Music in The Late romantic era blossomed in France during the second half of the 19th century, but began to be cast aside in 1913 when the onslaught of discords from Igor Stravinsky's shocking ballet "Sacre du printemps" that premièred that year in Paris, and from Arnold Schoenberg's Pierrot_Lunaire that premièred the fall before in Berlin, began to change the tastes of many French composers. French romantic composers Maurice Ravel and Claude Debussy were both intimidated and influenced by these two composers and both, along with many of the remaining romantic composers in Paris, began to move toward the dark side by increasing the discordance in their music. However, neither Debussy or Ravel ever fully embraced the principals of this 20th-century musical invasion.
In 1971, I began a renewed study of the great works of the European harmonic music tradition because I wanted to discover the music from the centuries preceding the 20th that I considered important emotionally and spiritually, and it was within the next few years that I first discovered the great French composer César Franck, whom the music professors and writers in the academic world had left behind. I have continued to study Franck's music and that of his students for over 40 years. Because information about Franck and his circle of composers was very difficult to find, and recordings were unavailable, it took me a long time to come to the understanding that César Franck was a completely misunderstood composer. This misunderstanding began during Franck's lifetime, when his enlightened music was beyond the comprehension of most of his contemporaries, even within his own family, and the misunderstanding was then perpetuated by misinformed opinions published in biographies and articles both during Franck's lifetime and after. I finally realized that César Franck was France's greatest composer!
Franck created the oeuvre that he left behind from a higher level of inspiration than the 20th century was ready for, and thus it was very much disregarded by the composers and educators of that era. When 20th-century composer and educator Olivier Messiaen was asked about Franck, he simply replied "He is dead." Organists knew that Franck had created some of the greatest organ works in the repertoire, choirs treasured his single famous choral composition, Panis Angelicus, violinists knew that Franck's beautiful Violin Sonata was a masterpiece, and Franck's symphony had found favor for a while with audiences during the last century, but some of Franck's greatest masterpieces, such as his great last two operas, and his great choral works and symphonic poems are simply never performed, especially in America, nor are they available on commercial recordings. However, I am here to say that it is César Franck - and his students - who will provide the musical bridge for the European harmonic tradition to span over the destructive energy of 20th-century classical music. It will be through the discovery of this great French romantic tradition that concert halls will again resound with joyous harmonic song, helping to dispel the discords redolent of the 20th century.
The Franck tradition was passed onto his students, and the greatest of these was the French composer Joseph-Guy Ropartz, who died in 1955. His name is almost completely unknown in classical music circles and his music unplayed. During my forty years of study of the works of Franck and his students, Ropartz' music was so elusive that I was unable to discover it at all for many years. It was not until scores appeared on the internet for the first time in around 2006 (on imslp.org), that I began to realize that I had discovered a great composer, one of the greatest composers of the 20th century! On my trips to France during 2007 and 2009, I found newly released compact disc recordings of Ropartz' music, and all of this opened the door for me. In January, 2010, I wrote an article about Guy Ropartz' 3rd Symphony. I suggest that if you are interested in the possibility of an undiscovered great 20th-century composer, then read the full article here:
Guy Ropartz: A Truly Forgotten Great Composer by Don Robertson
We will begin publishing the studies and reprints listed below during the year 2012.
MF-001 - César Franck Symphony Study
MF-002 - César Franck Psyche Study
MF-003 - Claude Debussy La Damoiselle Elue Study
MF-004 - Claude Debussy Printemps Study
MF-005 - Claude Debussy Nocturnes Study
MF-006 - Joseph-Guy Ropartz 3rd Symphony Study
MF-007 - Maurice Ravel Tombeau de Couperin Study
MF-008 - Maurice Ravel Gaspard de la Nuit Study
MF-009 - César Franck Hulda Study
MF-010 - César Franck Ghiselle Study
MS-001 - César Franck Redemption - Full Score
MS-002 - César Franck Les Beatitudes - Vocal Score
MS-003 - César Franck Ghiselle - Vocal Score
MS-004 - Charles Tournemire Poème Opus 38 for Organ and Orchestra - Full Score
MS-005 - Ernest Chausson Poème de l'Amour et de la Mer - Full Score
MS-006 - Ernest Chausson Poème pour Violon et Orchestre - Full Score
MS-007 - Henri Duparc Orchestral Music - Full Scores
Book Reprints (en français)
BF-001 - Vincent d'Indy's Cours de Composition - Book 1
BF-002 - Vincent d’Indy’s Cours de Composition – Book 2
BF-003 - Charles Tournemire - César Franck
BF-004 - Vincent d'Indy - César Franck
BF-005 - Robert Jardillier - La Musique de Chambre de César Franck
BF-006 - Charles Van Den Borren - Hulda et Ghiselle
BF-007 - Vincent d'Indy - Une École de Musique
BF-008 - Joseph Guy Ropartz - Notations Artistiques