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When Tournemire began work on lOrgue Mystique in 1927 he was 57 years old. As organist of the Basilica of Sainte-Clotilde for almost thirty years, and successor of the legendary C & eacute ; sar Franck, he was universally recognised as a towering presence in the Parisian organ world, and the greatest living master of the art of improvisation. But as an organ composer, at this date he was no more than a minor figure.
Tournemires contemporary and fellow Franck-pupil, Louis Vierne, had already written nearly all his organ music (the two sets of 24 pieces, and five of the six Symphonies); the early works of Marcel Dupré were attracting widespread attention, and even younger composers like Durufl & eacute; were starting to appear.
Tournemire had written almost nothing a few early harmonium and organ pieces (which he dismissed as sins of my youth), and just one big work, the Triple Choral of 1910. He had been far from idle during the past thirty years, but his ambitions as a composer extended far beyond the organ-loft, and he had devoted most of his time to the composition of major works for orchestra, many of them with voices, including eight symphonies and three operas.
The musical legend Le Sang de la Sirene won the prestigious Prix de la Ville de Paris in 1904, and the lyric drama Les Dieux sont morts (1912) was staged at the Paris Opera in 1924. But none of these works achieved more than a handful of performances at best, and most of the music that Tournemire wrote after the First World War was neither published nor performed.
In the liberated, pleasure-seeking Paris of the 1920s, Tournemire had become an increasingly isolated figure. A visionary idealist inspired by a profound catholic faith, he believed that the only true purpose of music was the expression of spiritual truth: music that was not written for the glory of God was inutile a waste of time.He was naturally attracted to the esoteric fringes of the Catholic Revival in 19th-century France; one of his favourite authors was the aesthete convert Huysmans, and his brother-in-law was the eccentric Jos & eacute;phin P & eacute;ladan, self-styled S & acirc;r of the Rosicrucians.
At Sainte-Clotilde Tournemire evolved his own unique style of rhapsodic liturgical improvisation, in which he crystallised his own uncompromising vision of the organ as the voice of prayer. Inspired by the fervour of his faith, the limpid beauty of the Gregorian chant, and the matchless poetry of the Bible, he conjured up every Sunday magical evocations of heavenly bliss and blazing visions of glory. His symphonic music was all inspired by the same ideals, but even in middle age he had not really found a distinctive musical language to match these ideals.
|1||07:44||14. Quinquagesima. V: Verrière|
|2||04:23||14. Quinquagesima II: Offertoire|
|3||06:15||3. Christmas. II: Offertoire (Molto Adagio)|
|4||09:29||26. The Holy Trinity. V: Triptyque|
|5||03:12||48. All Saints. IV: Communion|
|6||05:28||38. 12th Sunday after Pentecost. V: Choral No. 3|
|7||04:02||4. Sunday after Christmas. II: Offertoire|
|8||08:34||1. 3rd Sunday of Advent. V: Toccata|
|9||05:27||35. The Assumption of the BVM. II: Offertoire|
|10||02:52||35. The Assumption of the BVM. IV: Communion|
|11||06:37||43. 16th Sunday after Pentecost. V: Choral Alleluiatique No. 1|
|12||02:52||50. 22nd Sunday after Pentecost. IV: Communion|