Born: 1822, Liège, Belgium
Died: 1890, Paris, France
“It little matters whether music sets out to awaken ideas about a given external subject, or limits its purpose to expressing a state of mind…; what is indispensable is that a work should be musical, and emotional as well.”
Though musically precocious, Franck never became the money-making prodigy his father desired. After moving out of his parents’ house, Franck supported himself by teaching and playing the organ. He became organist at the newly built church of St. Clotilde in 1858, and slowly acquired fame for his organ improvisations. Composition remained intermittent, however, and mostly focused on monumental, labor-intensive oratorios and operas, until a blossoming of creative energy in the late 1870s that continued until his death. This produced several symphonic poems, distinctive chamber music, important piano and organ pieces, and the Symphony in D minor, all displaying Franck’s characteristic tonal architecture, cyclical thematic transformations, and intensely chromatic harmony.
String Quartet (1889)
Juilliard String Quartet (Sony Classical)
Trois Chorals (organ, 1890)
Michael Murray (Telarc)