Donald Macleod on how Franck received belated recognition from the French state for his services to music, before his premature death from an accident involving a horse-drawn bus.
Donald Macleod completes this week's look at the life and works of the Belgian composer, César Franck. In France, Franck was made a knight of the Legion of Honour for his services to the Paris Conservatoire, but it was in Belgium that he enjoyed some of his few successes. One of these was the premiere of his violin sonata, composed as a wedding present for his compatriot Ysaye, and first performed at the wedding breakfast! Further strain on his own marriage came with the composition of his erotically-charged symphonic poem, Psyché; Mme Franck 'mislayed' her tickets to the first performance. Franck was eventually struck down in the prime of life through the most banal of accidents, involving a horse-drawn bus, and he ended his days completing a final testament to his profound religious faith - his Three Chorales for organ.
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