GOUNOD, CHARLES. (1818-1893). French composer best known for his operas Faust, Romeo et Juliette and Sapho. AMusQS. (“Ch. Gounod”). 1p. Oblong 12mo. N.p., N.d. Four measures from Faust and Marguerite’s Garden Scene in Faust, with Gounod’s handwritten lyrics “Laisse-moi, laisse-moi contempler ton visage” (“Let me, Let me gaze on your face”). Inscribed “á ma chère petite amie Jeanne Beneck.” In French.
Beautiful Autograph Quotation from Gounod’s “Faust”
Signed by Charles Gounod
Gounod’s early love of sacred music inspired him to pursue a religious vocation, but soon after entering a Carmelite monastery in 1847 to prepare for the priesthood, he left his studies and turned away from compositing church music to seek fame and fortune in opera. Sapho, his first opera, debuted in 1850, and nine years later Gounod secured a place in French music with his popular opera based on Goethe’s play Faust. Gounod’s professional success, however, was mitigated by an unpopular extramarital affair with an amateur singer, Georgina Weldon, begun in 1871. Two years later, Jules Barbier’s Jeanne d’Arc, with incidental music composed by Gounod, debuted at the Théâtre de la Gaîté. “The work was a failure, and it is recorded that, with the composer’s notorious English mistress sitting three boxes away from his wife, the most popular number was ‘Rentrez, Anglais’ [“Come in, English’]” (The New Grove Dictionary). Though Gounod continued to write operas, oratorios and masses, none of his later compositions rivaled Faust’s popularity.
Our quotation is from Act 3, at the point which Marguerite allows Faust to kiss her before sending him away only to recall him by a song sung from her window.
Penned within a printed green border on a small sheet; in fine condition.