Gossec: Francois Joseph: 17 Jan 1734 – 16 Feb 1829

By | December 3, 2020


A coloured portrait of a middle aged Francois Joseph Gossec

Francois Gossec was fairly unknown outside of France. He was born in the Austrian Netherlands (now Belgium) to a farmer.

As a boy he learnt the violin and harpsichord and then became a choir boy in Antwerp at the age of seven.

Gossec helped shape French orchestral music.

Career & Works

In 1751 Gossec moved to Paris and was taken under the wing of Jean-Philippe Rameau. He succeeded him as director of a private orchestra of the wealthy amateur and patron of music La Pouplinière (or La Popelinière). 

The first of his thirty symphonies was performed in 1754. He experimented with French choral and orchestral music introducing both the horn and clarinet into the French orchestra.

He premiered his Requiem in 1760. This ninety minute composition made Gossec famous overnight.

In 1769 Gossec founded his own orchestra attracting many great musicians. In his final season as conductor in 1773 Gossec gave the first performance of a Haydn symphony in Paris.

As conductor of Prince de Condé’s he added operas to his repertoire, but his instrumental work was much more successful.

On the creation of the Paris Conservatoire in 1795 Gossec became a teacher and inspector until 1816.

Gossec’s ‘Gavotte’ remains known today due to its use by Warner Bros in many cartoons. Our Gavotte sheet music by Gossec.

You will recognise it from the You Tube video below:

Further Reading & Musical Downloads

On music-scores.com we currently have fifteen arrangements of Francois Gossec’s sheet music for you to try. Francois Gossec sheet music

For further information take a look at Wikipedia and Allmusic.

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