Editors’ Notes The operas of Charles Gounod are sumptuous affairs, with ripe banks of rhythmic strings; soft, pillowy harmonies; and the fragrant (and distinctly French) melodic aura of doomed romance. Best known for the operatic retelling of tragedies such as Romeo and Juliet or Faust, Gounod's lilting phrases and arresting climaxes bring out the high drama in these familiar tales, lending them fresh piquancy. His most familiar melody is perhaps the slowly unfolding Ave Maria, a magic spell of unwinding beauty he cast over Bach's Prelude in C Major.

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