César Franck
Interlude Symphonique
from the 1874 version
(18 pages)

Transcribed and edited for organ by
Ennis Fruhauf

Click on the link below to download a PDF booklet
vailable 05/202


         César Franck, born in Liege, Belgium in 1822, pursued his higher music education in Paris and went on to make his career there as a professor of organ, and subsequently of music composition, at the Conservatoire, in addition to his extensive musical activities at the Basilica church of Ste. Clotilde.

.        The first version of his oratorio, Rédemption, was completed in 1873 and received its première performance the same year on Maundy Thursday. Preparation and rehearsals were beset with difficulties and complications, necessitating substantial last moment cuts from the oratorio's central section. Franck was undaunted by an initial failure, and with encouragement from students – notably Vincent d’Indy and Henri Duparc, he reworked the composition. Significant key changes were made throughout, along with the addition of new thematic materials. The revised version was published in 1874, then premiered that same year by the Société Nationale; again its reception was disappointing.

        The Interlude Symphonique, exerpted from the oratorio, has taken its place alongside Franck’s three other symphonic poems for orchestra: Le chasseur maudit, Les Eolides, and Les Djinns. Although far from being well known in the repertoire,
 the work is dramatic in its devotional intensity and bears countless trademarks native to the composer’s unique crafts and skills.

        In recently discovered correspondences from Franck to an American acquaintance in New York, dated October 12, 1887,
 the composer included a list of thirteen of his major works for various media, and added “a piece to this already long list — a grand Morceau symphonique from the oratorio, Rédemption, for four hands, and which one of my students, M. Pierre de Bréville, has arranged admirably for two pianos.” Years later, Marcel Dupré transcribed the work for organ solo and made an annual tradition of performing it at the Christmas Eve Midnight Mass at Saint-Sulpice; his transcription was published in 1972 — the year after his death — with his widow’s encouragement.          [Courtesy of  Rollin Smith, The American Organist, September 2003.] 

This adaptation is framed on Dupré's version, but it includes adjustments intended to enhance the the overall dramatic content, while striving to retain the essence of Franck's original symphonic intent as found in the full score, yet render it within the idiom of the composer's works for solo organ. The end result — though technically demanding for performer and instrument — is both moving and triumphant, offering the unusual opportunity of new life for a less familiar opus. Other transcriptions have been published, including one by Daniel Roth, dated 1996.

Registrational indications in brackets —
[oboe],  etc. signal orchestral solo voices from the full score that can be similarly assigned to various color stops as available Dynamic markings are provided throughout (i.e. mf, mp, etc.), appearing in conjunction with directional brackets to indicate appropriately terraced keyboards and balances.  A majority of all Italianate expression texts and hairpin dynamics are derived from the original Franck score; many cautionary accidentals  [ (#),  etc.]  have been added throughout.