"A Frankly Franck Sampler"
MUSIC: Franck: excerpt from Symphonic Variations performed by pianist François-Joël Thiollier with the Arnhem Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Roberto Benzi [Naxos 8.553472, track 1] [under the following]
Hello and welcome to Compact Discoveries. I’m your guide, Fred Flaxman. Stay with me for the next hour and I’ll treat you to “A Frankly Franck Sampler” -- that is to say my picks for the very best music by the Belgian/French composer César Franck.
We’ll listen to the complete Symphonic Variations, which you here in the background, followed by the fourth movement of Franck’s Violin Sonata in A Major, followed by “Psyché et Éros” from Psyché. We’ll conclude with the first movement from Franck’s fantastic, powerful, one and only symphony, the Symphony in D Minor.
My hope is that, if any of these pieces are compact discoveries for
you, you’ll add the complete works to your classical music collection
so that you can enjoy them over and over for the years to come, as I
have done for the many years since I discovered these marvelous works.
MUSIC: fades out
But let’s start with a few words about the composer.
César Franck was born in Liège, Belgium, to a father from the German-Belgian border and a German mother. His father wanted him to become a concert pianist, and he studied at the music conservatory in Liège before going to the Paris Conservatoire in 1838. He returned to Belgium in 1842, but returned to Paris two years later and lived there for the rest of his life. His decision to give up a career as a virtuoso combined with his choice of a wife led to strained relations with his father.
During his first years in Paris, Franck made his living by teaching, both privately and institutionally. He also held various posts as organist. In 1858, he became organist at the newly-consecrated Saint Clotilde Basilica, where he remained until his death. From 1872 until his death he was also professor of organ at the Paris Conservatory. His pupils included Vincent d'Indy and Ernest Chausson.
In 1890, Franck was involved in a serious traffic accident, and died as a result of complications from the accident. He was buried in the Montparnasse Cemetery in Paris.
Franck’s Symphonic Variations for Piano and Orchestra was written in 1885. It is one of his most famous compositions and, like his other great pieces, was created in his later years. We’ll hear it now as performed by pianist François-Joël Thiollier with the Arnhem Philharmonic Orchestra of the Netherlands conducted by Roberto Benzi.
MUSIC: Franck: Symphonic Variations performed by the Arnhem Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Roberto Benzi [Naxos 8.553472, track 1] [14:53]
César Franck’s Symphonic Variations for Piano and Orchestra. The pianist was François-Joël Thiollier. The Arnhem Philharmonic Orchestra was conducted by Roberto Benzi.
Since the Symphonic Variations only took 15 minutes to play, I was able to present the piece in its entirety. The same is not true for the other works I’ll present this hour, which is why I call this program “A Frankly Franck Sampler.” My hope is that you’ll enjoy the samples so much, you’ll want to add the full pieces to your collection.
For example, up next is the fourth movement of Franck’s Violin Sonata in A Major. This is one of my very favorite chamber music pieces. The entire work is gorgeous from beginning to end, but we only have time for the end as performed by the Armenian brother and sister team of Sergey and Lusine Khachatryan. Sergey is the violinist; Lusine is the pianist on this Naïve compact disc from France.
MUSIC: Franck: Violin Sonata in A Major: Fourth Movement: Allegro Poco Mosso performed by Sergey Khachatryan, violin, and Lusine Khachatryan, piano [Naïve V5122, track 4] [6:40]
The fourth movement of Franck’s Violin Sonata in A Major. Sergey Khachatryan was the violinist; Lusine Khachatryan was the pianist on this Naïve compact disc.
You are listening to “A Frankly Franck Sampler” on this hour of Compact Discoveries. I’m your guide, Fred Flaxman.
[optional one-minute break not included in total timing of the program]
Program notes writer Julian Haylock calls César Franck’s Psyché
“Franck’s most unaccountably neglected score.” The work began life as a
musical retelling of the tale of Psyché’s love for Eros from the
Ancient Greek original. Franck’s initial vision was of a symphony for
chorus and orchestra. It was this 50-minute version that premiered in
1888 at the Société Nationale de Musique.
If you missed any of this hour or would like to hear it again, go to
www.compactdiscoveries.com on the internet where you’ll find links to
stream most Compact Discoveries programs on demand without charge. Look for program number 157. At the web site you’ll also find scripts for every Compact Discoveries
program, including this one, with complete information on every
recording I use. You’ll find a link there to help you purchase
classical compact discs, and there are other features there as well,
including my lists of recommended orchestral music, concert DVDs, and
CDs and DVDs of classics for kids.
Program Ends at 58:00
|©2009 Compact Discoveries|