Eduard was the brother of Hermann (1802-1855)
who, as a writer on music, had contact with Wagner, Goethe and
Heine. The other brother, Albert, had a bookshop in Paris and
kept company with Chopin, Charles Hallé and Stephen Heller.
The E minor Violin Concerto was composed
in Cologne to which Franck had moved at the request of Ferdinand
Hiller. It was premiered by another Hiller invitee, Theodor Pixis.
It is a work of streaming intensity deliciously prone to lyrical
flights akin to the Mendelssohn concerto (in the same key) but
without the ineffable surge of smiling quicksilver. The last movement
recalls a village fiddler and rustic dance floors across the continent.
The Symphony in B flat major represents
a crossroads between early Schumann and Mendelssohn. The horn
solos are very colourful and make a memorable effect although
the execution is not ideally polished or rounded. There are some
Schumann-like accelerandi like those that inject the drama into
the Fourth Symphony. You will find yourself easily hooked whether
by the fluttery athleticism of the second movement, the winsome
flute-playing of the Adagio with its momentous atmosphere
or the Mendelssohnian chasseur-style allegro writing. This
is a strong mood invoker, relaxed and Beethovenian (Symphonies
4 and 8).
Ludger Böckenhoff and Audite should take
a curtain call for their valiant advocacy of this otherwise disgracefully
disregarded figure. Meritorious and highly attractive music at
last out into the light of common day.