Benjamin Louis Paul Godard - Encyclopedia

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BENJAMIN LOUIS PAUL GODARD (1849-1895), French composer, was born in Paris, on the 18th of August 1849. He studied at the Conservatoire, and competed for the Prix de Rome without success in 1866 and 1867. He began by publishing a number of songs, many of which are charming, such as "Je ne veux pas d'autres choses," "Ninon," "Chanson de Florian," also a quantity of piano pieces, some chamber music, including several violin sonatas, a trio for piano and strings, a quartet for strings, a violin concerto and a second work of the same kind entitled "Concerto Romantique." Godard's chance arrived in the year 1878, when with his dramatic cantata, Le Tasse, he shared with M. Theodore Dubois the honour of winning the musical competition instituted by the city of Paris. From that time until his death Godard composed a surprisingly large number of works, including four operas, Pedro de Zalamea, produced at Antwerp in 1884; Jocelyn, given in Paris at the Theatre du Chateau d'Eau, in 1888; Dante, played at the Opera Comique two years later; and La Vivandiere, left unfinished and partly scored by another hand. This last work was heard at the Opera Comique in 1895, and has been played in England by the Carl Rosa Opera Company. His other works include the "Symphonie legendaire," "Symphonie gothique," "Diane" and various orchestral works. Godard's productivity was enormous, and his compositions are, for this reason only, decidedly unequal. He was at his best in works of smaller dimensions, and has left many exquisite songs. Among his more ambitious works the "Symphonic legendaire" may be singled out as being one of the most distinctive. He had a decided individuality, and his premature death at Cannes on the 10th of January 1895 was a loss to French art.

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