingering.

Musical regards,

André van Vliet