Gouvy, Louis Theodore


Prussian pianist and composer; born at Goffontame, near Saarbruck, Rhenish Prussia. Went to Paris in 1840 to study law, but on hearing a performance of one of Beethoven's symphonies, decided to change his course. For the next three years he studied composition under Elwart, then in Berlin, and later for over a year in Italy. In 1846 he returned to Paris, and the next year gave a concert at which his second symphony was played by the orchestra of the Theatre Italian. His compositions, principally orchestral and chamber-music, were performed frequently by various musical societies in Paris, especially the Ste. Cecile, and annually at the Conservatory students' society musicales. They were also very well received in Germany, and after teaching and composing in Paris for over forty years he removed to Oberhomburg. He was honored in Germany by a membership in the Berlin Academy, 1895, and was also made a Chevalier of The Legion of   Honor the next year. He died at Leipsic in 1898. His compositions include seven symphonies; two concert overtures; a cantata, Golgotha; a Stabat Mater; an opera, Der Cid, accepted at Dresden, but never produced. For solos, chorus, and orchestra, he has written a missa brevis; a requiem; dramatic scenas, CEdipus auf Kolonus, Iphigenie en Tauride, Aslega, Electra; two works, Frühlings Erwachen, and Polyxena, for soprano, male chorus and orchestra. His chamber-music includes an octet for wind-instruments, a sextet for flute and strings, a quintet for piano and strings, a serenade for strings, five string quartets, trios and sonatas, etc., for cello and piano, and violin and piano. A number of compositions for piano, songs and duets complete a list of over two hundred works.