(b Rio de Janeiro, 28 May 1913; d Rio de Janeiro, 12 Dec 1992). Brazilian music critic. He graduated at the National School of Medicine (1934) and studied the piano at the National School of Music (diploma and gold medal, 1937); while continuing piano studies with Tomás Terán he completed the music teachers’ training course under Villa-Lobos. Subsequently he served as music critic for the Correio da Manhã (1944), professor of music education of the Guanabara state, member of the Cultural and Artistic Commission of Rio’s municipal theatre (1948), founder-member of the Brazilian Academy of Music (1945) and secretary-general of the National Music Commission of UNESCO (1960). He lectured on music history and music appreciation, and produced radio programmes for Radio MEC (Ministry of Education and Culture).
‘Carlos Gomes e a política do seu tempo’, Revista brasileira de música, iii (1936), 164–73
‘Destino e significação da música moderna’, Revista brasileira de música, ix (1943), 93–101
‘Panorama da música brasileira contemporânea’, Brasil cultural, ii/4 (1948), 1
‘Composições de Lorenzo Fernândez’, Cultura, i/3 (1949), 7
Lorenzo Fernândez, compositor brasileiro (Rio de Janeiro, 1950)
Do lado da música (Rio de Janeiro, 1957, 2/1968)
Música do Brasil fatos, figuras e obras (Rio de Janeiro, 1957, 2/1968)
Memórias de Vera Janacopulos (Rio de Janeiro, 1959)
A temporado musical no ano do IV centenário do Rio de Janeiro (Rio de Janeiro, 1966)
Matéria de música (Rio de Janeiro, 1966, enlarged 3/1980–83) [2 vols.; collected newspaper articles on 20th-century composers]
Villa-Lobos: síntese crítica e biográfica (Rio de Janeiro, 1970, 2/1973)
A evolução de Villa-Lobos na música de câmera (Rio de Janeiro, 1976)
ed.: Revista do Brasil, iv/1 (1988) [Villa-Lobos issue; incl. ‘Villa-Lobos e Gilberto Freyre’, 9–24]
A arte da música através dos tempos: ensaios históricos-críticos sobre a música do Ocidente (Rio de Janeiro, 1990) [collected essays]
Français, Jacques Pierre
(b Paris, 3 July 1923). American violin dealer and restorer, of French birth. His family has been in violin making since the end of the 19th century, while their business origins can be traced back to Nicolas Lupot. Français was apprenticed during the Occupation to Victor Aubry at Le Havre, but after service with the Army of Liberation went to Mirecourt to work with Georges Apparut. He next went to New York for a period in the Rudolph Wurlitzer shop and decided to stay and establish his own business, which he opened in 1951 in the New York premise vacated by Emil Herrman. In addition to his activities as a dealer, he built up a good reputation for repairs and adjustments. About 1964 he was joined by two first-class restorers from the Wurlitzer workshop, René Morel and Luiz Bellini; the scope of the business expanded and in the later part of the century it cared for the needs of most of the USA’s finest string players. In 1994 the business divided, Français continuing work as a dealer and Morel taking charge of the workshop. He formally retired from active violin dealing at the end of 1999. See VannesE.
CHARLES BEARE/PHILIP J. KASS
Françaix, Jean (René Désiré)
(b Le Mans, 23 May 1912; d Paris, 25 Sept 1997). French composer and pianist. He was born into a musical family: his mother was a singer and teacher of singing, his father Alfred a composer, pianist, musicologist and director of the Le Mans Conservatoire, and it was they who shaped his earliest musical education. His precocious gifts were recognized by Ravel, who wrote to Alfred Françaix: ‘Among the child's gifts I observe above all the most fruitful an artist can possess, that of curiosity: you must not stifle these precious gifts now or ever, or risk letting this young sensibility wither.’
His parents sent his first composition, a little piano suite Pour Jacqueline, to Editions Sénart in 1922. Marcelle de Manziarly, a composer on the publisher's selection panel, steered the budding musician towards Nadia Boulanger, who took charge of his study of composition and later played or conducted the first performances of several of his works, notably at the salon of the Princesse de Polignac. He also studied the piano at the Paris Conservatoire with Isidore Philipp and won a premier prix in 1930; an excellent pianist, he gave dazzling public performances of his own work. He was the regular accompanist of numerous interpreters, especially the cellist Maurice Gendron; he undertook many tours with Gendron and with the Trio Pasquier. His daughter Claude, also a pianist, was often his duet partner. She played with him in the first performance of his Concerto for Two Pianos (1965). He frequently performed his own works in cities such as Berlin, London, New York and Boston.
