Franck was born in Breslau, the capital of the Prussian province of Silesia. He was the fourth child of a wealthy and cultivated banker who exposed his children to the best and brightest that Germany had to offer. Frequenters to the Franck home included such luminaries as Heine, Humboldt, Heller, Mendelssohn, and Wagner. His family's financial position allowed Franck to study with Mendelssohn as a private student in Düsseldorf and later in Leipzig. As a talented pianist, he embarked upon a dual career as a concert artist and teacher for more than four decades during the course of which he held many positions.
Although he was highly regarded as both a teacher and performer, he never achieved the public recognition of his better known contemporaries such as Mendelssohn, Schumann or Liszt. As fine a pianist as the first two and perhaps even a better teacher, the fact that he failed to publish very many of his compositions until toward the end of his life, in part, explains why he was not better known. Said to be a perfectionist, he continually delayed releasing his works until they were polished to his demanding standards. Schumann, among others, thought quite highly of the few works he did publish during the first part of his life.
He was the father of Richard Franck.
His chamber music is generally considered amongst his finest compositions. Of the works with opus numbers, there are 3 string quartets, 2 string quintets for 2 violins, 2 violas and cello, 2 string sextets, 4 piano trios, a piano quintet, 2 sonatas for cello & piano, and 4 sonatas for violin and piano. In addition to these, there are several other works without opus, including a piano sextet, 2 piano trios, a piano quintet, a sonata for violin & piano and an occasional piece for cello & piano.
Wilhelm Altmann, one of the most important chamber music critics of the 20th century, writes of Franck's chamber music: "This excellent composer does not deserve the neglect with which he has been treated. He had a mastery of form and a lively imagination which is clearly reflected in the fine and attractive ideas one finds in his works."
Of Franck's Second Sextet, Altmann states: "This sextet belongs in the concert hall. It demonstrates that its composer was master of musical form and in possession of a gift which allows him to produce strong and noble melodies."
List of chamber music works with opus number
- Op.6: Sonata for Violoncello & Piano in D Major, 2012 critical Urtext-Edition by Pfefferkorn Music Publishers (Leipzig)
- Op.11: Piano Trio No.1 in E minor
- Op.15: String Quintet in E minor (2 Vln, 2 Vla & Vc)
- Op.19: No.1: Sonata for Violin & Piano in C minor, 2011 critical Urtext-Edition by Pfefferkorn Music Publishers (Leipzig)
- Op.22: Piano Trio No.2 in E Flat Major
- Op.23: No.2: Sonata for Violin & Piano in A Major, 2011 critical Urtext-Edition by Pfefferkorn Music Publishers (Leipzig)
- Op.41: String Sextet No.1 in E Flat Major, 2011 critical Urtext-Edition by Pfefferkorn Music Publishers (Leipzig)
- Op.42: Sonata for Violoncello & Piano in F Major
- Op.45: Piano Quintet in D Major
- Op.49: String Quartet No.1 in F minor (also known as Op.40)
- Op.50: String Sextet No.2 in D Major, 2011 critical Urtext-Edition by Pfefferkorn Music Publishers (Leipzig)
- Op.51: String Quintet No.2 in C Major (2 Vln, 2 Vla & Vc)
- Op.53: Piano Trio No.3 in E Flat Major
- Op.54: String Quartet No.2 in E Flat Major
- Op.55: String Quartet No.3 in C minor
- Op.58: Piano Trio No.4 in D Major
- Op.60: Sonata for Violin & Piano in E Major, 2011 critical Urtext-Edition by Pfefferkorn Music Publishers (Leipzig)
- Op. posth. Sonata for Violin & Piano in D Major, 2012 critical Urtext-Edition by Pfefferkorn Music Publishers (Leipzig)
Orchestral works (partial list)
- Op.12: Concert-overture in E♭ (1848)
- Op.13: Piano Concerto in D minor (1850); Critical Urtext-Edition edited by James Tocco, 2012 by Pfefferkorn Music Publishers, Leipzig
- Op.30: Violin Concerto in E minor (1855)
- Op.47: Symphony in A (1860?)
- Op.52: Symphony in B♭ (1856)
- Op.57: Violin Concerto in D (1860)
- Without opus?: Piano Concerto No.2 in C? (1879) (manuscript)
- Hofmeisters Monatsberichte, 1848; several libraries
- Hofmeisters Monatsberichte, January 1850
- Barnett, Rob (November 2003). "Review of Audite CD with Symphony in A and Violin Concerto in E minor". MusicWeb International. Retrieved 2007-12-10.
- Barnett, Rob (November 2003). "Review of Audite CD with Symphony in B-flat and Violin Concerto in D". MusicWeb International. Retrieved 2007-12-10.
- Altmann, Wilhelm: Handbuch fur Streichquartettspieler, Vol.3, Heinrichshofen Verlag, Wilhelmshafen,1972
- Cobbett's Cyclopedic Survey of Chamber Music, Vol.1, 2nd Edition, Oxford Univ. Press, London, 1963
- 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 Eduard Franck at the International Music Score Library Project (IMSLP)
- Werke von und über Eduard Franck in the German National Library catalogue
- Website of Pfefferkorn Music Publishers, Leipzig
- Eduard Franck String Sextet Nos.1 & 2, String Quartet Nos. 2 & 3 and Piano Quintet Op.45 Soundbites & short biography.