He was born in Cologne and was the son of the German composer, pianist and teacher Eduard Franck. His father, who had studied with Felix Mendelssohn and knew the value of good instruction, sent Richard to the Leipzig Conservatory, where he studied with two of the leading teachers of the day, Carl Reinecke and Salomon Jadassohn. During the course of a long career, Franck held teaching positions at conservatories in both Germany (Kassel, Berlin, Heidelberg) and in Switzerland (Basle).
Although he did not reach the front rank amongst his contemporaries, he was nevertheless well-respected as a concert artist and as a composer. His conservative style was influenced by Reinecke and by his friend, the Swiss composer Hans Huber (1852–1921). Franck was firmly in the tradition of Mendelssohn and Schumann though it’s clear that he was not immune from the influence of Wagner, Grieg and Reger also. Those critics, who were familiar with his compositions and his piano playing, regularly lavished praised upon them. For example, the Schweizerische Musikzeitung (Swiss Musical Journal), writing about his First Piano Trio, Op. 20, wrote:
"Powerful and full-sounding energy is shown in many works, not least in [Richard Franck's] Op.20 Piano Trio, which is a magnificent, significant composition, fresh in invention, firm and secure in its development, and mature in its expression."
The bulk of Franck's compositions are for solo piano, however, he also wrote orchestral and vocal compositions as well as a considerable amount of chamber music. Though he and his music have been long forgotten, as of late,[when?] his music has been rediscovered and is in the process of being revived. His piano trios, piano quartets and four sonatas have all been recently recorded on Audite, a selection of orchestra works on Sterling. Early in 2007, Edition Silvertrust republished the parts to his Op. 20 Piano Trio, the first in a series of chamber works to be released.
Within the next years,[when?] all available works of Richard Franck will be published in critical editions by Pfefferkorn Music Publishers, Leipzig.
Chamber Music Works
- Sonata No.1 for Violin & Piano in D Major, Op.14 - (Critical Urtext-Edition 2010 by Pfefferkorn Musikverlag / Music Publishers, Leipzig. ISMN 979-0-50139-406-6)
- Piano Trio No.1 in B minor, Op.20
- Sonata for Cello & Piano in D Major, Op.22
- Piano Trio No.2 in E Flat Major, Op.32
- Piano Quartet No.1 in A Major, Op.33
- Sonata No.2 for Violin & Piano in C minor, Op.35 - (Critical Urtext-Edition 2010 by Pfefferkorn Musikverlag / Music Publishers, Leipzig. ISMN 979-0-50139-406-6)
- Sonata No.2 for Cello & Piano in E flat minor, Op.36
- Piano Quartet No.2 in E Major, Op.41
- Three Pieces for Flute (or Violin) & Piano, Op.52
- Spanish Serenade for String Quartet WoO (1926)
- Feuchte, Paul and Andreas: Die Komponisten Eduard Franck und Richard Franck, Leben und Werk, Dokumente, Quellen, Second Edition, Leipzig 2010
- Some of the information on this page appears on the website of Edition Silvertrust but permission has been granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.
- Free scores by Richard Franck at the International Music Score Library Project
- Werke von und über Richard Franck in the German National Library catalogue
- Website of Pfefferkorn Musikverlag / Music Publishers
- Richard Franck Piano Trio Nos.1 & 2, Piano Quartet No.1 Sound-bites & short biography.
- Page at Audite.de