Jean Françaix

Biography

Born: May 23, 1912; Le Mans, France   Died: September 25, 1997; France  
Composer Jean Françaix wrote in an accessible, attractive style that often led listeners and commentators to ignore the depth and originality present in much of his music. His father was the director of the Le Mans Conservatory. His mother was a teacher and choir director on its staff. He began to study piano when he was four. Before he was ten he had music lessons from Isidor Philipp (piano) and Nadia Boulanger (harmony, counterpoint, Read more composition). He published a composition at the age of ten, Pour Jacqueline, a piano suite dedicated to his baby cousin.

In 1930 he won first prize in piano at the Paris Conservatory. Pierre Monteux premiered his Symphony in 1932. In the same year he wrote his Concertino for Piano & Orchestra. The premiere of the work in 1934 made Françaix's reputation. He quickly came into demand. Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo commissioned a ballet, Scuola di ballo (Dance School), choreographed by Léonide Massine, based on themes of Boccherini. Another ballet, Le Roi nu (The Naked King or The Emperor's New Clothes), was premiered by the Paris Opera in 1935. He wrote a piano concerto in 1936 and played it on his first American trip, in 1938. He toured often with cellist Maurice Gendron, the Trio Pasquier, and later, with his daughter Claude as a piano duo partner.

Françaix was also known for his orchestrations of works by Chopin, Schubert, Chabrier, and Mozart. Poulenc requested that Françaix orchestrate L'histoire de Babar for him. Françaix transcribed many of his own works for the Mainz Wind Ensemble.

