César-Auguste-Jean-Guillaume-Hubert Franck (10 December 1822 – 8 November 1890) worked in Paris during his adult life.
He was born at Liège, in what is now Belgium (though at the time of his birth it was part of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands). He gave his first concerts there in 1834 and studied privately in Paris from 1835, where his teachers included Anton Reicha. He moved to Paris, where he married and embarked on a career as teacher and organist. He gained a reputation as a formidable musical improviser, and demonstrated new instruments built by Aristide Cavaillé-Coll.
In 1858, he became organist at the Basilica of St. Clotilde, Paris, a position he retained for the rest of his life. He became professor at the Paris Conservatoire in 1872; he took French nationality, a requirement of the appointment.
The Trois Chorals are amongst Franck’s best-known works. They are characterized by great religious solemnity and were intended more for the concert organ as far as their dimensions are concerned. Many organists consider them to be César Franck’s legacy. After being involved in a road accident in May 1890, Franck died at the beginning of November 1890. He had probably already begun work on the Trois Chorals before his accident, in 1889. Yet we know that their completion was delayed until autumn 1890.
These were finished in August and September 1890, and are among the greatest treasures of organ literature, and which form a regular part of the repertory today. Of them, Léon Vallas wrote: "Their beauty and importance are such that they may be properly considered as a kind of musical last will and testament."
In his book, "César Franck", Vincent d'Indy says that the dedications on the score are incorrect. The actual dedications are: No. 1- Alexandre Guilmant, No. 2 - Theodore Dubois, and No. 3 - Eugene Gigout.
Please see the FIRST COMMENT for another dedication. :-)
The score is attached below, as well as several Franck and Franck related photos.