Franck and Chopin

CÉSAR FRANCK (1822-1890)

Violin or Cello Sonata in A major (1886)

The violin sonata by César Franck was his wedding gift to the violinist Eugene Ysaye, and was presented to him on the morning of this special day, on 26th of September 1886. In that same period Franck was working on one of his most beautiful works, the Symphonic Poem Psyche for Orchestra and Choir.

As Franck mentioned to his pupil Arthur Coquard, he had been contemplating Psyche over many years in his mind, and composed it in his vacation retreat at Combs-la-Ville- Quincy over the summer of 1886, together with the violin sonata.

In my personal reading, the music of this sonata also inhabits the world of this wonderful myth:

1st Movement: Psyche and Eros, their nocturnally veiled love.

2nd Movement: Psyche’s transgression, suffering and love.

3rd Movement: Aphrodite’s tasks, Psyche’s transformation

4th Movement: Psyche and Eros again together, their wedding, divine power.



Cello Sonata Op.65 (1845-47)

The Cello Sonata Op. 65 turned to be Chopin’s last opus, written between 1845-47 in Nohant and Paris. This wonderful work is his only duo sonata. We know from the letters to his family that the process of writing was not easy (there are more then 200 pages of sketches), because he was looking for the perfect fusion between such different instruments. In my opinion, Chopin felt that the best inspiration for writing for the cello is the voice, the Lied. Perhaps this is why he chose the cello for his duo sonata, and why the piece was such a success. The sonata is not only an enrichment for the cello repertoire, but also for the chamber music in general – it is such a wonderful example of combining or even “melting” a string instrument with the piano.

Xenia Jankovic


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