When the professor of organ retired at the Paris Conservatoire in 1872, Cesar Franck's name was top of the list - a nomination that exposed the embarrassing fact that Franck was Belgian and not a French citizen! Quickly naturalizing himself and took up the post, taking on a tight-knit circle of students including Vincent d'Indy, Louis Vierne and Henri Duparc. The group's mutual esteem and affection for their teacher led to them each calling him Père, Father Franck.
This new post gave Franck more time to compose, drawing on ideas that he had been mulling over for several years, including the symphonic poem Les Eolides (the breezes). At this time, the composer found himself caught between two stylistic advocates. On the one hand, his wife didn't much care for the changes in his style that she was not used to. On the other, his pupils (who had a surprising influence on their teacher) felt differently. D'Indy said "When Franck was hesitating over the choice of this or that tonal relation or over the progress of any development, he always liked to consult his pupils, to share with them his doubts and to ask their opinions". How did Franck react? He produced some of his most advanced works, including another symphonic poem Le Chasseur Maudit.
This superb recording features pieces by Father Franck from this complicated time in his compositional development, with both Les Eolides and Le Chasseur Maudit performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.