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The French Bach cult, which began in the early 19th century, reached an initial highpoint around 1850. Charles Gounod, still largely unknown at the time, also studied Bach’s works intensively – his chorales, motets, and the preludes and fugues of the 48. He is said to have improvised his expressive, cantabile melody over the famous broken chords of Bach’s C-major Prelude BWV 846 from the 48 at a private performance in 1852. This arrangement would later became world famous when underlaid with the text of the Ave Maria. Several instrumental versions of it were initially published in 1853, including one for solo piano by Gounod himself that is presented here for the first time as an Urtext edition.

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