Charles Gounod

Petite Symphonie

            Popular acclaim in the arts is often a cruel mistress—those at the acme of public approbation, with the passage of time, can sink into “benign neglect.”  For example, during the first half of the 1930s, there were perhaps few Hollywood stars to equal Kay Francis.  She was the highest paid actor with Warner Brothers, making more than six times the salary of Bette Davis.  Today, who remembers her except those devotees of Turner Classic Movies?  And in a somewhat like situation, Charles Gounod.  Of course, he is the composer of Faust, perhaps the most performed opera of the nineteenth century, and the ubiquitous Funeral March for a Marionette.   But for all his great acclaim in France during the middle of the century, in this country one doesn’t hear that much