Franchomme’s Etude #2

©2016 Do not copy, publish or reproduce without the written permission of Louise Dubin

The Conservatoire Concert Society Orchestra in Paris was known for reviving Beethoven, and one of his pieces they particularly loved to program was the Coriolan Overture. The other day I counted how many times they played the piece since the group’s first year, 1828. I stopped counting in 1847, the year Franchomme became the group’s principal cellist (when his teacher Norblin retired), but here’s the list:

1828 May 11

1830 Apr 11

1832 March 18

1833 May 5

1836 April 1

1837 March 24

1840 April 26

1845 January 26

Franchomme played all of these performances as a member of the illustrious group’s cello section, usually sitting next to his teacher Norblin. In 1855 Franchomme published his 12 Etudes Pour le Violoncelle avec Accompagnement d’un Seconde. (They are often played without the accompanying cello, but sound better with it!). The Etude #2, in my strong opinion, was inspired by the chief motive of the Coriolan Overture (first appearing in m. 15 and played by the cello section in m. 22). Same bowing, same tempo, and later in the Etude, similar spooky Beethoven-ish harmony. Compare them yourself and see if you agree! One recording of Franchomme’s Etude #2 is my own, with the accompaniment played by cellist Katherine Cherbas. This track is not on my recent album, The Franchomme Project (Delos), but if you buy the album directly from my website, you’ll receive it as a bonus download, and its sound quality is identical to the CD’s.  Or come hear me play it tonight (see my other post from today)!

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