Benjamin Godard

Godard was born August 18, 1849, at Paris, and died at Cannes, January 10, 1895.

He studied at the Paris Conservatoire under Reber (harmony) and Vieuxtemps (violin).

He accompanied Vieuxtemps twice to Germany, and also devoted himself to chamber music.

He composed music with great facility, and, indeed, his work suffers at times from a lack of careful revision. Nevertheless he gradually obtained recognition.

In 1876 his concerto Romantique was performed at the Concerts Populaires, and other works of large dimensions were also performed at these concerts.

In 1878 Godard’s name was bracketed with that of Dubois, the present head of the Conservatoire in Paris, as winner in a musical competition instituted by the municipality of Paris. This composition, a dramatic symphony entitled Tasso, is perhaps his most important work.

His also composed other symphonic work, ballets, concertos, and overtures. As a composer of opera he was only moderately successful, the best known of his works being Jocelyn, from which the beautiful Berceuse has become so popular. Godard is probably best known as a writer of salon music, much of which has become extremely popular.

Among his piano pieces may be mentioned the second Mazurka, the second Valse, Au Matin, Postillon, En Courant, En Train and Les Hirondelles. Florian’s Song is also very popular in many arrangements.