(b Zaandam, 12 July 1908; dVirginia Beach, VA, 14 April 1988). American composer of Dutch birth. He studied law at Amsterdam University and was a composition pupil of Willem Pijper. In 1934, after the successful première of his First Symphony in Rotterdam, he emigrated to the USA. On 15 March 1938 he gave a concert of his own works at Town Hall, New York. He became an American citizen in 1942. Franco is a prolific composer. Like many of his large works the Fifth Symphony is cyclical in structure; his harmonies tend towards polymodality. He has written much music for solo instruments, notably the carillon, which has had his special attention since 1952. For vocal and choral works he frequently uses texts by his wife, Eloise Bauder Lavrischeff. In 1974 he was awarded the Delius Prize for Ode, a work for male chorus and symphonic band.
Orch: 5 syms., 1933, 1939, 1940, 1950, 1958; Conc. lirico, vn, chbr orch/pf, 1937; Fantasy, vc, orch, 1951; 5 other conc. lirici; other works for orch/str
French family of string players and composers in the service of the Musique de la Chambre du Roi and the Paris Opéra throughout the 18th century.
(1) Joseph Francoeur [Francoeur père]
(2) Louis Francoeur [l'aîné]
(3) François Francoeur [le cadet]
(4) Louis-Joseph Francoeur [Francoeur neveu]
MICHELLE FILLION/CATHERINE CESSAC
(1) Joseph Francoeur [Francoeur père]
(bc1662; d Paris, 1741). Bass violinist. On 7 September 1687 he married Charlotte Converset, daughter of the violinist Jean Converset. He joined the 24 Violons du Roi in 1706 and the Opéra orchestra in 1713.
(2) Louis Francoeur [l'aîné]
(b Paris, c1692; d Paris, before 18 Sept 1745). Composer and violinist, son of (1) Joseph Francoeur. He began his career in the Opéra orchestra in 1704. On 26 May 1710 he took possession of J.-B. Anet's seat in the 24 Violons du Roi and in 1717 was promoted to leader of the group. There he met Jean-Fery Rebel, whose son François Rebel was to become the lifelong associate and friend of (3) François Francoeur. On 9 May 1715 Louis was granted a privilege valid for 15 years, covering the publication of his two sets of violin sonatas. Throughout the 1730s, and until his death, he (with his brother) was a frequent performer in concerts at the royal residences: in 1739, for example, he participated in 80 such functions. On 6 May 1737 he married Anne-Madeleine Briscollier, who bore him two children of whom only (4) Louis-Joseph Francoeur survived infancy. A royal edict of 18 September 1745 granted Louis-Joseph the succession to the seat in the 24 Violons made vacant ‘by the death of Louis Francoeur, his father’.
Louis Francoeur published two books of violin sonatas: the Premier livre de sonates (Paris, 1715) and the IIe livre de sonates (Paris, ?1726). They are generally in five movements of contrasting character, ranging from fast contrapuntal allegros, showing the influence of Corelli, to slow movements with highly ornamented melodic lines and a rich harmonic language. The technical demands, especially the frequent arpeggiation, testify to his skill as a violinist.
(3) François Francoeur [le cadet]
(b Paris, 21 Sept 1698; d Paris, 5 Aug 1787). Composer and violinist, son of (1) Joseph Francoeur. A violin pupil of his father, he began his long association with the Paris Opéra at the age of 12 as a dessus de violon in the Grand Choeur; shortly afterwards he became a member of the Musique de la Chambre du Roi. The privilege he acquired on 22 August 1720 preceded the publication of his first set of violin sonatas in the same year. Also in that year, he took part in Lalande's ballet Les folies de Cardenio. In 1723 Francoeur and François Rebel left France in the retinue of General Bonneval, travelling to Vienna and Prague. Marpurg commented on the importance of his exposure to the operatic music of those two centres to the composer’s later development: ‘The arias of his composition clearly indicate that their composer had ventured beyond the borders of France’ (Historisch-kritische Beyträge, i/3, p.237).
In 1726 the professional collaboration between Francoeur and Rebel (seeRebel family, (4)), to last about 45 years, began in earnest with the production of Pyrame et Thisbé, the first of many such joint creations. So close was their association that it is virtually impossible to differentiate the two men's contributions; it is no wonder that the public regarded them as one dual personality. They remained inseparable until Rebel's death in 1775, an event that greatly saddened Francoeur's last years.
