César Franck was born in Belgium
in 1822. He showed early talent as a pianist, so much so that he entered the
Liege Conservatoire at the age of eight and his ambitious father took him on
tour when he was only twelve. In 1836 the family moved to Paris and Franck
entered the Paris Conservatoire, winning many prizes in performance and
father’s wish that César become a virtuoso pianist (which almost amounted to
exploitation) he finally asserted himself and turned seriously to composition.
Perhaps his most famous orchestral works are the Symphony in D minor and
the Symphonic Variations.
Angelicus was composed in 1872, originally for tenor, organ, harp, cello and
double bass. He later added it to his three-voice Messe Solennelle which
had been written in 1860.
The Latin text
(translated as ‘O Wondrous Heavenly Bread’) refers to the bread of the Holy