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César Auguste Franck

César Auguste Franck (1822-90)


Born in Liège, César Franck was a church musician for much of his life, acquiring a formidable reputation as an improviser at the organ. Unsurprisingly, a considerable proportion of his output is for this instrument, and some of his orchestral works - particularly his single Symphony, in D minor - show the influence of the organ in their instrumentation. Like Sergei Rachmaninov, he was blessed with unusually large hands, giving him a wide stretch at the keyboard and leading him to write piano parts that regularly feature intervals of a twelfth!

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Perhaps his most famous work of all is the short, simple song Panis angelicus, which has become popular among choirs and solo singers the world over, and which Franck incorporated into his Mass for Three Voices.


You can view Presto's hand-picked selection of favourite Franck recordings here.

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