German Audite label has been a friend to the works of Franck,
father and son. This has nothing to do with César. We are
talking here about Eduard and Richard, father and son.
Audite’s commitment extends to four CDs of the father’s
music and one of the son’s (see below). Eduard’s music
shattered no shibboleths but it was intensely tuneful in
manner of Mendelssohn – perhaps with the occasional zest
from Schumann and the Elysian voice of Beethoven heard
intermittently. Richard Franck is also a romantic-conservative – at
least he is judging by these works. He seems to have had
no truck with the expressionists or the first stirrings
of dissonance. For him the Grail lay with Schubert and
Brahms with a modicum of Schumann.
have given us one CD of Richard’s chamber music (92.522
- see review
). It is reviewed on this site by the conductor
of the present Sterling
release. Bo Hyttner’s Sterling label now allow us to hear,
in superbly polished and exuberant performances, a cross-section
of Richard’s orchestral works. To date it’s unique though
there is certainly plenty of material for a second and
even a third CD.
no symphony or concerto here but the Olympian symphonic
manner is alive in the opp. 21 and 31 works. The Symphonische
has the mien of the first
movement of a symphony. It veers between the harp-decorated himmlische
of Schubert’s Great
C major and Brahms’ Fourth.
It’s a much better than capable piece of work – and is
only let down by a surrender to the obligatory Teutonic
fugal episode at 6.32. The orchestra appear rapt and at
the close the brass benches deliver a romping aureate roar
which gladdens the heart.
There are two Serenades
The one for violin is placidly Beethovenian in the manner
of the two Romances
. The cello one is again pacific
in its humour and the solo line foreshadows the main melody
in Korngold’s Cello Concerto. The four movement Suite
charming – toasty warm, in fact with its Griegian cool
flute in the Präludium
and a wheezy Magyar-inflected Marsch
- Amor und Psyche
lives up to its name. It lacks the
sensuality of César Franck’s Psyché
but it is sweetly
intoned with Bruch taking a handsome bow. The cello acts
as a sort of ‘precentor’ at the start. The concert overture
could hardly have a more romantic title but do not expect
anything like Rachmaninov. Franck’s pantone admits of melody
with undulant unjagged contours but the language is firmly
locked between the poles of late Schubert and late Brahms.
It’s all very pleasant, at times strikingly beautiful and
not at all folksy.
plenty more to record including a Symphony in D minor from
1905 (manuscript), three piano concertos (1880-1907), a
Prelude to a romantic play (1926) and a 1906 Violin Concerto.
All in due time!
is just that undercurrent of complacency in this music
which some might condemn as reactionary. It is there but
is not at all damaging. Only once does the mask slip – and
that is when the plaguey and irritating fugue in the Fantasie
in an appearance. Otherwise serenely-shaped Germanic romance.
Bring it on.
Reviews of Audite
releases of Eduard Franck
quartet, piano quintet