Mors et Vita (includes Judex)
Charles Gounod

138

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The highest of Gounod's 2 pieces in the Ultimate Hall of Fame. This has featured in every chart apart from in 1997.

As a man who espoused fifteen minutes of Bible-reading every day, Gounod's thoughts were never far away from the next big brimstone-and-treacle epic that might have them cowering in the aisles. Mors et Vita ('death and life' it doesn't get any more broad brush) was premiered in Birmingham in 1885, and featured a judge, who sits on a throne, intoning his judgments. That judge (Judex) owns possibly the most beautiful music in the whole piece. It has certainly become a firm favourite with Classic FM listeners and the Judex tends to eclipse the rest of the work.