Donald Macleod on the turbulent background to Franck's celebrated piano quintet, rooted in his marital difficulties from appearing to fall in love with a glamorous female pupil.
Were they in love? Did anything happen? The rumour mills of musical Paris were never more active than when the whiskery César Franck appeared to pay inordinate attention to a glamorous female pupil, one Augusta Holmès. Donald Macleod continues his account of the life and times of the Belgian composer, looking at the turbulent background to his celebrated piano quintet. Now a professor of organ at the Paris Conservatoire, Franck continued to try his hand unsuccessfully at composing for the opera stage. With a plot deemed too violent for public performance, he salvaged some measure of self-respect by getting some of the music performed as a ballet - he even danced to some of it whilst in his nightshirt!