Benjamin Godard was a Romantic era French composer and violinist. He composed several operas, Jocelyn being his best known, and symphonies, chamber music, piano pieces, and hundreds of songs. He achieved enough acclaim during his lifetime to be made a Chevalier (Knight) of the Legion d’honneur in 1889. He was prolific, though the bigger the works, the more spread out his compositional abilities proved themselves to be; he was more skilled at the smaller pieces.
Godard, who has Jewish heritage, was naturally opposed to Richard Wagner’s anti-semitism, and therefore, his music. Godard’s romantic style aligned more with Felix Mendelssohn and Robert Schumann.
The Berceuse from the opera “Jocelyn” is performed here by Budapest Strings. It made its debut in 1888 in Brussels. The melody is rich, the cello sings, and to me, is the essence of romantic string playing.
Benjamin Louis Paul Godard was born August 18, 1849 in Paris, France, and died January 10, 1895 in Cannes.