Cesar Franck's works for piano and orchestra

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.)



First Committee Member

J. Robert Floyd, Committee Chair


The essay comprises a study of Franck's only two published works for piano and orchestra, Les Djinns and the Variations Symphoniques. Les Djinns has a programmatic basis whereas the Variations Symphoniques is absolute music. Both works are extended one-movement forms and offer an excellent opportunity for comparative study, and, as yet, there is no dissertation that treats Franck's works for piano and orchestra as a body of work. Thus, there is a need for an analytical and historical study of Franck's works for piano and orchestra, including a study of the interpretive problems and pianistic techniques encountered in these compositions.The premise of the essay is that the neglected Les Djinns is of the utmost significance among Franck's works. It proved to be the catalyst for his later works. If it had not been for the favorable reception of Les Djinns and the resulting gain in Franck's confidence, the masterpieces that followed, those works that assured Franck his place in music history, might not have been written. It has been well-documented that Franck had become withdrawn after the many failures during his career, and it was partly the boost he received from the good review of the premiere of Les Djinns that spurred him on to greater compositional heights. The Variations Symphoniques is generally considered to be among the greatest of Franck's works and has enjoyed widespread popularity over the years. With Les Djinns and the Variations Symphoniques, Franck set an admirable example in the equality of the soloist and the orchestra, unlike those works of Liszt, which were weighted more heavily in favor of the piano. Almost one hundred years have elapsed since the death of Franck, and more performances and recordings of the relatively unfamiliar works such as Les Djinns are needed if Franck is to receive the full recognition he deserves.



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