Françaix was a prolific composer, who seems to have possessed a constant disposition to create. His output was rich and diverse, and amounts to more than 200 pieces. He took pleasure in reusing traditional forms and genres: works entitled ‘concerto’, ‘symphony’ or ‘cantata’ unite with a charming eclecticism which places Françaix in the great French tradition.
The piano occupied an important place in his output, whether as a concertante instrument or in chamber music and duets. Virtuoso players found his first mature work for solo piano, the Scherzo (1932), to be an exciting, impulsive and technically difficult piece.
Early success came in 1932, with a performance of his Eight Bagatelles for piano and string quartet at the ISCM Festival in Vienna. Although an early Symphony (performed by the Orchestre Symphonique de Paris under Monteux on 6 November 1932) caused a scandal and was withdrawn by the composer, his Concertino for piano was received with enthusiasm at the Baden-Baden Chamber Music Festival in 1936. Heinrich Strobel wrote of this sparkling, witty piece: ‘After so much problematic or laboured music, this Concertino was like fresh water, rushing from a spring with the gracious spontaneity of all that is natural.’ The same gracefulness is characteristic of Françaix's music, including chamber works such as the String Trio (1933), the Wind Quartet (1933) and the Quintet for flute, harp and string trio (1934).
His first work for the theatre was a comedy for tenor, bass and small orchestra, Le diable boiteux. His operas and ballets demonstrate a taste for irony and satire, deployed in the tradition of Les Six. In 1933 he wrote Scuola di ballo and Beach for the Ballets Russes de Monte-Carlo, the first in a long series of ballets, two of which were given at the Paris Opéra: Le roi nu in 1936 and Les malheurs de Sophie in 1948. He worked with Roland Petit at the Théâtre Marigny to create Les demoiselles de la nuit in 1948 and La dame dans la lune in 1958. His distinguished film scores include the collaborations with Sacha Guitry on Si Versailles m'était conté, Si Paris nous était conté and Napoléon.
The opera La princesse de Clèves, after the novel by Madame de Lafayette, was greeted with unanimous critical acclaim when it was first performed at Rouen in 1965, but it has yet to be revived. He also made a notable contribution to the repertory of large-scale sacred works with L'apocalypse selon Saint-Jean, inspired by the Book of Revelation (1939).
Françaix was an excellent orchestrator, who made many arrangements and transcriptions of his own works, notably for Klaus Rainer Schöll's Bläser-Ensemble Mainz, as well as of works by Chabrier, Chopin, Mozart, Poulenc and Schubert – all composers for whom he had a special affection. The best-known of his orchestral arrangements is that of Poulenc's L'histoire de Babar, made at Poulenc's request.
His choice of literary subjects reveals a preference for the past: some of the best-known works in French literature were among the sources of his librettos. His style is resolutely tonal, yet it expresses his harmonic language very freely. He preserved the exposition–development–recapitulation structure, even in short pieces. His themes are melodic, or constructed from very simple motifs, exploiting the principles of repetition and variation to the full. The incessant jocular dialogues breaking out among instrumental parts in his works agreeably turn the musical discourse into something very like animated conversation in the form of brief phrases sprinkled with emphases and effects, different characters and great rhythmic variety. His music builds up a dynamic impetus on the foundation of dances such as the polka and the galop, displaying irresistible verve: these often difficult rhythms demand considerable virtuosity from performers.
From the Concertino for piano and orchestra to the Double Concerto for flute and clarinet (1991), most of the instruments of the orchestra are represented in his concertante works. The Concerto for 15 solo instruments is a kind of homage to the sonorities of the Classical orchestra. Exploiting the resources of traditional instruments, Françaix cultivated a personal aesthetic and drew on the sources of the past and on the colours of French music, in the manner of Ravel. Regarding atonality as an impasse, he took pride in claiming a position among neo-classical composers.
An undeniable sense of humour is revealed in Françaix's comments on his music: his avowed aim was ‘to give pleasure’. He said punningly that his aim in writing his wind quintet was ‘to do something that can be called “Français”, with both an S and an X, that is, to be jolly most of the time – even comical … To avoid the premeditated wrong note and boredom like the plague. In sum, Emmanuel Chabrier is my good master.’ He won the Florence Gould prize in 1950 and the Grand Prix Arthur Honegger in 1992.
