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War and the Franckistes

Duration:
1 hour
First broadcast:
Wednesday 26 February 2014

What did you do in the war, Papa? In today's programme Donald Macleod finds César Franck and his sons caught up in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870. The composer is now at the head of an adoring band of young composers - Franckistes - eager to learn from the master, even when the public at large was indifferent. In the midst of a siege, Franck volunteers to help keep Paris alive through deliveries of fuel and portions of chocolate. He is also be inspired to start work on his epic choral work, Les Beatitudes which, like most of his works, would endure a disastrous premiere! After the war, Franck's followers would establish the Société Nationale de Musique. As we'll discover, this was generally good news for the promotion of instrumental music. But as Franck's circle of young composers grew ever wider, a rift would start to appear between César and his wife Felicité, who grew increasingly resentful of their presence. Nevertheless, Franck managed to pen the one song by which he is best known to the world: Panis Angelicus. With his Trois Pièces written for organ, he would also impress audiences in the vast hall of the Trocadero Palace!

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