César Franck was born in Liége which is now part of Belgium. He is famous for his Romantic compositions.
Despite his talent it was commented that he didn’t possess the social skills to support a concert career.
Education & Career
Franck displayed musical talent at an early age, and was accepted at the Liége Conservatory at the age of eight. At twelve his father took him on tour and then to Paris where he was taught by Anton Reicha then a professor at the Paris Conservatoire.
By the time he was fourteen he had entered the Paris Conservatoire along with his younger brother. Due to not being French his father had to gain French citizenship in order for his sons to be accepted. Franck won many prizes and whilst aiming towards the Prix de Rome he voluntarily left. It is thought that this was his father’s doing so that he could earn much needed money from performing concerts and teaching. Franck performed in his own showy style gaining popularity, however after his father had a disagreement with the press they returned to Belgium.
In his twenties Franck gravitated towards the piano and his work took on a more serious style. He produced the cantata ‘Ruth’ which the critics did not react favourably to and Franck withdrew from the public limelight.
He married in 1848 after walking out on his father who disapproved of his wife. Franck then settled for a quieter life and he became an organist and teacher.
In 1872 he was appointed to the post of organist teacher at the Paris Conservatoire. He was very popular with the students and earned the name “Father Franck”, however his individual style of teaching and popularity with students upset relations with the other professors.
In the late eighteen seventies Franck began composing again and in 1879 started producing his best works including his Symphony in D Minor, Piano Quintet in F Minor , Variations symphoniques, Sonata in A Major for Violin and Piano and String Quartet in D Major.
Illness & Death
In 1890 Franck’s after a head injury caused by collision with a horse drawn trolley his journey of ill health began and his mobility became affected. As a result of this he had to withdraw from his position at the Paris Conservatoire. Then a cold turned to pleurisy and he deteriorated and sadly died aged sixty seven.