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Godard, Benjamin (Louis Paul)

Godard, Benjamin (Louis Paul), French composer; b. Paris, Aug. 18, 1849; d. Cannes, Jan. 10, 1895. He took violin lessons with Richard Hammer and Vieutemps, and also was a composition student of Reber at the Paris Cons. (1863). He first gained wide notice as a composer with his sym. Le Tasse (1878), which won the Prix de la Ville de Paris. Although he continued to write major orch. works, he sought fame as a theater composer. However, his operas proved unsuccessful with only the Berceuse from Jocelyn (1888) remaining popular after his death. In 1887 he became prof. of the instrumental ensemble class at the Paris Cons. He was made a Chevalier of the Légion d’honneur in 1889.

Works

DRAMATIC Opera : Les Guelfes (1880-82; Rouen, Jan. 17, 1902); Pedro de Zalamea (Antwerp, Jan. 31, 1884); Jocelyn (Brussels, Feb. 25, 1888); Dante et Beatrice (Paris, May 13, 1890); La vivandiere (unfinished; orchestration completed by P. Vidal; Paris, April 1, 1895). ORCH.: 2 piano concertos (1870, 1899); Scenes poetiques (1879); Introduction and Allegro for Piano and Orch. (1881); 2 violin concertos: No. 1, Concerto romantique (1887) and No. 2 (1892). S y m s . : Le Tasse for Soloists, Chorus, and Orch. (1878); No. 1 (n.d.); No. 2 (1880); Symphonie gothique (1883); Symphonie orientate (1884); Symphonie descriptive (n.d.); Symphonie-ballet (1882). CHAMBER: 5 violin sonatas (1865, 1875, 1878, 1881, n.d.); 2 piano trios (1880, 1884); 3 string quartets (1883, 1884, 1893); Cello Sonata (1887). OTHER: Numerous solo piano pieces and over 100 songs.

Bibliography

M. Clerjot, B. G. (Paris, 1902); M. Clavie, B. G. (Paris, 1906).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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Godard, Benjamin (Louis Paul) (b Paris, 1849; d Cannes, 1895). Fr. composer and violinist. Cond. Concerts Modernes, Paris 1885–6. Prof. of instr. ens., Paris Cons., from 1887. Wrote 2 vn. concs., pf. conc., syms., and 8 operas (from which only the Berceuse for ten. from Jocelyn (1888) seems to have survived). Some of the instr. works are still played.