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Part of a projected ‘Portrait’ series devoted to overlooked composers, this lovingly compiled collector’s volume is as much a hardback book of essays as a package of recordings.

Gouvy (1819-1898), a Paris-trained composer of independent means, came from Lorraine at a turbulent period of political history, when it was torn between France and Germany: after his death he was claimed by neither.

The musical idiom, somewhere between Mendelssohn and Adolphe Adam, finds expression in a tasteful and tuneful Sinfonietta, a fragrant cantata (La Religieuse), a long-winded Jeanne d’Arc overture, two elegant string quartets, a piano trio and some sweet piano serenades – all given polished performances by Francophone artists.

Théodore Gouvy

Symphonic, choral and chamber works

Various artists

(Palazzetto Bru Zane/Ediciones Singulares) 3 CDs

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