Le diable boiteux (chbr op, 1, after A.-R. Lesage), 1937, private perf., Paris, 30 June 1938 [for the Princesse de Polignac], Palermo, 22 April 1949; L'apostrophe (comédie musicale, 1, after H. de Balzac), 1940, Amsterdam, Opera, 1 July 1951; La main de gloire (opéra bouffe, 4, after G. de Nerval), 1945, Bordeaux, 18 May 1951; Paris à nous deux ou Le nouveau Rostignac (fantaisie lyrique, 2, P. Kast and Françaix), 1954, Fontainebleau, 7 Aug 1954; La princesse de Clèves (4, Françaix and M. Lanjean, after Mme de Lafayette), Rouen, Arts, 11 Dec 1965
Ballets: Beach (L. Massine, after R. Kerdik), 1933; Les malheurs de Sophie (G. Flevitsky, after Comtesse de Ségur), 1933; Scuola di ballo (Massine, after C. Goldoni), 1933 [from Boccherini]; Le roi nu (S. Lifar, after H.C. Andersen), 1935; Le jeu sentimental, 1936; La lutherie enchantée (S. Korty), 1936; Le jugement d’un fou (Françaix, after F. Rabelais), 1938; Verreries de Venise (A. Fauchier-Magnan), 1938; Les demoiselles de la nuit (J. Anouilh), 1948; Les camélias (choreog. S. Korty), 1950; Le roi Midas (J. Davril, after Ovid), 1952; La dame dans la lune (choreog. R. Petit), 1958; Le croupier amoureux (Bastide), 1967; Pierrot ou les secrets de la nuit (M. Tournier), 1981
Film scores: Si Versailles m'était conté (dir. S. Guitry), 1953; Napoléon (dir. Guitry), 1954; Si Paris nous était conté (dir. Guitry), 1955
Pf Concertino, 1932; Divertissement, str trio, wind, hp, db, 1933; Fantaisie, vc, orch, 1934; Sérénade, 1934; Suite, vn, orch, 1934; Quadruple Conc., fl, ob, cl, bn, orch, 1935; Pf Conc., 1936; Musique de cour, fl, vn, orch, 1937; Divertissement, bn, str, 1942; Les bosquets de Cythère, 7 waltzes, 1946; La douce France, 1946; Rhapsodie, va, wind, 1946; L’heure du berger, 1947; Symphonie d’archets, 1948; Variations de concert, vc, str, 1950; Les zigues de Mars, 1950; Sérénade B E A, str, 1952
Si Versailles m’était conté, suite, 1953 [from film score]; Sym., 1953; Vn Concertino, 1954, unpubd; Fantaisie, vc, orch, 1955; Au musée Grévin, 1956; Hymne solennel, 1956; 6 grandes marches, 1957; Divertimento, hn, orch, 1958; Conc., hpd, fl, str, 1959; Divertissement, hn, orch, 1959; L’horloge de Flore, ob, orch, 1959; Le dialogue des carmélites, suite, 1960; 6 preludi, str, 1963; Double Pf Conc., 1965; Fl Conc., 1967; Cl Conc., 1968; Divertissement, bn, str, 1968; Les inestimables chroniques du Grand Gargantua (F. Rabelais), spkr, str, 1970; Jeu poétique, hp, orch, 1970; Vn Conc., 1970; Thème et variations, 1971; 15 portraits d'enfants d'Auguste Renoir, 1972
La ville mystérieuse, 1973; Db Conc., 1974; Gay Paris, tpt, wind, 1974; Cassazione, 3 orchs, 1975; Chaconne, hp, 11 str, 1976; Conc. grosso, wind qnt, str qnt, orch, 1976; Variations sur un thème plaisant, pf, wind, 1976; Double Hp Conc., 11 str, 1978; Ouverture anacréontique, 1978; Bn Conc., 1979; Vn Conc., 1979; Mozart New-Look, db, wind, 1981; Psyché (La Fontaine), spkr, orch, 1981; Gui Conc., 11 str, 1982; Impromptu, fl, orch, 1983; Trbn Conc., 1983; Ode à la liberté, 1985; Pavane pour un génie vivant, 1987; Conc., 15 solo inst, orch, 1988; Double Conc., fl, cl, orch, 1991; 85 mesures et un da capo, 1991; Accdn Conc., 1993
