- Symphony No. 3 in C major (fragment)
- Symphony No. 2 in E flat major
- Symphony No. 1 in D major
Between Hector Berlioz and César Franck, there were few French symphonists in the mid-19th century, and most of their small output tended toward imitation of academic models, instead of taking more innovative directions. Charles Gounod's two completed symphonies are representative of that lull in symphonic development, and it is unsurprising to find that they were both composed in 1855, the same year Gounod's student, Georges Bizet, composed his "Symphony in C major," which sounds remarkably close to his teacher's "Symphony No. 1 in D major." Both works owe an obvious debt to Mozart, by way of Mendelssohn, as does Gounod's "Symphony No. 2 in E flat major," which, despite some bolder touches that are reminiscent of Beethoven, stays securely in the Classical mold. The fragments of a "Symphony No. 3 in C major," possibly composed in 1890-1892, show an altogether different character, and if Gounod had completed this work, it would have been a more openly Romantic symphony with the influence of Schubert's lyricism plainly evident. Oleg Caetani leads the Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana in these recordings for CPO, and the engaging performances do justice to these neglected works, giving them a warm feeling that compensates for their technical facility and blandness.