The Symphony in D, the only symphony ever written by César Franck, is without a doubt the Belgium composer's orchestral masterpiece. Dedicated to Henri Duparc, it imports the composition standards directly inherited from the German and Wagnerian traditions. In 1889, the year of its premiere, the anti-germanism reigning in France since the 1871 war against the Prussians was the cause of the stormy critics received for this symphony. Franck died only a year later. However the ferocity of these critics also carried the promises of a glorious future: the avant-garde later admitted that these critics were unjustly reactionary and nationalistic and used this adverse fervor in order to seize and protect Franck's work from its detractors. In the years following its premiere, the symphony was performed all over Europe and in 1899 it entered the repertoire of the Boston Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Wilhelm Gericke.
Acting as a great guardian of French music, Georges Prêtre conducts in Milan this piece full of symbols and undoubtedly very modern thanks to the use of the French horn in the orchestration – a choice that Ambroise Thomas would have deplored according to Vincent d'Indy.
Discover the second part of this concert of medici.tv: Georges Prêtre conducts Respighi