Franck, Johann Wolfgang

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Franck, Johann Wolfgang

Franck, Johann Wolfgang, German composer; b. Unterschwaningen (baptized), June 17, 1644; d. c. 1710. He was brought up in Ansbach, and served there as court musician from 1665 until 1679. He composed 3 operas for the Ansbach court: Die unvergleichliche Andromeda (1675), Der verliebte Fo’bus (1678), and Die drei Tochter Cecrops (1679). On Jan. 17, 1679, in a fit of jealousy, he allegedly killed the court musician Ulbrecht, and was forced to flee. He found refuge in Hamburg with his wife, Anna Susanna Wilbel (whom he had married in 1666), and gained a prominent position at the Hamburg Opera. Between 1679 and 1686 he wrote and produced 17 operas, the most important of which was Diokletian (1682). His private life continued to be stormy; he deserted his wife and their 10 children, and went to London, where he remained from 1690 to about 1702. The exact place and date of his death are unknown. In London he organized (with Robert King) a series of Concerts of Vocal and Instrumental Music. He publ. Geistliche Lieder (Hamburg, 1681, 1685, 1687, 1700; republ. in 1856 by D.H. Engel, with new words by Osterwald; newly ed. by W. Krabbe and J. Kromolicki in vol. 45 of Denkmäler Deutscher Tonkunst), Remedium melancholiae (25 secular solo songs with Basso Continuo; London, 1690), arias, etc.


F. Zelle, J.W. R, Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der altesten deutschen Oper (Berlin, 1889); R. Klages, J.W. F., Untersuchungen zu seiner Lebensgeschichte und zu seinen geistlichen Kompositionen (Hamburg, 1937).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire