César-Auguste-Jean-Guillaume-Hubert Franck (10 December 1822 – 8 November 1890)
César Franck’s organ reputation rests firmly on just a dozen pieces, the ‘Big Twelve’. These include the three late, great Chorals and the Pièce héroïque, all dating from 1868 until the year of Franck’s death in 1890. They are essentially concert works designed to show off the quasi-orchestral capabilities of romantically voiced French organs.
This piece comes from the group of 44 pieces, most of which were published posthumously under the editorship of Franck’s son, Georges, in 1905. These were designed as liturgical offertories, for parish organists ‘in the provinces’, whose instruments – often harmoniums – were more modest.
However looking through them they are not without their technical challenges.