In 1727 Francoeur acquired the succession to the position of compositeur de la chambre du roi from Jean-François de la Porte, and in 1729 was admitted to the royal military orders of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and St Lazare of Jerusalem, honours rarely granted to a musician. In 1730 he replaced Senaillé in the 24 Violons du Roi, joining his father and brother. Among these successes two incidents occurred that were later to cause him problems: his ill-fated marriage to Elisabeth Adrienne le Roy (daughter of the playwright Adrienne Lecouvreur), which ended in an ugly legal struggle in 1746, and the Francoeur-Pélissier-du Lys scandal (discussed with zest by La Laurencie), which raised public resentment against Francoeur and may have accounted for the failure of Scanderberg in 1735. In February 1739 Francoeur was promoted to maître de musique at the Opéra, and on 15 August 1743 he became inspecteur général (musical director) with Rebel. On 27 February 1744 he was granted the succession to the seat of Collin de Blamont as surintendant de la musique de la chambre.
A new stage in Francoeur's career began in the mid-1750s. In 1753 he retired from the Opéra on a pension and in 1756 freed himself from the duties of the Chambre du Roi. This left him free to tackle a far larger project with Rebel, the direction of the Opéra. On 13 March 1757 they were engaged with a 30-year contract, beginning 1 April 1757. From the beginning they were plagued with difficulties: a large deficit, personnel problems, lack of discipline, the controversy surrounding the Querelle des Bouffons, culminating in the destruction by fire of the Opéra on 6 April 1763. Public opinion rose against them and they were forced to resign as from 1 April 1767. But in May 1764, at the height of these problems, Louis XV raised Francoeur to the nobility in recognition of his loyal service. After leaving the Opéra in 1753 Francoeur retained his position as surintendant de la musique de la chambre until his retirement in 1776. Antoine Dauvergne, his successor, had described Francoeur in his Etat des personnes qui composent le comité de l'Opéra (1770) as ‘Homme honnête, plein d'intelligence, de zèle et d'activité’.
Misconceptions surrounding the sources of the Francoeur-Rebel operas have given rise to persistent misattributions. Scores copied by professional scribes have been erroneously identified in the Paris Conservatoire catalogue (now in F-Pn) as autographs of François Francoeur, while François's own revisions are attributed to his nephew (4) Louis-Joseph Francoeur. Louis-Joseph, whose handwriting is easily distinguished from François's, did not revise his uncle's scores, though he did stamp his signature in them. Between 1777 and 1783 (i.e. after Rebel's death) François revised seven of their works, although there were no plans for further performances. With the help of professional scribes who wrote in the text, and other verbal material, he made changes in some existing manuscripts and produced several new manuscript ‘final editions’. All manuscripts involved in this process bear an autograph statement that ‘the score found here conforms to the intentions of the authors’, but do not represent versions of the operas that were actually performed.
In the lyrical field Francoeur and Rebel remained devoted to the tradition of Lullian opera, even in their arrangements for revivals. Francoeur's style is more modern in his chamber music, however, which bears comparison with contemporary Italian sonatas.
