French music before the First World War, noted Ravel, was a severely partisan, factional phenomenon, divided broadly into two opposing schools. ‘The Old comprises the disciples of César Franck [d’Indy, the Schola Cantorumites, Duparc, Dukas], and Claude Debussy may justly be considered the principal initiator of the New’ (Cahiers d’aujourd’hui, February 1913). Artistic crossover and the open admiration of one for the other wasn’t discouraged though—witness Debussy in the Easter issue of Gil Blas
(13 April 1903). ‘In Franck we find a real devotion to music. We must take it or leave it. Nothing in the world could have made him alter any part he considered right and necessary, however long it may have been—we just have to sit through it […] César Franck serves music without seeking any glory. What he takes from life, he puts back into art with a modesty that is almost selfless.’ Tournemire thought the late Third Choral to be ‘the simplest’ of the series. Structurally, it follows a broad tripartite scheme: Exposition (toccata/chorale)—Middle Section (‘seraphic’ subject/development)—Reprise (chorale).
from notes by Ates Orga © 2008