Tag Archives: Paris

12 Caprices, Op. 7 for Cello and 2nd cello ad libitum

I get many inquiries about Franchomme’s most well-known pieces, his Caprices, Op. 7.  For example, this afternoon, Selma Gokcen of the London Cello Society wrote to me looking for an accurate edition.  Many cellists here in the US know the Klengel edition, published by International Music Company- accurate notewise, but lacking Franchomme’s fascinating fingerings and bowings, lacking the 2nd cello part entirely, and completely missing the slow sections of Caprice No. 7.  Franchomme’s original title was “Douze Caprices pour le Violoncelle ave Acct d’un second Violoncelle ad libitum,” but this was surely for practical purposes…it’s not always easy to find a cellist to play with you, but it’s ideal to at least have the part, just in case!

The original edition is the Janet et Cotelle edition from around 1835.  The BnF Department of Music in Paris of course houses a copy, but someone nicked the solo cello part, unfortunately! The Hofmeister reprint (which you can order from UNC Greensboro music librarian) has Franchomme’s fingerings and bowings, as appeared in the original French edition. As I discuss in the Dover Franchomme edition, his fingerings are pretty fascinating, including lots of vocal slides up and down single strings that are pretty out of fashion today.  I try to use them as often as possible, trying to play with the elegance that his bowings (and contemporary accounts of his performances) suggest was his hallmark. Luckily for us, in addition to this early German edition, a very rare copy of both parts is held by the library in Karlsruhe, and someone there took the trouble to post it online in its entirety (BOTH parts, yay!)


I use this part for my performances and recordings.  A live recording of Franchomme’s Caprice No. 9 with Julia Bruskin:


and another of Caprice No. 7 with Philippe Muller, including the parts left out by Klengel!



religieuse poésie: a concert review from 1853

© Louise Dubin 2017

On February 16, 1848, Chopin gave his first concert in Paris since 1842, at the Salle Pleyel, nº 22 rue Rochechouart. The cost of tickets was unprecedented:  20 francs for each of the 300 seats available (the best seat at the Opera went for 12 francs).  The program included Chopin’s first public performance of his new sonata for piano and cello, Op. 65, with its dedicatee, Auguste Franchomme.   Little did anyone know that this would be Chopin’s final publication; nor that this concert would be Chopin’s last in Paris, ever.  Less than a week later, the 1848 Revolution erupted, forcing King Louis-Philippe to flee and eventually to abdicate the throne.  Chopin left Paris shortly afterwards, and when he returned he was too ill to perform.

Franchomme and Chopin played only the last three movements of the sonata in 1848 because, according to Frederick Niecks, a misguided listener at a house run-through had criticized the first movement as “too obscure, involved too many ideas.”  After Chopin’s death, Franchomme returned to the Salle Pleyel to perform the complete Op. 65 on April 6, 1853, with Thomas Tellefsen, who’d studied with Chopin for a few years and become his friend.  This time, nobody complained about the first movement.

Léon Kreutzer published his account in the Revue et Gazette Musicale de Paris on April 10th, 1853: “Le morceau principal était une sonate de Chopin, pour piano et violoncelle…cette oeuvre a quelque chose d’intime et de mystérieux, c’est que tout en elle est plaintif et mélancolique… Franchomme, sur son eloquent violoncelle, a trouvé des accents admirables, qui donnaient aux belles melodies de Chopin une suavité pénétrante et pleine de religieuse poésie.”

“The main piece was a sonata by Chopin for cello and piano…the piece has something intimate and mysterious, everything in it is plaintive and melancholic… Franchomme, on his eloquent cello, found admirable expression, giving the beautiful melodies of Chopin a penetrating sweetness, full of religious poetry.”

They sure knew how to write about a great concert back then!

Dover Franchomme edition now @laBnF and other libraries!

I’m thrilled and honored to announce that the Dover edition of out-of-print works by Auguste Franchomme is now in the collection of the Music Department of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France in Paris, where I did much of the research for its Introduction.  May it help others further the research! http://catalogue.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/cb45334257s

Je suis ravie et honoreé d’annoncer l’édition d’Auguste Franchomme est @laBnF, Paris où j’espère la recherche peut aider les autres chercheurs/euses!

View some of the other libraries that have this book in their collections here, including Juilliard, U of Chicago, Columbia, and UNC at Chapel Hill: http://www.worldcat.org/title/selected-works-for-cello-and-piano/oclc/987981607&referer=brief_results

If you’d like your own copy, it’s for sale at Dover, Amazon (worldwide), Barnes and Noble and other booksellers.

Franchomme Birthday Week Video #4 Salle Gaveau, Paris

Chopin Prelude Op. 28, No. 9 arranged by Auguste Franchomme for 4 cellists, Transcribed from unpublished manuscript by Louise Dubin.  Performers: Louise Dubin, Raphael Pidoux, Gauthier Boutin, Philippe Muller, cellists
Salle Gaveau, December 2nd, 2016 “La Nuit du Violoncelle,” gala concert of VioloncellenSeine, biannual convention of the French Cello Society. World premiere studio recording on The Franchomme Project album: http://www.louise-dubin.com/shop