all published in Paris in year of composition
Pyrame et Thisbé (tragédie en musique, prol, 5, J.-L.-I. de La Serre, after Ovid), Paris, Opéra, 17 Oct 1726, collab. F. Rebel, F-Pn, Po*
Tarsis et Zélie (tragédie en musique, prol, 5, La Serre), Paris, Opéra, 15 Oct 1728, collab. F. Rebel, Pn*, Po (printed score with perf. annotations by Francoeur)
Scanderberg (tragédie en musique, prol, 5, A.H. de Lamotte and La Serre), Paris, Opéra, 27 Oct 1735, collab. F. Rebel, Pc (pts for Act 1 excerpt), Pn (1 autograph; 1 copy with annotations by Francoeur), Po (incl. autograph passages by Francoeur)
Le ballet de la Paix (ballet-héroïque, prol, 3, P.-C. Roy), Paris, Opéra, 29 May 1738, collab. F. Rebel, Pn*, Po (ov., prol; 2 sets of pts), pubd with 2 addl entrées (c1739)
Le retour du Roi à Paris, dialogue chanté devant Sa Majesté (divertissement, 1, Roy), Paris, Hôtel de Ville, 15 Nov 1744, collab. F. Rebel, Pc; rev. Versailles, 8 Sept 1745
Les Augustales (divertissement, 1, Roy), Paris, Opéra, 15 Nov 1744, collab. F. Rebel
Zélindor, roi des Sylphes (divertissement, 1, F.-A. P. de Moncrif), Versailles, 17 March 1745; with Le trophée (prol, Moncrif), Paris, Opéra, 10 Aug 1745, collab. F. Rebel, Pn (autograph with later revs.), Po
La Félicité (ballet-héroïque, prol, 3, Roy), Versailles, 17 March 1746, collab. F. Rebel, lib Po
Ismène (pastorale-héroïque, 1, Moncrif), Versailles, Petits Cabinets, 20 Dec 1747, Paris, 28 Aug 1750, collab. F. Rebel, Pc (pts), Pn (autograph with later revs.; printed score with perf. annotations), Po (1 score with autograph passages and revs. by Francoeur; 1 with pts)
Le Prince de Noisy (ballet-héroïque, 3, C.-A. LeClerc de la Bruère), Versailles, Petits Cabinets, 13 March 1749, Paris, 16 Sept 1760, collab. F. Rebel, Pn*, Po (incl. autograph passages by Francoeur)
Les génies tutélaires (divertissement, 1, Moncrif), Paris, Opéra, 21 Sept 1751, collab. F. Rebel, Po (pts)
Prol and intermèdes for Les fées (comédie, 3, F. Dancourt), Fontainebleau, 23 Oct 1753
2 intermèdes for Le magnifique (comédie, prol, 2, Lamotte), Fontainebleau, 15 Nov 1753
Rev. versions of Lully's Thésée, 1754; Proserpine, 1758, Pn (excerpts), Po; Amadis de Gaule, 1759, Po (printed score of 1684 with autograph perf. annotations by Rebel); Armide, 1761, Pn*, Po (pts); Persée, 1770, collab. B. de Bury and A. Dauvergne
Iphis et Iante (ballet-héroïque, 1, Roy), Fontainebleau, 26 Oct 1769 [music from Act 2 of Le ballet de la Paix]
Final duo to scene 7 of Dauvergne, La Tour enchantée (ballet-figuré, after N.-R. Joliveau), Versailles, 20 June 1770, music lost; scene 3 taken from Rameau
Les mélanges lyriques (ballet-héroïque), Paris, Opéra, 1773 [music arr. from Ismène and Zélindor]
Addns to Marais' Alcyone, and Rameau's Dardanus, Hippolyte et Aricie, Zaïs, Zoroastre, Pc, Po
 Sonates, vn, bc, 2e livre (Paris, after 1720), no.12 also with vc/viol
Symphonies du Festin Royal de Mgr le Comte d'Artois, fanfares (Paris, 1773)
Recueil de différents airs de symphonies de M. Francoeur, F-Pc
Recueil de symphonies composées soit pour les opéras de ces auteurs [Francoeur and Rebel], soit pour les opéras d’autres auteurs, Pc
Airs propres, dulcimer, Pc
Pièces de trompettes copiées par Philidor, Pc
(4) Louis-Joseph Francoeur [Francoeur neveu]
(b Paris, 3 Oct 1738; d Paris, 10 March 1804). Violinist, composer, editor and opera administrator, son of (2) Louis Francoeur. After his father’s death he was brought up by his uncle (3) François Francoeur. In September 1745 a royal edict granted him succession to his father's seat in the 24 Violons du Roi. Between 1746 and 1752 he served as page of the Musique de la Chambre, leaving that post to join the Opéra orchestra. In 1754 he bought Luc Marchand's succession to the position of joueur de luth de la chambre, which does not necessarily imply that he played this instrument.
