Franchomme, Auguste (-Joseph)

Franchomme was a great French cellist, born at Lille, April 10, 1808. He died at Paris, Jan. 21, 1884.

Franchomme studied at the Lille Conservatory with Mas and Pierre Baumann, then with Levasseur and Norblin at the Paris Conservatoire, winning the premier prix in his first year. He played cello in various opera houses, and in 1828 he became solo cellist of the Royal Chapel. He was also a founding member of the Société des Concerts du Conservatoire.

In 1846 he was succeeded Norblin as first cello professor at the Paris Conservatoire. Jules Delsart, Louis Hegyesi and Ernest Gillet were among his pupils. He was a founder-member of the Alard Quartet, appearing in this capacity and also with the violinist Delphin Alard and pianist Charles Hallé in highly successful chamber music concerts.

Acknowledged as the most distinguished French cellist of his day, Franchomme advanced the elegant, smooth, light ³French² bow technique developed by Duport, combining with this a facile, accurate left hand and producing an expressive, singing tone. He was helped in this by Duport¹s great 1711 Stradivari, which he acquired in 1843 from Duport¹s son for the then record sum of 22,000 francs. This instrument was acquired by Rostropovich in 1974.

Franchomme formed a close friendship with Mendelssohn during Mendelssohn¹s visit to Paris in 1831. He was an intimate friend of Chopin; they collaborated on a Grand Duo Concertante (1833), and Franchomme rewrote the cello part of the Introduction et Polonaise BrillanteI Op. 3. Chopin dedicated his Cello Sonata op. 65 to Franchomme.

Franchomme¹s own compositions include a cello concerto and numerous cello solos with orchestral, chamber or piano accompaniment, as well as 12 Etudes op. 35 and 12 Caprices op. 7, with 2nd cello ad lib.

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