Hyperion Records

Hymne à Sainte Cécile, S491
Gounod’s Hymne was not actually a vocal work; it was scored for solo violin, harps, drums and winds, or for violin, organ and piano, and the present writer is unaware of any performance this century of either of these extraordinary instrumentations (nor, for that matter, of the later version with the text of the ‘Ave verum’ added). Liszt’s transcription, promptly made, was also promptly forgotten, by Liszt himself, it would seem. Although marked up for the engraver, the manuscript (held in the Goethe-Schiller Archive in Weimar) remains unpublished, and a photocopy of it was the basis for the present recording. It is a beautiful work, distinguished by one of Gounod’s finest melodies, and its obscurity is quite unwarranted.

from notes by Leslie Howard © 1993

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