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Louis Théodore Gouvy
1819 - 1898
L.Th. Gouvy
Théodore Gouvy (02/07/1819 - 21/04/1898), a French composer who often visited Germany and worked during several years in Berlin. He was born in Goffontaine.
Source:Grove's dictionary of music and musicians
Composed in:1874
Musical form:mass
Text/libretto:Latin mass
In memory of:the composer's mother
Label(s):K617 046 / K617 085
The Requiem (opus 70) goes back to 1874, that is to say that is the precisely contemporary with the version of the requiem written by Verdi which Gouvy could not know, although both scores show some rare points of similarity. The mauscript of the reduction for song and piano is dated May 20th to June 30th, whereas the orchestra score is dated September 1st. like most of the works, of our author, the latter was written in the family house in Hombourg-Haut, not far from his place of birth, which was part of the Lorraine annexed to germany after 1871. In Paris Pasdeloup and Colonne both refused the new work and so did the Editor Richault (it was published later by Breitkopf in Leipzig). In desperation yhe composer decided to mount the work as his own expense. This is how the Lamoureux concerts gave a performance of them in the Herz Hall on 30 March 1876, under the direction of the Lamoureux's Conductor. Despite a warm welcome, the work was not repeated soon in Paris, but was performed twice in Cologne in the Gürzenich, then at the Saint-Pantaléon Church on 15 and 26 March 1880, under the direction of the composer himself. Paris repeated it in 1882, the same year as München-Gladbach did in Germany, but then it does not seem the Requiem was played anymore during the life of the composer. He had been eclipsed across the Rhine, by large oratorio's based on the Greek Tragedies on which most of his reputation was now resting. The present resurrection of the Requiem puts an end to more than a century of silence.
Lasting about one hour, Gouvy's Requiem requires some traditional forces: four soloists, one mixt four-voice chorus and an orchestra composed of doubled woodworks (yhe oboe sometimes taking the English horn), four horns, two trumpets, three trombones, one tuba, the kettle-drums and string instruments with an ad libitum organ. No other percussion instruments nor a harp.
The work is made up of seven long sections, the second, third and fourth of which (a good half of the total length) are devoted to the "Dies irae" sequence. As for the text, some curious omissions can be observed or rather elipses, leading to some formal disbalances, especially near the end. The "Introit" finishes with some "Kyrie" measures serving as coda (after the "Christe", the Kyrie is not even repeated!) After the "Agnus Dei", Gouvy gave up setting the "Lux Aeterna" to music independently, contenting himself with hinting at it as he did with the "Kyrie". In the same way, the "In Paradisum" and the "Libera Me Domine" are missing. This gives the work a conclusion which is , at the same time, both obscure and somewhat shortened.
Source:Harry Albreich
The Requiem was in response to his mother's death (1880) and is a large-scale, hour-long work, very expressive whose grandeur is touched by a deep religiosity.
French contributions to the genre of requiems from the later part of the 19th century include settings by L.T. Gouvy (1874) and Alfred Bruneau (composed: 1886, first performance: 1896), both large-scale and technically accomplished, but insufficiently characterful to have survived in the repertory.
Author:Steven Chang-Lin Yu