Charles Gounod owes his reputation primarily to his operas but church music occupies a significant position in his creative output. The "Missae breves," short masses for a cappella choir or with organ accompaniment comprise an important part within this category. The present Deuxième Messe pour les sociétés chorales for four-voice men’s choir is dedicated to the Association of Choral Societies of Paris and the Departement of the Seine and was first performed in 1862. The high level of quality of this work is based, not least, on the experiences which Gounod gathered in his compositions for large choir as Director of the Parisian "Orphéons," a worker’s singing society. In the first edition the accompanying organ part was designated as ad libitum, but it bridges the gaps in the musical fabric.
- Charles Gounod Personal details