César Franck

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Synopsis[edit]

Born in Liège, Belgium, December 10, 1822; died in Paris, November 8, 1890.

The Belgian-born French composer and organist César Franck received an excellent music education. He studied at the Royal Conservatory of Liège with Daussoigne, then moved to Paris in 1835 and studied with Anton Reicha. In 1837 Franck entered the Paris Conservatory studying piano with Zimmerman and organ with Benoist. After his schooling, Franck chose to settle in Paris. He was made organist of St. Jean­St. François in 1853, and in 1858 he became organist of Saint Clothilde, a post he held until his death. He succeeded his teacher, Benoist, at the Paris Conservatory in 1872, teaching such illustrious students as Vincent d'Indy, Duparc, Chapuis, and Louis Vierne.

At this time France's musical front was torn between intense nationalism and a love for the romanticism of the Germans. Franck sought to bridge that gap, unlocking a new era in French organ music. He based his counterpoint on that of Bach, always striving for the ideal of Absolute Music. His melodies are generally small in range, but are accompanied by thick harmonies. Many of his pieces evolved from improvisations on the organ at St. Clothilde, yet they are clearly form-oriented and beautifully poetic. These characteristics pertain particularly to his Three Chorales. These works, each of which includes a chorale-like section, are mainstays in the repertoire of modern organists.

Points of Interest:

  • Franck received the "grand prix d'honneur" in his college days by transposing a fugue a third lower on sight.
  • Franck was hit by a horse-omnibus in 1890, from which he never fully recovered. He died from pleurisy later that year.

For details, see the as listed in Wikipedia article?.

List of Organ Works[edit]

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Background and General Perspectives on Performing These Organ Works[edit]

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Registration and Organs[edit]

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Fingering and Pedaling[edit]

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Articulation and Phrasing[edit]

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Ornamentation[edit]

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Tempo and Meter[edit]

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Scores and Editions[edit]

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Recordings[edit]

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Free Online[edit]

C. Franck: Chorale no. 3 in A minor, performed by Marie-Claire Alain

C. Franck: Prelude, fugue et variation, performed by Marie-Claire Alain

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Other Resources[edit]

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Notes[edit]

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