François Francoeur, classical music composer

François Francoeur


François Francoeur (8 September 1698 – 5 August 1787) was a French composer and violinist.

He was born in Paris, the son of Joseph Francœur, a basse de violon player and member of the 24 violons du roy. Francœur was instructed in music by his father and joined the Académie Royale de Musique as a violinist at age 15. After travel and performances in the principal European culture centres, he returned to Paris as a member of the Concert Spirituel. Francœur was appointed to the 24 violons du roy in 1730 and Maître de musique (music instructor) to the Opera in 1739.

In 1744, he and François Rebel, his lifelong colleague and friend, were appointed inspecteurs musicaux (music directors) of the Paris Opera—centre of the French music world—becoming responsible for all phases of its management in 1757. Rebel and Francœur faced numerous challenges in their joint roles, including a large financial deficit, lack of discipline, as well as handling contentious disagreements between traditionalists who favored French operatic tragedies and its mythological themes versus partisans of Italian opera's simpler lyricism and contemporary subjects matter, known as the Querelle des Bouffons.

King Louis XV appointed Francœur as his Music Master in 1760, ennobling Rebel in the same year and Francœur himself in May 1764. Disaster struck when the Paris Opera by consumed in flames on 6 April 1763, and the two directors were forced to resign in 1767 in its aftermath. However, Louis asked Rebel to return to the Opéra as Administrateur général in 1772, a position he held to shortly before his death three years later. Francœur resigned himself from the music world, living in retirement until his own death in 1787 at age 89. He was thus spared the fate of his nephew, Louis-Joseph Francœur, Master of the King's Chamber music and orchestra director, who was imprisoned during the French Revolution until the fall of Robespierre in 1794.

His surviving compositions, published in Propylaen der Musik, V. 2 (1989), include two books of violin sonatas, 10 operas (including one about the life of Skanderbeg) and some ballets, created jointly with François Rebel. Thus he is often quoted as a rare case of collaboration in musical composition. A sicilienne and rigaudon were initially attributed to him, in a publication by Fritz Kreisler, but were eventually revealed to be the work of Kreisler himself.

Composer Title Date Action
François Francoeur Pastourelle 02/03/2010 Play Add to playlist