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Autobiographical Reminiscences with Family Letters and Notes on Music   By: (1818-1893)

Autobiographical Reminiscences with Family Letters and Notes on Music by Charles Gounod

First Page:

CHARLES GOUNOD

[Illustration: Charles Gounod]

CHARLES GOUNOD

AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL REMINISCENCES

WITH FAMILY LETTERS AND

NOTES ON MUSIC

FROM THE FRENCH BY

THE HON. W. HELY HUTCHINSON

[Illustration: colophon]

LONDON

WILLIAM HEINEMANN 1896

[ All rights reserved ]

Printed by BALLANTYNE, HANSON & CO.

At the Ballantyne Press

CONTENTS

CHARLES GOUNOD

PAGE

I. CHILDHOOD 1

II. ITALY 54

III. GERMANY 110

IV. HOME AGAIN 127

LATER LETTERS OF CHARLES GOUNOD 173

BERLIOZ 195

M. CAMILLE SAINT SA√čNS AND HIS OPERA "HENRI VIII." 209

NATURE AND ART 225

THE ACADEMY OF FRANCE AT ROME 239

THE ARTIST AND MODERN SOCIETY 253

INTRODUCTION

The following pages contain the story of the most important events of my artistic life, of the mark left by them on my personal existence, of their influence on my career, and of the thoughts they have suggested to my mind.

I do not desire to make any capital out of whatever public interest may attach to my own person. But I believe the clear and simple narrative of an artist's life may often convey useful information, hidden under a word or fact of no apparent importance, but which tallies exactly with the humour or the need of some particular moment.

An everyday occurrence, a hastily spoken word, often holds its own opportunity.

Experience teaches; and that which has been useful and salutary to me may perchance serve others too.

The Author of his own Memoirs must perforce speak frequently, nay constantly, about himself. It has been my endeavour in this book to do so with absolute impartiality. I can lay claim to scrupulous exactness both in detailing facts and in reporting the remarks of others. I have given my candid opinion of my own work, but the fable tells us the owl misjudged her own offspring, and I may well be mistaken in mine.

Should Posterity deem me worth remembering at all, it will judge whether my estimate of myself is a correct one. I can trust Time to allot me, like every other man, my proper place, or to cast me down if I have been unduly exalted heretofore.

My story bears witness to my love and veneration for the being who bestows more love than any other earthly creature my mother! Maternity is the most perfect reflection of the great Providence; the purest, warmest ray He casts on earthly life; its inexhaustible solicitude is the direct effluence of God's eternal care for His own creatures.

If I have worked any good, by word or deed, during my life, I owe it to my mother, and to her I give the praise. She nursed me, she brought me up, she formed me; not in her own image, alas! that would have been too fair. But the fault of what is lacking lies with me, and not with her.

She sleeps beneath a stone as simple as her blameless life had been. May this tribute from the son she loved so tenderly form a more imperishable crown than the wreaths of fading immortelles he laid upon her grave, and clothe her memory with a halo of reverence and respect he fain would have endure long after he himself is dead and gone.

CHARLES GOUNOD

I

CHILDHOOD

My mother, whose maiden name was Victoire Lemachois, was born at Rouen on the 4th of June 1780. Her father was a member of the French magistracy. Her mother, a Mdlle. Heuzey, was a lady of remarkable intelligence and marvellous artistic aptitude... Continue reading book >>




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