Paris at the turn of the Century

Paris_au_tournant_du_SicleParis au tournant du Siècle




For the centenary of the birth of André Marchal, Susan Landale renders, at the Oberthur organ of Auxerre cathedral, a homage to her maître.
In choosing this programme, Susan Landale has especially focused on friends, elder contemporaries or mentors of Marchal, with the aim of recreating the musical atmosphere of the turn of the 19th- 20th century.


Louis Vierne
, organist of Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris from 1900 until his death at the console in 1937, was a pupil of Franck and Widor at the Paris conservatoire. He dedicated his Fourth Symphony and the Impromptu from the Pièces de Fantaisie to André Marchal, and was a close friend of the Marchal family; Marchal’s daughter, Jacqueline remembers him as a “grand-père” (grandfather). The Berceuse is on the traditional French lullaby: Do, do, l’enfant do.
Gabriel Pierné became organist of St Clotilde after the death of César Franck in 1890, a post he relinquished in 1898 in order to devote more time to orchestral conducting. His successor was Charles Tournemire. The Trois Pièces, from which the Prélude and the Scherzando de concert are taken, date from 1893.
Jean Huré
was a pupil of Guilmant. On the death of Gigout, in 1925, he was appointed organist of St Augustin; a post that had been offered to Gigout’s outstanding pupil André Marchal, who had often deputized for him there, but who was already engaged at Saint-Germain des Prés. The Communion on a Noël, one of only two pieces he composed for organ, was written in 1913 and dedicated to Joseph Bonnet.
Joseph Bonnet was born in 1884 in Bordeaux. He became a pupil of Tournemire, then of Guilmant at the Paris conservatoire. In 1906, after his “premier prix” in the organ class, he was appointed organist of St Eustache. No doubt inspired by Guilmant,  he undertook many recital tours in Europe and North America, and took a lively interest in early music, publishing editions of Bach, Frescobaldi, and a series of Historical Organ Recitals. A virtuoso organist, he also composed three volumes of Twelve Pieces and several miscellaneous pieces, among which we find the Variations de Concert. Unable to regain Europe at the outbreak of war in 1939, he remained in North America and died in Canada in 1944. André Marchal then succeeded him as organist of St Eustache.
Born in 1870, the same year as Louis Vierne, Charles Tournemire was also a pupil of Franck and Widor at the Paris conservatoire. In 1898 he succeeded Pierné at St Clotilde, where he quickly became famous for his brilliant improvisations on the Gregorian chants for each Sunday and Feast Day in the church’s year. With the encouragement of Joseph Bonnet, he transposed many of these to the 51 “Offices” of L’Orgue mystique, elaborated between 1927 and 1932. Each “Office” contains an Introit, Offertory, Elevation, Communion and Sortie (Postlude), and each movement is based on the plainsong of the day. Thus the Office of the Assumption uses the Gaudeamus (Introit), Assumpta est Maria (Offertory and Elevation), Optimam partem (Communion) and Ave maris stella and Salve regina for the final Paraphrase-Carillon.
Eugène Gigout, himself a pupil of Saint-Saëns, was André Marchal’s professor at the Paris conservatoire, where he was appointed in succession to Guilmant in 1911. Organist of St Augustin from 1863 until his death in 1925, he was also a prolific composer and a well-loved teacher. The Grand Choeur dialogué was composed in 1881 and dedicated to Alphonse Mailly, a pupil of Lemmens. The Minuetto, Scherzo and Toccata belong to the Ten Pieces of 1892. All four works figured regularly in André Marchal’s recital programmes.

 

 

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