César Franck (1822-1890) composed Panis Angelicus in 1872 while he was professor of organ at the Paris Conservatoire. The Belgian-born but ultimately French composer wrote some glorious music, brimming with intoxicating, inventive melodies. Although known primarily as a stand-alone piece, Panis Angelicus was also included by Franck within his Mass for Three Voices. However, Panis Angelicus was completed in 1872 – twelve years after the Mass – so its inclusion was a rather belated affair.
César Franck was a precociously talented child, adept not just at composition but also as a concert pianist. His particularly demanding father placed considerable pressure on the young composer, urging him to teach alongside his studies. Despite the pressure from his father, the young César wasn’t dissuaded from following a musical path in later life. And for that, we can be truly thankful.