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FRANCK, Cesar  (1822-1890)

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Franck, César (-Auguste-Jean-Guillaume-Hubert), greaBelgian composer and organist, brother of Joseph Franck b. Liege, Dec. 10, 1822; d. Paris, Nov. 8, 1890. He studie first at the Royal Cons. of Liege with Daussoigne and others at the age of 9 he won 1st prize for singing, and at 12 is prize for piano. As a child prodigy, he gave concerts in Belgium In 1835 his family moved to Paris, where he studied privatel’ with Anton Reicha; in 1837 he entered the Paris Cons., study ing with Zimmerman (piano), Benoist (organ), and Leborm (theory). A few months after his entrance examinations h( received a special award of “grand prix d’honneur’ for playin~ a fugue a third lower at sight; in 1838 he received the Is prize for piano; in 1839, a 2nd prize for counterpoint; in 1840 1st prize for fugue; and in 1841, 2nd prize for organ. In 184~ he was back in Belgium; in 1843 he returned to Paris, an settled there for the rest of his life. On March 17, 1843, h~ presented there a concert of his chamber music; on Jan. 4 1846, his 1st major work, the oratorio Ruth, was given at tht Paris Cons. On Feb. 22, 1848, in the midst of the Paris revolu tion, he married; in 1851 he became organist of the churcL of St.-Jean-St.-Francois; in 1853, maitre de chapelle and, ir 1858, organist at Ste.-Clotilde, which position he held until his death. In 1872 he succeeded his former teacher Benoisi as prof. of organ at the Paris Cons. Franck’s organ classes became the training school for a whole generation of FrencL composers; among his pupils were d’Indy, Chausson, Bréville, Bordes, Duparc, Ropartz, Pierné, Vidal, Chapuis, Vierne, and a host of others, who eventually formed a school of modern French instrumental music. Until the appearance of Franck in Paris, operatic art dominated the entire musical life of the nation, and the course of instruction at the Paris Cons. was influenced by this tendency. By his emphasis on organ music, based on the contrapuntal art of Bach, Franck swayed the new generation of French musicians toward the ideal of absolute music. The foundation of the famous Schola Cantorum by d’Indy, Bordes, and others in 1894 realized Franck’s teachings. After the death of dIndy in 1931, several members withdrew from the Schola Cantorum and organized the Ecole César Franck (1938).
Franck was not a prolific composer, but his creative powers rose rather than diminished with advancing age; his only sym. was completed when he was 66; his remarkable Violin Sonata was written at the age of 63; his String Quartet was composed in the last year of his life. Lucidity of contrapuntal design and fullness of harmony are the distinguishing traits of Franck’s music; in melodic writing he balanced the diatonic and chromatic elements in fine equilibrium. Although he did not pursue innovation for its own sake, he was not averse to using unorthodox procedures. The novelty of introducing an English horn into the score of his Sym. aroused some criticism among academic musicians of the time. Franck was quite alien to the Wagner-Liszt school of composition, which at-tracted many of his own pupils; the chromatic procedures Franck’s music derive from Bach rather than from Wagnt
Works:    operas: Le Valet de Ferme (1851-53); Hulv (1882-85; Monte Carlo, March 8,1894); GhisUle (unfinish& orchestration completed by d’Indy, Chausson, Bréville, Rou seau, and Coquard; 1st perf., Monte Carlo, March 30, 1896~ ORATORIOS: Ruth (1843-46; Paris, Jan. 4, 1846; rev. 187l~ La Tour de Babel (1865); Les Beatitudes (1869-79; Dijon, Jur15, 1891); Redemption (1st version, Paris, April 10, 1873; fin. version, Paris, March 15, 1875); Rebecca (Paris, March U. 1881; produced as a 1-act sacred opera at the Paris Opérii May 25, 1918). SYMPHONIC POEMs: Les Eohdes (Paris, Ma~ 13, 1877); Le Chasseur maudit (Paris, March 31, 1883); lie. Djinns (Paris, March 15,1885); Psyché(Paris, March 10, 1888 OTHER WORKS FOR ORCH.: Variations symphoniques for Pian~ and Orch. (Paris, May 1,1886); Sym. in D minor (Paris, Fel 17, 1889). CHAMBER: 4 piano trios (early works; 1841-42:
Andante quietoso for Piano and Violin (1843); Duo pour pian:
et violon concertants, on themes from Dalayracs Culistat~ (1844); Quintet in F minor for Piano and Strings (1879); Violii Sonata (1886); String Quartet (1889). oito~e: 6 pieces (Fantai sie; Grande pièce symphonique; Prelude, Fugue, et Vanatzons Pastorale; Prière; Finale); 3 pièces (Fan taisie; Cantabile Pzeci hdroique); Andantino; 3 chorales; an album of 44 Petttes pzeces an album of 55 pieces, entitled L’Organiste; etc. SACRED Mess~ solennelle (1858); Messe a 3 voix (1860); Panis angehcus foi Tenor, Organ, Harp, Cello, and Double Bass; offertones motets etc.; 16 songs, among them La Procession (also arranged foi Voice and Orch.). PIANO: 4 fantaisies; Prelude, Choral et Fugue Prelude, Aria et Final; 3 petits riens; Danse lente; etc