- John Trevitt
- , revised by Joël-Marie Fauquet
(b Liège, Dec 10, 1822; d Paris, Nov 8, 1890). French composer, teacher and organist of Belgian birth. He was one of the leading figures of French musical life during the second half of the 19th century.
Franck’s cultural origins have been the subject of some dispute. Before 1830 Liège was officially part of the French-dominated Walloon district of what later became Belgium. His mother’s ancestry was wholly German; the family of his father Nicholas-Joseph, a minor clerk who was unemployed at the time of his elder son’s birth, came from Gemmenich near the German border. The combination of early precocity, an irresponsible and ambitious parent and an age which fêted prodigies less discriminately than a previous one resulted inevitably in a childhood and adolescence scarred by exploitation, and perhaps contributed to the late maturing of Franck’s full creative powers. In October 1830 his father enrolled him at the Liège Conservatoire where he rapidly gained ...