The light, witty character of Françaix's music has caused some to dismiss it as frivolous. Others have decried the fact that his style remained static throughout his life. In reality, he had found all he needed and achieved his mature voice immediately. His orchestrations are always clear and sparkling, his forms precise and neo-Classical, his emotions reserved. Françaix had little use for the Romantic esthetic of the composer pouring his inner soul into the music. In this, he was primarily influenced by Ravel. However, he sometimes wrote works of great depth. His masterwork among this sort of composition is L'Apocalypse de St Jean, written in 1939, the year World War II began. The work is mystical, even ecstatic, with plain flowing melodies reminiscent of old chant. It was premiered in 1942 at the Conservatory, conducted by Charles Munch. It was played at a memorial concert for Françaix in Le Mans in 1999, its first French performance since 1951. Read less
Browse 101-125 of 140 Available Recordings
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  • 101.
    20th Century French Wind Trios / Chicago Chamber Musicians
    Label: Cedille Records   Catalog: 40 Release Date: 08/10/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Auric,  Paul Pierne,  Jacques Ibert,  Alexandre Tansman  ... 
    Performer:  William Buchman,  Larry Combs,  Michael Henoch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Chamber Musicians
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  • 102.
    Françaix, Penderecki, Martinu: Chamber Music For Clarinet
    Label: Gall (Formerly Gallo)   Catalog: 1020 Release Date: 07/25/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Bohuslav Martinu,  Krzysztof Penderecki,  Jean Françaix
    Performer:  Dimitri Ashkenazy,  Bernhard Röthlisberger,  Jana Karskova
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Serenade String Trio
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  • 103.
    Françaix: Wind Chamber Music / Ensemble Wien-berlin
    Label: Camerata Records   Catalog: 580 Release Date: 05/30/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jean Françaix
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Wien-Berlin
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  • 104.
    Carnival De Venise - Faure, Lauber, Ibert / Grafenauer
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 438632 Release Date: 04/04/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carlos Salzedo,  Maurice Ravel,  Joseph Lauber,  Jacques Ibert  ... 
    Performer:  Maria Graf,  Irena Grafenauer
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  • 105.
    Musical Landscapes For Trumpet / David Kuehn, Persis Vehar
    Label: Fleur De Son   Catalog: 57934 Release Date: 11/19/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Henry Cowell,  Jean Hubeau,  Leroy Anderson,  George Antheil  ... 
    Performer:  David Kuehn,  A. Persis Parshall Vehar
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  • 106.
    Francaix: Das Orgelwerks / Jurgen Essl, Et Al
    Label: Fermate   Catalog: 20018 Release Date: 06/29/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jean Françaix
    Performer:  Jürgen Essl,  Martin Maier,  Claudia Boettcher,  Bernhard Kratzer
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  • 107.
    Flute Sonatas / Richard Sherman, Ralph Votapek
    Label: Summit Records   Catalog: 232 Release Date: 04/20/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jean Françaix,  Germaine Tailleferre,  Jindrich Feld,  Alexandre Tansman  ... 
    Performer:  Ralph Votapek,  Richard Sherman
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  • 108.
    Französische Musik Für Horn Und Klavier / Damm, Rösel
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 9392 Release Date: 04/13/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Marcel Poot,  Jean-Michel Damase,  Charles Gounod  ... 
    Performer:  Peter Rösel,  Peter Damm
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  • 109.
    Simply Four Saxophones / Adelphi Saxophone Quartet
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 72527 Release Date: 02/09/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jean-Philippe Rameau,  George Gershwin,  Anonymous,  Ferenc Farkas  ... 
    Performer:  Andrew Wilson,  Sarah Markham,  Alex Mitchell,  Martin Kerrigan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Adelphi Saxophone Quartet
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  • 110.
    Label: Ottavo   Catalog: 109459 Release Date: 10/13/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Frank Martin,  Jean Françaix
    Performer:  Godfried Hoogeveen
    Conductor:  Alexandru Lascae
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Arion Ensemble
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  • 111.
    Francaix: L'heure Du Berger, Etc / Gaudier Ensemble
    Label: Hyperion   Catalog: 67036 Release Date: 07/14/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jean Françaix
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gaudier Ensemble
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  • 112.
    Label: Priory Records   Catalog: 609 Release Date: 05/19/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Henk Temmingh,  Jacques Van Oortmerssen,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Jean Françaix  ... 
    Performer:  Eddie Davey,  Henning Wagner,  Wim Viljoen
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  • 113.
    20th Century Wind Music / Wien-Berlin
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 48052 Release Date: 02/27/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Samuel Barber,  Jean Françaix,  Helmut Eder,  György Ligeti  ... 
    Performer:  Günter Högner,  Karl Leister,  Milan Turkovic,  Wolfgang Schulz  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Wien-Berlin
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  • 114.
    Les Petits Nerveux / Hexagon
    Label: Bridge   Catalog: 9079 Release Date: 09/16/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Albert Roussel,  Francis Poulenc,  Jean Françaix
    Performer:  James Winn,  Alan R. Kay,  Susan Rotholz,  Chris Komer  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hexagon
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  • 115.
    French Orchestral Selections - Berlioz, Lalo, Chabrier
    Label: Vox Box   Catalog: 5114 Release Date: 08/30/1997   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Emmanuel Chabrier,  Jean Françaix,  Gabriel Fauré,  Jules Massenet  ... 
    Performer:  Ulrich Koch,  Suzanne Lautenbacher
    Conductor:  Pierre Cao,  Jean Françaix,  Louis de Froment,  Richard Kapp
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Luxembourg Radio/Television Symphony Orchestra,  Philharmonia Hungarica
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  • 116.
    Ravel: Piano Concertos;  Honegger, Françaix / Thibaudet
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 452448 Release Date: 08/12/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Jean Françaix,  Arthur Honegger
    Performer:  Jean-Yves Thibaudet
    Conductor:  Charles Dutoit
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Montreal Symphony Orchestra
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  • 117.
    Drastic Measures / New Century Saxophone Quartet
    Label: Channel Crossings   Catalog: 5994 Release Date: 07/01/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Russell Peck,  Edward C. Barroll,  Jean Françaix,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Brad Hubbard,  James Boatman,  Stephen Pollock,  Michael Stephenson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Century Saxophone Quartet
    CD: $21.99
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  • 118.
    25th Anniversary - International Double Reed Society
    Label: Crystal   Catalog: 870 Release Date: 02/18/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Heitor Villa-Lobos,  Jean Françaix,  André Previn
    Performer:  Sergio Azzolini,  Stefano Canuti,  Alex Klein,  George Sakakeeny  ... 
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  • 119.
    Par Excellence - French Music For Clarinet / Leister, Bognár
    Label: Camerata Records   Catalog: 20042 Release Date: 01/14/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Francis Poulenc,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Claude Debussy,  Charles-Marie Widor  ... 
    Performer:  Karl Leister,  Ferenc Bognár
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  • 120.
    La Bergère Enchantée - Françaix / Astrid Fröhlich, Et Al
    Label: Orfeo   Catalog: 388961 Release Date: 12/17/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jean Françaix
    Performer:  Astrid Fröhlich,  Ulrike Mattanovich,  Eleanor Froelich,  Alexander Swete
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  • 121.
    Mozart, Haydn, Villa-lobos, Francaix: Fagotto Concertante
    Label: Orfeo   Catalog: 223911 Release Date: 12/12/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Gershwin,  Jean Françaix,  Heitor Villa-Lobos,  Michael Haydn  ... 
    Performer:  Milan Turkovic
    Conductor:  Martin Sieghart
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra
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  • 122.
    French Wind Music / Reykjavik Wind Quintet
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 9362 Release Date: 05/23/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Gabriel Fauré,  Francis Poulenc,  Gabriel Pierné  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Reykjavík Wind Quintet
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  • 123.
    Romantic Virtuoso Cello Music / Werner Thomas
    Label: Orfeo   Catalog: 131851 Release Date: 05/23/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jean Françaix,  Richard Wagner,  Franz Schubert (Dresden),  Pablo de Sarasate  ... 
    Performer:  Werner Thomas
    Conductor:  Hans Stadlmair
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Chamber Orchestra
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  • 124.
    Solos De Concours Vol 1 - Debussy, Messager, Etc / Soames
    Label: Clarinet Classics   Catalog: 11 Release Date: 03/28/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jean Françaix,  André Messager,  Claude Debussy,  Georges Marty  ... 
    Performer:  Jonathan Higgins,  Victoria Soames
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  • 125.
    Printemps - Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 536 Release Date: 10/12/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Eugène Bozza,  Jean Françaix,  Charles Koechlin,  Darius Milhaud  ... 
    Performer:  Henning Trog,  Fergus McWilliam,  Walter Seyfarth,  Andreas Wittman  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Woodwind Quintet
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