Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Hail César Franck
This review of mine, of R.J.Stove’s excellent new biography of the great 19th century composer César Franck, appears in The Spectator (Australia).
Neil Clark: Hail César
César Franck: His Life And Times
By R.J. Stove
Scarecrow Press Inc, $68.99, pp. 368
Described as ‘mediating between the tradition of the German instrumental music and French classicism’, César Franck was a composer, organist and pianist who produced some of the 19th century’s finest musical works. Yet despite the regard in which he was held by his peers (‘he writes very beautiful music very seriously’ was the verdict of one Ferenc Liszt) he remains, in the words of his Australian biographer — and fellow organist — R.J. Stove, ‘the most underestimated and misunderstood of the 19th century’s musical masters’.
Stove’s new life, the first English language biography of Franck to appear since the early 1970s, will hopefully put that right. In his opus we get plenty of clues as to why Belgium’s finest composer hasn’t always received the credit he deserves.
You can read the whole of the review here.