A treasure island of piano music — Spiegel Online
The Grand Piano label continues to uncover gems of the piano repertoire. — Fanfare

FRANCK, CÉSAR (1822–1890)

Piano Rarities

  • Jean-Pierre Armengaud, piano

Few composers have enjoyed a late flowering to compare with that of César Franck. Many of the great works in this recording were composed during his final decades and still stand today as powerful representatives of French music in the post-Franco-Prussian War period. The influence of Wagner can be heard in the poetic evocations of Les Éolides, while the magnificent Prélude, Choral et Fugue, much admired by Liszt, reinterprets well-known Baroque-era genres into an unforgettably expressive Romantic aesthetic. Widely acknowledged as one today’s great interpreters of French music, Jean-Pierre Armengaud presents an album of rarities composed for piano by Franck and arrangements of the composer’s works by distinguished musicians from the early 20th century.


Prélude, fugue et variation in B Minor, Op. 18, M. 30 (arr. H. Bauer for piano) (1860) (00:04:00 )
Prélude: Andantino cantabile (00:03:43)
Prélude: Lento (00:00:59)
Fugue (00:03:22)
Variation (00:04:04)
Les Éolides, M. 43 (arr. G. Samazeuilh and J.-P. Armengaud for piano) (1876) (00:14:53)
Prière, Op. 20, M. 32 (arr. B. Selva for piano) (1862) (00:14:12)
Prélude, choral et fugue, M. 21 (1884) (00:18:00 )
Prélude - (00:05:04)
Choral - (00:06:15)
Fugue (00:08:48)
Ruth, églogue biblique, Part I: Introduction (version for piano) (1871) (00:07:33)
Total Time: 01:08:53

The Artist(s)

Jean-Pierre Armengaud Jean-Pierre Armengaud is considered a leading interpreter of French music and a specialist in impressionist and expressionist repertoire, and is renowned for his ‘fluidly supple playing, his round and mellow tone’ (Classica). As a concert artist his programmes are notable for the extent and variety of their repertoire. He has appeared in major concert halls around the world, performing in over 40 countries, and given masterclasses at leading conservatoires. His albums for Naxos and Grand Piano feature music by Debussy, Roussel, Poulenc, Aubert, d’Indy, Dutilleux and others. As a musicologist and writer he has published a biography of Erik Satie (Fayard, 2009, which won the 2009 Prix des Muses) and a book of essays on Debussy, Claude Debussy: La trace et l’écart (L’Harmattan, 2018). He has been director for musical programming at Radio France and is associate professor at the Paris-Sorbonne University and professor emeritus at the University of Évry Val d’Essonne at Paris-Saclay University.

The Composer(s)

César Franck Born in Liège in 1822, César Franck was originally intended by his father for a career as a virtuoso pianist. In Paris his nationality excluded him at first from the Conservatoire, where he eventually failed to achieve the necessary distinction as a performer, turning his attention rather to composition. In 1846 he left home and went to earn his living in Paris as a teacher and organist, winning particular fame in the second capacity at the newly built church of Ste Clotilde, with its Cavaillé-Coll organ. He drew to himself a loyal and devoted circle of pupils and in 1871 won some official recognition as the nominated successor of Benoist as organ professor at the Conservatoire. A man of gentle character, known to his pupils as ‘Pater seraphicus’, he exercised considerable influence through his classes and performances although he remained, as a composer, something of an outsider in a Paris interested largely in opera.