After taking his degree in philosophy, he began to study music with the Bohemian composer Anton Reicha. Three years later his cantata Fernand won him the Prix de Rome for music, an award that entailed a three-year stay in Rome at the Villa Medici. In Italy Gounod devoted a considerable amount of his attention to the works of Giovanni da Palestrina, an Italian Renaissance composer. From Rome he proceeded to Vienna, where a mass and requiem , composed in Italy, were performed in and In he entered the seminary of Saint-Sulpice but in decided against taking holy orders.

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English Translation of the "Sanctus" Text

Cecilia Mass was his first major work. The review was published in Paris and raised expectations. The premiere was performed on St. In the Gloria, the prayer miserere nobis have mercy on us is intensified by an added Domine Jesu Lord Jesus. The mass has an instrumental offertory. In the Agnus Dei, the soloists sing between the three invocations the text "Domine, non sum dignus ut intres sub tectum meum, sed tantum dic verbo, et sanabitur anima mea" Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say a word and I shall be healed , sung once by the tenor, once by the soprano.


Sanctus (from St. Cecilia Mass)



Messe solennelle de Sainte-C├ęcile (Gounod, Charles)


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