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War and the Franckistes

Donald Macleod discusses how Franck and his sons were caught up in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, plus the 'Franckistes', a devoted band of followers in Paris.

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!

1 hour

Music Played

  • César Franck

    Les Beatitudes - oratorio M.53

    Conductor: Armin Jordan. Performer: David Rendall. Performer: François Loup. Performer: Marcel Vanaud. Performer: French Radio Chorus. Performer: French Radio New Philharmonic Orchestra.
    • ERATO.
    • 3984-24233-2.
  • César Franck

    Passez, passez toujours M.82

    Performer: Francesca Scaini. Performer: Mattia Ometto.
    • Brilliant Classics.
    • 94457.
  • César Franck

    Panis angelicus, orch. Renee Challan from Mass, M.61

    Conductor: Eric Ericson. Performer: Barbara Hendricks. Performer: Stockholm Chamber Orchestra.
    • EMI.
    • CDC 7-54098-2.
  • César Franck

    Les Eolides - symphonic poem M.43

    Conductor: Yan Pascal Tortelier. Performer: BBC Philharmonic.
    • CHANDOS.
    • CHAN-9875.
  • César Franck

    3 Pieces pour grand orgue, no.2; Cantabile in B major & no.3; Piece heroique in B minor

    Performer: Marie‐Claire Alain.
    • ERATO.
    • 0630-12706-2.

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