Franchomme is remembered today mainly as the dear friend and frequent performance partner of Chopin. Liszt introduced Franchomme to Chopin when they were in their early 20s, and their ensuing friendship became an important mooring in Chopin’s increasingly tempestuous life. Franchomme was the dedicatee of several of Chopin’s compositions including his final work, the Sonata for Piano and Cello, op. 65, and he was the recipient of the last letter Chopin wrote. Chopin incorporated Franchomme’s revisions in the revised version of the Introduction and Polonaise brillante, op. 3, and the two friends composed together their Grand Duo Concertant sur “Robert le Diable” de Meyerbeer.
Franchomme was an accomplished composer in his own right, but, remarkably, most of 50-some pieces he published during his lifetime have been out of print since his death The forthcoming CD on the Delos label, “The Franchomme Project,” offers world premiere recordings of some of these works. You can watch a video of me and Julia Bruskin performing the Nocturne, op. 14, no. 1 HERE, and of me and Saeunn Thorsteinsdottir performing the Nocturne, op. 15, no. 2 just below.
There will also be a Dover Performance Edition, Auguste Franchomme: Selected Works for Cello and Piano, selected and introduced by me (Dover, 2015). More information on Auguste Franchomme and the Franchomme Project HERE.
Franchomme first appeared as soloist before the grand public at a concert of the Société des Concerts, during its second season, when he was just 21.
Dimanche 29 Mars 1829
1. Ouverture d’Oberon, de Weber.
2. Air tiré de l’Hymne de la nuit, de M. Lamartine, musique de M. Neukomm, chanté par M. Wartel.
3. Solo de cor, par M. Mengal.
4. Symphonie en la de Beethoven (redemandée).
5. Chœur de Weber.
6. Solo de violoncelle, par M. Franchomme.
7. Alleluia, grand chœur du Messie de Haendel.
Most likely he offered one of the Caprices he would eventually publish as his op. 7. This is what Fétis wrote in the Revue musicale a few days later:
Un jeune homme, un enfant, M. Franchomme, est venu, ignore, jouer sans prétention un solo de violoncelle, de manière à se mettre tout à coup sur la ligne des plus grands artistes. Il a dit un thême, sans aucun ornement, et toute l’assemblée fut transportée de plaisir. … Trois, quatre, cinq salves d’applaudissemens ont à peine suffi pour exprimer le plaisir qu’avait éprouvé l’assemblée.
A young man, a child, M. Franchomme, has come, unknown, and played without pretention a cello solo, in a manner that suddenly places him in the lineage of the greatest artists. He stated a theme, without any ornament, and the audience was transported. … Three, four, five rounds of applause were barely enough for the audience to express their pleasure.