Gounod: The complete works for pedal piano & orchestra
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After a brassy introduction, a condensed synthesis of the anthem, the piano states its two sections, then repeats them with the orchestra enriched by virtuoso pedal playing. A second exposition follows the same principle of contrast of colour and texture, but now it is the brass, not the piano, that alternates with the full orchestra while the soloist presents a countermelody in semiquavers, sometimes on the pedal-board and sometimes on the keyboard.
The development introduces more numerous modulations. It is based on a broken four-note motif ‘à la Bach’ that eventually takes on the form of a fugal subject. The climax comes with a varied restatement of the hymn by the entire orchestra, supported by piano arpeggios and brightened by the glittering sound of the triangle. The conclusion, though deploying all the pomp called for by the context, is none the less coherent for that.
from notes by Gérard Condé © 2013
English: Charles Johnston