César Franck: Pater Seraphicus of the French Mélodie
Regan, Joseph Cole
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The musical world into which César Franck found himself thrust as a thirteen-year old concert pianist valued showy technical displays above artistic authenticity. César Franck was unable to please the French public and was a failed prodigy by his twenty-third year. This dissertation explores the effect this early pressure to please had on Franck’s performing career, the music he composed, and the way he taught his own students. Franck’s compositional style merged elements of classical form typical of Mozart and Beethoven with the new tonal language pioneered by Liszt and Wagner. He coupled his unique theoretical approach with an unwavering commitment to artistic authenticity. Beginning with Henri Duparc in 1868, Franck attracted some of the finest musical minds in Paris, forming the highly influential La Bande à Franck. This is a performance dissertation comprises three lecture recitals. These lectures: Pater Seraphicus, La Bande à Franck, and The Schola Cantorum, chronicle Franck’s life, music, and artistic legacy. They featured music by Gounod, Franck, Lekeu, de Castillon, Duparc, Chausson, Albert Roussel, Erik Satie, and Deodat de Sévérac. They were performed in Leah M. Smith Lecture Hall in the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at the University of Maryland. Copies of this dissertation and recordings of each lecture recital may be found in the McKinley Library at University of Maryland College Park.