It may seem a bit odd to have listened to and talked about the music of Henri Duparc and Vincent D’Indy before that of their teacher, César Franck. But Franck (as composer as distinct from performer) was a late developer who wrote most of his best known music during the last years of his life: Le Chasseur Maudit (The Accursed Huntsman) in 1883, the Violin Sonata in 1886 and his one symphony in 1888; he died in 1890.
Pater seraphicus? Well, it seems he was a devout, other-worldly man; surviving untouched and little affected by the political infighting and backbiting that apparently typified the atmosphere at the Conservatoire. To be called a Pater seraphicus can be derogatory (a holy fool) but the nickname, given to Franck by his adoring pupils, was in this case intended as a sincere compliment.
Ernest Chausson was one of those students. He, too, wrote just one symphony but is perhaps best known for the song cycle Poème de l’Amour et de la Mer (Poem of Love and the Sea).
Franck: Symphony in d
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Chausson: Poème de l’Amour et de la Mer
[Spotify search terms: chausson norman jordan monte-carlo]
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