Cesar Franck and David Enlow


Thursday, November 17th, 7pm
Church of the Ascension
Fifth Avenue at Tenth Street
New York City, New York
$20 general admission
Tickets >


Pièce Héroïque (from Trois Pièces)
Grande Pièce Symphonique
Final (from Six Pièces)
Cantabile (from Trois Pièces)
Choral en la-mineur / Choral in A Minor

Franck and the Organ

Franck may be remembered most widely for “Panis Angelicus”, the violin sonata, or the symphony, but his spiritual home was at the keys of the magnificent organ of Ste-Clotilde, where he played for most of his career. To appreciate the soul of Franck, then, is to hear his organ music, including the Choral in A Minor, the very last piece he wrote and a summation of his life’s work. Franck realized the orchestral scale and expressive possibilities of the organs of the genius builder Aristide Cavaillé-Coll, and this was the first flowering of a great tradition in French musical composition, that of the “French Symphonic Organ”, one which thrives in France to this day, and which is one of the principal elements of organ playing in the USA.

Franck's Influence in America

In Franck’s heyday, the 1860s, fast steamship travel had not yet brought the frequent touring of European artists that the 20th century would enjoy through the work of Guilmant, Dupré, and others. Still, a very few well-heeled musicians travelled to France and sat at the side of the maître to absorb his music, and they brought back the sheet music in their steamer trunks. Franck dedicated one of his major works to one such American, Miss Augusta Holmes..

Ascension Organ

The Only French Organ in America

When the Church of the Ascension on Fifth Avenue wanted to commission an organ in memory of Sir Edwin Manton & Lady Manton, Dr. Dennis Keene knew that the work of the Pascal Quoirin organ works in Saint-Didier was among the best in the world, and would thus produce a true monument of the organ-builder’s art.  The result is the only French organ custom-built for a church in the United States, and a jewel in New York City’s crown of organs. French organ sound is as special as the cuisine, painting, or any of the rest of the cultural heritage, and to experience it live in New York is a special privilege.

Organist David Enlow

David Enlow has received rave reviews in Anglophone and Francophone musical press for his recording of the complete organ works of Franck from 2012, and on this special 200th anniversary, David feels compelled to share this great music with the public

Download Bio: En Francais  >    Auf Deutsch  >

The Canadian organist literally pulled out all the stops, including [the zimbelstern], in Henri Mulet's Carillon-Sortie, a performer's delight which attested to Mr. Enlow's enormous virtuosity. Virtuosity marked the program from the outset in Bach's Toccata and Fugue in F major. Enlow shaped the monumental Toccata into a multi-hued showpiece complete with lively pedal-work which contrasted with the gravitas of the fugue.— Stuttgarter Zeitung

Watch & Listen

"Commanding" - The New Yorker
"immense virtuosity" —Stuttgarter Zeitung
"sensitive ... dramatic ... masterful" —The AAM Journal
"crisp ... superb ... gutsy" —Organ Canada

Even more striking than his technical brilliance are the Canadian's imaginative and rapid registration changes, which make him an artist of interest. The whirring dance of Louis Vierne's “Naïades,” glimmering from within the closed Swell box, played a delightful contrast to Mozart's Fantasie in f minor. — Stuttgarter Zeitung, August 2012


Review of Pater Seraphicus
from The American Organist, October 2013 by James Hildreth

“Enlow’s performance style is often improvisatory, capturing in a unique way the manner in which Franck himself may have performed. Enlow demonstrates a keen sensitivity to line and phrase, employing copious amounts of rhythmic nuance, … highlighting or underlining phrase structures.”

“While Enlow plays with a sense of freedom, his tempos are strong and compelling, whether expansive, lingering, poetic, or energetic, driving, agitato. The loving tenderness he imparts to the central melodies of the Choral in A Minor and Grand Pièce Symphonique, or the impetuous drive of the “storm” section of the Pastorale or the main theme of the Choral in A Minor are but a few of the myriad examples of Enlow’s arresting performances.”

“Enlow has successfully and brilliantly achieved his goals here. One can easily find excellent recordings of the Franck works … However, this remains an outstanding choice among the plethora of recordings of Franck’s organ music.”

from l’Orgue Francophone (Journal of Federation Francophone des Amis de l’Orgue)

Pater Seraphicus, the major organ works of Franck by David Enlow at the organ of St Mary the Virgin, Times Square, New York City. [Pro Organo CD 7247 ; 3 CD] At first hearing, the entry of the reeds is surprising, or even confusing, as their character is very different to that which our ears are accustomed to. We must over-ride that, and put aside our Franck-ist and Symphonic atavism. David Enlow truly has much to say in the works of Franck, which he has perfectly comprehended and which he renders with personal expression while remaining faithful to the spirit of Franck. This approach is well suited to American organs, especially the Church of St Mary the Virgin in New York (Aeolian-Skinner Op. 891, 1932, revised and augmented from 1988-2002 by Mann & Trupiano) is a gem.

from l'Orgue, Décembre 2012
by Georges Cattin, Translation: Monique Dori

…the interpreter of this Franck set is David Enlow, graduate of the best American schools. He is a pure example of what the U.S. can offer, for an organist, at its best: perfect technique, inventive, flexible, vigorous musicality, free of conventions of registration that often make Franck's music so boring on the Old Continent.

In short, we have here all the ingredients of a lively rendering neither too fast nor too powerful, with magnificent reed colors, a sense of phrasing of extraordinary good taste and a subtle and effective rubato. Compared with the two very beautiful sets of Franck works mentioned above, we are here in a state of total surprise at a happy encounter with a joyfully revitalized.

from Mixtures, la Fédération Québécoise des Amis de l'Orgue, Nov 2012
by Robert Poliquin

"Without a doubt, the artist has a flawless technique. His reading of the different works is remarkable, and is reflected in his playing."


From an audience perspective, however, it was his ‘Improvised Suite’ on anonymously submitted themes that was perhaps the most fun to listen to. Enlow highlighted the strengths of the instrument in a meditative Finnish folk song during the ‘Prelude’ section and tackled Gustav Holst’s melodious tune ‘Thaxted’ in the splendid ‘Cantabile’ movement. My favourite part was the clever finale, a double fugue that combined ‘O Canada’ and ‘God save the Queen’. This was a real treat, especially the rousing end which managed, at least for a few seconds, to transform the sanctuary into an Olympic stadium with the audience cheering for the medal contender. —Organ Canada, September 2012

Franck CDs

cd cover

David Enlow plays César Franck
Purchase at proorgano.com or by calling toll-free: 800-336-2224
Sponsored by the Welsh Church of New York

…the interpreter of this Franck set is David Enlow, graduate of the best American schools. He is a pure example of what the U.S. can offer. . . perfect technique, inventive, flexible, vigorous musicality, free of conventions of registration that often make Franck's music so boring on the Old Continent. — l'Orgue, Décembre 2012