Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 4.djvu/665

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GLOVER.
649
GODARD.

law. It is due to Stephen Glover to say, while considering his works in this connection, that little evidence of power to do better things appears therein. An agreeable feature in this older writer is the healthiness and cheerful spirit of his music. Sunshine, moonshine, and twilight—but especially sunshine—fairies, flowers, gipsies, and fishermen were the subjects Stephen Glover loved to treat; in conventional method and with superficial characterization, but correctly in the details of the simple forms and harmonies he affected.

Such colourless music obtained the favour of many English amateurs of the time. That the same class of performers forty years afterwards should neglect it entirely and demand a coarser, cleverer type of commonplace, serves to remind the musician that the modern drawing-room song, with its pent-up agony and morbid hues, will ere long be overtaken by its inevitable mortality.

[ L. M. M. ]

GNECCO, Francesco, according to Fétis, was born in 1769 at Genoa, became a pupil of Mariani, musical director of the Sistine Chapel and of the Cathedral of Savona, and died in 1810 at Milan. According to Regli and Paloschi, Gnecco was born in 1780, was a pupil of Cimarosa, and died in 1811 at Turin. Gnecco composed several operas, both serious and comic, of which two only, we believe, have ever been performed out of Italy, viz. 'Carolina e Filandro,' 1798, at the Italian Opera in the Salle Favart, Paris, Oct. 11, 1817 (Castil Blaze), and 'La Prova d'un opera seria,' opera buffa in 2 acts, libretto by the composer, produced at Milan 1805, and at the Salle Louvois, Paris, Sept. 4, 1806, with Signora Canavassi and Barilli. This last opera was a great success, and enjoyed considerable popularity. It was thrice revived in Paris, viz. in 1810, in 1831 with Malibran and Lablache; on Oct. 28, of the same year, with Pasta; and on Nov. 20 it was played with the first act of 'Tancredi' on the occasion of Malibran's last appearance in Paris. In 1834 it was reduced to one act. 'La Prova' was produced June 23, 1831, at the King's Theatre, with Pasta, Curioni, Lablache, and, thanks to the last-named singer, became popular. It was revived in one act July 3, 1854, with Lablache, Viardot-Garcia, Stigelli, and Ronconi, and was last produced on June 18 and 19, 1860, at Her Majesty's, for Ciampi, since which it has disappeared from the stage. A duet from it, 'Oh guardate che figura,' was highly popular in the concert-room when sung by Viardot and Tamburini, and on one occasion the former made it a vehicle for imitation of the latter's mannerisms, which the gentleman by no means took in good part. ('Musical Recollections,' Rev. J. E. Cox.)

[ A. C. ]

GODARD, Benjamin Louis Paul, born in Paris, Aug. 18, 1849, first studied the violin under Richard Hammer, and entered the Conservatoire in 1863, where he studied harmony under Reber: he competed twice for the Prix de Rome, but without success. He then left the institution and joined several societies for chamber music, in the capacity of viola-player, at the same time devoting himself to composition with an ardour and a fertility which time has only served to increase. He wrote numerous songs, of which several are most charming, a number of pieces for piano, some very pretty; he also orchestrated with much delicacy Schumann's 'Kinderscenen' (produced in this form at the Concerts du Châtelet in 1876), for at the beginning of his career he seemed to be specially inspired by this master both in the concentrated expression of his songs and in the elegant forms of his piano pieces. He next produced more fully developed compositions: two violin concertos, the second of which, entitled Concerto Romantique, was played at the Concerts Populaires by Mlle. M. Tayau in 1876, and repeated several times both by her and M. Paul Viardot; a trio for piano and strings; a string quartet and a piano concerto played by G. Lewita at the Concerts Populaires in 1878. In this year Benjamin Godard, bracketed with Th. Dubois, carried off the prize at the musical competition instituted by the municipality of Paris, and his prize composition 'Tasso' was performed with much success at the Concerts du Châtelet (Dec. 18, 22, and 29, 1878). This dramatic symphony, written on a poem by Grandmougin, both the words and music of which are inspired by the 'Damnation de Faust,' still remains Godard's chief work, and that upon which his growing reputation is most firmly founded. The composer here shows a real talent and a rare instinct for orchestration, though at times his rhythms are apt to become too bizarre and his employment of excessive sonority too frequent. He also possesses unusual feeling for the picturesque in music, and is able at will to strike the poetic note and to impart a vigorous dramatic accent. With all this we have to notice an inconsistent mixture of Italian forms and of totally opposite styles, which proves that the composer has not set before himself an ideal resulting from serious reflection. There is also a tendency to employ far too freely the whole strength of the orchestra, and an unfortunate habit of contenting himself with the first idea that occurs to him without duly considering it in order to enrich it in orchestration; and lastly—and this is the composer's chief fault—a too rapid productiveness and a too great leniency in judging his own works. Since the exaggerated success of this very interesting and promising work, M. Godard, intoxicated by praise, has only produced compositions the good qualities of which have often been obscured by too hasty workmanship. The most important are 'Scènes Poétiques' (Concerts du Châtelet, Nov. 30, 1879); a symphony (do. Dec. 26, 1880); 'Diane, poème dramatique' (Concerts Populaires, April 4, 1880); 'Symphonie-ballet' (do. Jan. 15, 1882); 'Ouverture dramatique' (do. Jan. 21, 1883); 'Symphonie Gothique' of no interest (do. Nov. 11, 1883); 'Symphonie Orientale,' five descriptive pieces on