Masterclass: Henri Demarquette on Franck’s Violin Sonata (Cello Version)


The cellist looks at the conflicts of French atmosphere and German Romanticism in the first and second movements

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I heard my mother – a violinist – play the Franck Sonata many times when I was a boy. We lived in Burundi until I was ten years old and it reminds me of concerts in the country’s beautiful African churches, landscapes and surroundings; but most of all it brings back early memories of my childhood.

When I was 14 years old, living in France, I was very happy and surprised to learn that there was a cello version of the piece, written by cellist Jules Delsart and approved by Franck himself. It was Pierre Fournier who first told me about it, and who gave me his own score as a gift. That was in 1984, two years before he died, during a wonderful, memorable summer academy at the Geneva Conservatoire in Switzerland. I never played the Sonata for him and I don’t know why he decided to give me his music. Maybe he thought it wasn’t performed by cellists as much as it should be. Now I play it often, and with great pleasure.

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