Aulicus Classics Beethoven and Franck

Aulicus Classics Club Episode Eight: Beethoven and Franck

19 Jul 2023

Aulicius Classics Club is a video series created by esteemed Italian music publisher Romano Di Bari and composer/arranger/conductor Stefano Torossi, with the sole purpose of spotlighting the lives of legendary composers and their works. In episode eight, they discussed the works of Ludwig Van Beethoven and César Franck, which are featured in the album Beethoven: Sonata 9 Op 47 / Franck: Sonata A Major by Fabrizio Falasca (violin) and Bruno Canino (piano). 

Watch the episode now. 

Listen to the album now. 

Check out the full Aulicus Classics catalog 

About Romano Di Bari 

Italian producer and CEO at label Aulicus Classics 

Romano Di Bari founded Flipper Srl Edizioni Musicali in 1972 after developing his expertise with RCA and later with Ariston during the 60s. 

About Ludwig Van Beethoven 

  • One of the most well-known aspects of Beethoven's life is his struggle with deafness. He began to lose his hearing in his late 20s and eventually became completely deaf. In a letter to his brothers known as the "Heiligenstadt Testament," written in 1802 but never sent, Beethoven expressed his despair over his condition, contemplating suicide. Despite this immense obstacle, he continued to compose groundbreaking music and created some of his most profound works after losing his hearing. 
  • Beethoven's exact birthdate remains uncertain. Although it is widely believed he was born on December 17, 1770, his baptismal records indicate he was baptized on December 17, 1770. In 1786, he celebrated his birthday on December 16, leading to confusion and debates about his birthdate. 
  • Beethoven showed remarkable talent at a young age. He gave his first public performance at the age of seven, and by the time he was twelve, he was already publishing his compositions. 
  • Beethoven admired Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's music and wanted to study under him. He even traveled to Vienna with this intention but had to return home due to his mother's illness. However, he did receive some lessons from Mozart's contemporary, Franz Joseph Haydn. 
  • Beethoven was an avid nature lover and often found inspiration in the beauty of the outdoors. He would frequently take long walks in the countryside, and his love for nature is reflected in many of his compositions, such as the "Pastoral Symphony" (Symphony No. 6). 
  • Beethoven relied heavily on the support of wealthy patrons to sustain his music career. While he did receive generous support from some nobles, he faced financial difficulties throughout his life. He often had to negotiate contracts and seek advances for his work. 
  • In his personal life, Beethoven struggled to find lasting love. He wrote passionate and heartfelt letters to an unknown woman called his "Immortal Beloved." The identity of this woman remains a mystery to this day, although several candidates have been suggested. 
  • Beethoven is often considered one of the most significant transitional figures between the Classical and Romantic eras of music. He expanded the boundaries of traditional forms and compositional techniques, giving his music a sense of emotional depth and drama that was revolutionary for his time. 
  • Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 in C minor is one of his most iconic and recognizable works. The famous opening motif, often called "Fate knocking at the door," has become synonymous with Beethoven's music and is one of history's most famous musical phrases. 
  • Beethoven's Symphony No. 10 remains one of his most intriguing works, not because of its brilliance but because it was left incomplete. He sketched various movements but never completed the symphony, leaving music historians and enthusiasts to speculate on what might have been. 

About César Franck 

  • César Franck was born on December 10, 1822, in Liège, which was part of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands at the time. He later became a naturalized French citizen and spent most of his life in Paris. 
  • Franck displayed exceptional musical talent from an early age. He was a child prodigy on both the piano and the organ, showing remarkable skills in improvisation and composition. 
  • At the age of 15, Franck moved to Paris to study at the prestigious Paris Conservatoire. There, he excelled in his studies, winning various awards for piano and organ performance, and composition. 
  • After completing his studies, Franck served as an organist at various churches in Paris throughout his life. His innovative organ playing, and compositions significantly contributed to the development of the French symphonic organ style. 
  • César Franck was a central figure in a group of composers known as the "Franck Circle" or "Franckists." This group included Vincent d'Indy, Ernest Chausson, and several other musicians who were influenced by Franck's teaching and compositional style. 
  • Franck's compositions were characterized by their symphonic structure, rich harmonies, and chromaticism. He was a pioneer in symphonic cyclic form, a technique where themes recur and are transformed throughout a multi-movement work, as demonstrated in his famous Symphony in D minor. 
  • Franck had a complicated personal life. He fell in love with one of his piano students, Augusta Holmès, who was a talented composer herself. Their relationship was controversial due to their age difference and Augusta's previous marriage. They eventually married in 1872, but the union caused a rift with some of Franck's friends and family. 
  • Franck's compositions initially faced mixed reviews and moderate success during his lifetime. However, after his death in 1890, his music began to gain greater recognition and popularity. Today, he is considered one of the most significant composers of the late Romantic period. 
  • In addition to his accomplishments as a composer and performer, Franck was also a dedicated teacher. He taught at the Paris Conservatoire, and his pupils included important composers like Paul Dukas, Florent Schmitt, and Guillaume Lekeu. 
  • Franck's most famous and enduring work, the Symphony in D minor, received its premiere posthumously in 1889, conducted by Jules Garcin. The symphony has since become one of the cornerstones of the French orchestral repertoire.