LUX PRIMA (Gounod)

Composer: Charles F. Gounod

Charles F. Gounod (b. Paris, France, 1818; d. St. Cloud, France, 1893) was taught initially by his pianist mother. Later he studied at the Paris Conservatory, won the "Grand Prix de Rome" in 1839, and continued his musical training in Vienna, Berlin, and Leipzig. Though probably most famous for his opera Faust (1859) and other instrumental music (including his Meditation sur le Prelude de Bach, to which someone added the Ave Maria text for soprano solo), Gounod also composed church music-four Masses, three Requiems, and a Magnificat. His smaller works for church use were published as Chants Sacres. When he lived in England (1870-1875), Gounod became familiar with British cathedral music and served as conductor of what later became the Royal… Go to person page >

Tune Information

Title: LUX PRIMA (Gounod)
Composer: Charles F. Gounod (1872)
Incipit: 11132 17153 33543
Key: F Major or modal
Copyright: Public Domain


French romanticist composer Charles F. Gounod (PHH 165) wrote LUX PRIMA, which means "first light" in Latin. When the Franco-Prussian War broke out in 1870, Gounod left his native Paris and settled in England for five years. This sturdy tune was published in the Scottish Hymnary in 1872.

It uses several melodic sequences and builds to a climax in its last line. Sing in parts throughout with moderate to strong accompaniment. RATISBON, the suggested alternate tune, is found with this text in many other hymnals, but its isorhythmic (all equal rhythms) shape doesn't fit this text as well as Gounod's livelier LUX PRIMA.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook, 1988


Organ Solo

  • I'll Praise My Maker: Joyous Hymns of Exaltation for Organ
    Composer/Editors James Southbridge; Rex Koury
    Published By: Lorenz Publishing Company (2009) pp. 34
  • Celebration: Seven Hymn Settings for Organ
    Composer/Editor Emma Lou Diemer
    Published By: Augsburg Publishing House (1975) pp. 20


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