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A true maestro

At Palazzetto Bru Zane, the universe of César Franck
by Davide Carbone

A key figure in the French post-romantic repertoire, the Belgian composer left a too little-known legacy to posterity, as well as a constellation of fervent disciples who exalted the stylistic and human qualities of a great teacher and sensitive artist.

César Franck was born in Liège, now Belgium, in 1822, in a very musical family. He studied at the local conservatory before moving to Paris, where he studies with Reicha, Zimmermann, Leborne, Berton, and Benoist. A highly-esteemed educator and professor of pipe organ at the conservatory, Franck co-founded the Société nationale de musique, which he chaired since 1866. His music stands out for the immediacy of harmonic formulae based on dissonance that colour the typical tension of late Romanticism. These Franckian chords are to be found throughout his oeuvre, from the melodies to organ pieces and symphony. Franck’s classes welcome an astounding number of talented young composers, who nicknamed him ‘papa Franck’. Some of his disciples have been d’Indy, Ropartz, Vierne, Chausson, Tournemire. To celebrate the 200 years of his birth and to make his musical universe available to the larger public, Palazzetto Bru Zane dedicated him a hefty concert programme that ranges from chamber music, to symphony, to mélodie, to opera.

Franck has been oftentimes portrayed as an austere organ player, divided between mystical devotion and an inflexible interest for complex instrumental music. Many of his pupils cultivated this image, too, as they highlighted Franck’s honesty, probity, and intellectual attitude towards composition. The goal was, arguably, to consecrate a French musical current that could rival the aesthetics of Wagner or Debussy. The filter didn’t paint the whole picture, though, as posterity has, for a long time, only considered a handful of pieces among the about one hundred Franck composed, and especially those pieces that easily present as self-standing and give the appearance of an effortless genesis: his Quintet for piano and strings, the Sonata for violin and piano, the String quartet all seem to have no ascendents nor descendants. The same applies to the Béatitudes and for the Symphony in B-, whose cycle-based composition is a model in and of itself. The Festival in Venice has a concert schedule that extends to May 27. One of the most important will be on April 9, when at the same time, a collector’s edition of Franck’s melodies will be published. Greek baritone Tassis Christoyannis and pianist Jeff Cohen will perform. On May 5, the Feminine side of the cello concert with Victor Julien-Laferrière and Théo Fouchenneret will have cello and piano sonatas by female composers Marie Jaëll, Nadia Boulanger, and Henriette Renié.

FESTIVAL

L’universo di César Franck (1822-1890)

from 9 April 2022
to 27 May 2022
DON'T MISS
Recollection

Although this aspect of the composer is often overlooked, César Franck devoted almost half of his opus numbers to the voice. C...

Saturday, 9 April 2022
at 17:00
Recollection

Although this aspect of the composer is often overlooked, César Franck devoted almost half of his opus numbers to the voice. C...

Saturday, 9 April 2022
at 17:00
Learning with Franck

A part of The World of César Franck programme, this is a concert co-produced by Accademia Teatro alla Scala and Palaz...

Thursday, 28 April 2022
at 19:30
Learning with Franck

A part of The World of César Franck programme, this is a concert co-produced by Accademia Teatro alla Scala and Palaz...

Thursday, 28 April 2022
at 19:30
The feminine side of the cello

The protagonist of this concert, part of The World of César Franck programme, is the cello – an instrument considered improp...

Thursday, 5 May 2022
at 19:30
The feminine side of the cello

The protagonist of this concert, part of The World of César Franck programme, is the cello – an instrument considered improp...

Thursday, 5 May 2022
at 19:30
The piano, king of instruments

César Franck is the protagonist of Palazzetto Bru Zane’s programme, coming after their seasonal programmes on Édouard Lalo ...

Tuesday, 17 May 2022
at 19:30
The piano, king of instruments

César Franck is the protagonist of Palazzetto Bru Zane’s programme, coming after their seasonal programmes on Édouard Lalo ...

Tuesday, 17 May 2022
at 19:30
The supreme model

Born in a Russian musical family, Maria and Nathalia Milstein grew up in an environment where making music together was an ever...

Friday, 27 May 2022
at 19:30
The supreme model

Born in a Russian musical family, Maria and Nathalia Milstein grew up in an environment where making music together was an ever...

Friday, 27 May 2022
at 19:30
Venezia News
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30121 Venezia
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Con il Patrocinio del Comune di Venezia
Autorizzazione del Tribunale di Venezia n. 1245 del 4/12/1996

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