Francoeur's career at the Opéra was more illustrious than that in the royal chamber. In 1764 he was raised to assistant maître de musique of the Opéra orchestra, second to Berton, and when the latter succeeded François Francoeur and Rebel as director in 1767 Louis-Joseph replaced him as first maître de musique, a post he retained until 1779, when he became director of the orchestra. La Borde praised Francoeur highly for his reorganization of the Opéra administration and the high standards of performance under his leadership. In 1781 he retired from the Opéra but was re-engaged by 1787 when he was again mentioned as assistant director of the governing committee. The disorders of the French Revolution dealt a heavy blow to Francoeur's career. In 1790 the Opéra became a public utility free of royal ties; Francoeur promptly resigned and tried to organize a new company supported by the king. The Francoeur-Cellerier company, founded in 1792, was short-lived and financially disastrous to Francoeur. On 16 September 1793 he was imprisoned by the revolutionary forces and, though freed less than a year later, found himself without pension and deeply in debt. He was re-engaged at the Opéra, remaining an administrator there until 1799. His few original compositions are of less importance than his revisions of the music of others. He was thought to have made late revisions to works of his uncle's, but although he did stamp his signature on revised scores, the difference in their hands makes it clear that the autograph amendments are not by Louis-Joseph. His grasp of compositional technique is evident both in his arrangements and in his theoretical works Diapason and Tachygraphie.
in F-Pc unless otherwise stated
Les Rémois ou Les brouilleries villageoises (intermède, 1), 1757
L'Aurore et Céphale (ballet-héroïque, 1), Paris, Magasin de Musique de l'Académie, 7 May 1766
Lindor et Ismène (ballet-héroïque, 1), Paris, Opéra, 29 Aug 1766 [1st entrée in Les fêtes lyriques (ballet-héroïque, M. de Bonseval), other 2 entrées by Rameau and P.-M. Berton]
Palémon et Sylvie (pastorale-héroïque, 1, Brunet)
Chloé et Sylvandre (op, 2)
Brouillon des changements qu'on m'a fait faire dans l'opéra d'Ajax [by Bertin de la Doué] lorsqu'on remis cet ouvrage au théâtre en 1768 ou 1769
Rev. of Lully's Amadis, Act 2 scene i
Rev. of aria Qu'un beau jour renaisse sans nuage [from F. Francoeur's Scanderberg], 1v, vn, bc
Sketches for several acts of Lully's and Gluck's Armide
Divers airs de danse instrumentaux et vocaux
Les traits charmants que l'amour lance, ariette, S, 2 vn, fl, bc; Paralisie, apoplexie et léthisie, tout menace ma vie, ariette from comedy, S, vn, bc; Que l'absence de ce qu'on aime, air, S, vn, bc; Tout ce qui respire dans ce divin séjour, air gracieux, chorus 4vv, orch; Venez plaisirs, accourez tous, air tendre, S, vns, fls, bc
Borée et Orithie (cant.), B, orch; Circé (cant.), B, orch, 1756; Le bouquet de Vénus (cantatille), B, orch
theoretical works and other writings
Diapason général de tous les instruments à vent (Paris, 1772, 2/1781/R); ed. E.A. Choron as Traité général des voix et instruments d'orchestre principalement des instruments à vent à l'usage des compositeurs (Paris, 1813)
Tachygraphie ou Sténographie musicale (MS, 1794, F-Pc*)
Académie royale de musique, sommaire général (MS, Po*)
Essai historique sur l'établissement de l'Opéra en France, depuis son origine jusqu'à nos jours et diverses notes sur ce théâtre (MS, Po*)
L'Opéra avant la Révolution de 1789 (n.p., n.d.)
MGG1 (R. Girardon)
GroveO (M. Fillion) [with further bibliography]
L.-C.Lavallière: Ballets, opéra, et autres ouvrages lyriques (Paris, 1760/R)
L.B.Francoeur: Notice sur la vie et les oeuvres de Louis-Joseph Francoeur, par son fils (Paris, 1853)
F.Robert: ‘Scanderberg le héros national albanais dans un opéra de Rebel et Francoeur’, RMFC, iii (1963), 171–8
B.Gérard: ‘Documents des Archives de Paris’, RMFC, xi (1971), 221–9 [letter of Louis-Benjamin Francoeur]
B.Gérard: ‘Inventaire alphabétique des documents répertoriés relatifs aux musiciens parisiens, conservés aux Archives de Paris’, RMFC, xiii (1973), 194–5
R.Langellier-Bellevue: La musique à la cour et à la ville d'après les actes du Secrétariat et des Dépêches de la maison du roi 1765–1793 (diss., Paris Conservatoire, 1976)