Solo: Scherzo, pf, 1932; 5 portraits de jeunes filles, pf, 1936; Eloge de la danse, pf, 1947; 2 Pieces, gui, 1950, unpubd; L'insectarium, hpd, 1953; 5 ‘bis’, pf, 1955; Marche solennelle, org, 1957; Danse des trois arlequins, pf, 1959; Pf Sonata, 1960; Suite carmélite, org, 1960; Suite, fl, 1962; Thème varié, db, 1976; 2 Pieces, hpd, 1977; Suite, hp, 1978; Tema con 8 variazioni, va, 1980; 8 variations sur le nom de Gutenberg, pf, 1982; Suite profane, org, 1984; Passacaille, gui, 1985; Promenade d'un musicologue éclectique, pf, 1987; Nocturne, pf, 1994
Choral: 5 chansons (Françaix), 2vv, children’s chorus, orch, 1932; 3 duos (Françaix, after Aristophanes), 2 S, str qt, 1934; 3 épigrammes (C. Marot, C. d’Orléans, J. du Bellay), 4vv, str qnt, 1938; L’apocalypse selon St-Jean (orat), 4 solo vv, chorus, 2 orchs, 1939; Adolescence Clémentine (Marot), 5 poems, vv, pf, 1941; Juvenalia (Françaix, after Juvenal: Satires), 4vv, pf duet, 1947; Ode à la gastronomie, SATB, 1953; Le coq et le renard (TB, pf)/(T, T, B, B, pf), 1963; La grenouille qui veut se faire aussi grosse que le boeuf (J. de La Fontaine), S/T/male chorus, pf, 1965; La promenade à Versailles (La Fontaine), 2 T, Bar, B, str orch, 1975; La cantate des vieillards, T, Bar, 11 str insts, 1978; 3 poèmes (P. Valéry), SATB, 1982; Triades de toujours (F. Villon, La Fontaine, Aristophanes), S, Bar, wind qnt, str qnt, hp, 1991
Solo: Cantate en l'honneur de Sully, Bar, 4 tpt, str, org, 1942; Invocation à la volupté (La Fontaine), Bar, small orch, 1946, unpubd; 2 motets, 1v, org, 1946; 5 poèmes (d'Orléans), Bar, pf, 1946; Chanson (Marot), 1v, pf/gui, 1947; Prière du soir (A. d'Aubigné), 1v, pf/gui, 1947; 8 anecdotes de Chamfort, Bar, pf, 1949; Scherzo impromptu (L. de Vilmorin), Bar/B, pf, 1949; La cantate de Mephisto (Valéry: Mon Faust), B, str, 1952; Déploration de Tonton, chien fidèle (cant., G. Revon), Mez, str, 1956; La chatte blanche (Mme d'Aulnoy), T, pf/orch, 1957; Naissance du poussin (M. Drouet), S, pf, 1957; L'homme entre deux âges (La Fontaine), 1v, fl, str qnt, 1958; La grenouille qui veut se faire aussi grosse que le boeuf (La Fontaine), S/T/male chorus, pf, 1965
Chabrier: Souvenir de Munich, 1960; Poulenc: L'histoire de Babar, 1962; Chopin: 24 Preludes, op.28, 1967; Chabrier: 8 pièces pittoresques, 1984; Poulenc: Musique pour faire plaisir, 1984; Schubert: 3 marches militaires, 1987; Chabrier: Cortège burlesque, 1989; Chopin: 3 écossaises et variations sur un air populaire allemand, 1989; Chopin: Nocturne et polonaise, 1995
Principal publisher: Schott
‘Ecrits pour les 90 ans du Dr. Ludwig Strecker’, Festschrift für einen Verleger: Ludwig Strecker zum 90. Geburtstag, ed. C. Dahlhaus (Mainz, 1973), 19–24
‘Notes sur le théâtre lyrique’, Le théâtre lyrique français: 1945–1985, ed. D. Pistone (Paris, 1987), 241–2
M.Lanjean: Jean Françaix (Paris, 1961)
C.Tappolet, ed.: Lettres de compositeurs français à Ernest Ansermet, 1911–1960 (Geneva, 1988)
M.Bellier: Caractéristiques des ballets de Jean Françaix (diss., U. of Paris IV, Sorbonne, 1991) [incl. annotated bibliography, 93–123]
M.Bellier: ‘Jean Françaix wird achtzig’, Milhaud, musicien Françaix, ed. P. Huynh (Berlin, 1992), 12–13
M.-H.Rybicki and J.Luckwaldt: ‘Komponist zwischen “E” und “U”? Gespräch mit Jean Françaix’, Das Orchester, xliv/11 (1996), 12–14
M.Bellier: ‘La vie musicale au Mans pendant les années trente’, Revue historique et archéologique du Maine, xix (1999)