Gounod's Solemn Mass was first heard in its entirety on November 22, 1855 at the Church of St Eustache in Paris. It was the custom to celebrate the feast of St. Cecilia (Nov 22), the patron Saint of music, with the production of new compositions. Gounod dedicated the Mass the memory of his father-in-law, a Professor of Music at the Conservatory in Paris. Gounod directed the chorus in that Paris performance. The French journal (Le Journal des Debats) later that year wrote of the Mass and its composer: " Gounod has plentitude, fecundity, largeness, grace, nobility,
charm. He has the sense of liturgic things ; and I shall say more, he is convinced; he believes! .... The Sanctus yields in nothing to the other
beautiful parts of the work. The Agnus Dei in the matter of execution and skill is excellent."
The two movements from the Mass available here are the famous "Sanctus" and the equally beautiful "Agnus Dei". Both accessible to the average SATB choir. The current edition has been edited for SATB choir (no divisi) and a scored organ part.
Note: To view (and/or print) the first couple pages of each of the two movements, Click "View Score" above. Likewise, click "Listen" to open an
MP3 file the includes the first 2 minutes of each of the movements.