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Benjamin Godard Program Notes and Sheet Music

Benjamin Godard (18 August 1849 – 10 January 1895) was a French Romantic-era composer of Jewish extraction, best known for his opera Jocelyn. Godard composed eight operas, five symphonies, two piano and two violin concertos, string quartets, sonatas for violin and piano, piano pieces and etudes, and more than a hundred songs. He died at the age of 45 in Cannes (Alpes-Maritimes) of tuberculosis and was buried in the family tomb in Taverny in the French department of Val-d'Oise.

Godard was born in Paris in 1849. He entered the Conservatoire de Paris in 1863 where he studied under Henri Vieuxtemps (violin) and Napoléon Henri Reber (harmony) and accompanied Vieuxtemps twice to Germany. In 1876, his Concerto romantique was performed at the Concerts Populaires, and other of his large works were also performed at these concerts. In 1878, Godard was the co-winner of the Prix de la Ville de Paris. His winning composition, a dramatic symphony entitled Le Tasso, remains one of his most admired works. From that time until his death Godard wrote a large number of compositions.

Godard's music is characterized by its lyricism, melodic beauty, and use of color. He was a master of orchestration, and his music is often praised for its rich and evocative sound. Godard was also a gifted pianist, and his piano music is some of the most beautiful and expressive of the Romantic period.

Godard's music was popular during his lifetime, but it fell out of favor in the early 20th century. However, there has been a revival of interest in his music in recent years, and his operas and orchestral works are now performed more often.

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