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Classical Notes

Happy Birthday, Jean Francaix

Posted at 4:32 PM on May 22, 2012 by Emily Reese

Jean Francaix

Jean Françaix was born 100 years ago on May 23, 1912.

A twentieth-century French composer who preferred 18th century structure to 20th century avant-garde, Françaix was a neo-classicist. Many of his compositions use forms common to Mozart and Haydn's time.

His Concertino for Piano and Orchestra, written in 1932, launched Françaix' lengthy and prolific compositional career.

Françaix was also a gifted concert pianist, and eventually performed duets alongside his daughter Claude.

He also appeared as accompanist for many fine 20th century soloists, most notably cellist Maurice Gendron. Here is a gem of the two performing together:

Additionally, Françaix orchestrated works by Chabrier, Chopin, Mozart, Poulenc and Schubert, as well as his own compositions.

Significant works include the aforementioned Concertino for Piano and Orchestra, the Flower Clock for Oboe and Orchestra and his Quintette for Flue, Violin, Viola, Cello and Harp.