Sunday, December 13, 2015, 3:15 PM
Charles Tournemire (1870-1939)
from L'Orgue Mystique
I. Dominica III Adventus • Pièce Terminale: Toccata
IV. De Dominica infra Octavam Nativitatis • Pièce Terminale: Postlude-Choral
III. Nativitas D.N. Jesu Christi • Pièce Terminale: Paraphrase
L'ORGUE MYSTIQUE BY CHARLES TOURNEMIRE
Charles Tournemire’s L’Orgue Mystique represents a pivotal point in the history of liturgical organ music. This recondite magnum opus, composed between 1927 and 1932, comprises two hundred fifty-three movements written for the Mass. Fifteen hours in duration, this epic work employs over three-hundred chants both as an act of devotion and as musical exegesis based upon the chant libretto with the goal of celebrating fifty-one Sundays and Liturgical Feasts throughout the Church Calendar.
Although today shrouded in popular obscurity, Tournemire was a seminal musical influence of the twentieth century, particularly in the realm of sacred music. Born in Bordeaux in 1870, Tournemire, who was a student of César Franck and Charles-Marie Widor, was organist of the Basilica of Sainte-Clotilde in Paris from 1898 until his death in 1939, where he was known as an improviser extraordinaire. He produced and enormous compositional output of incredible profundity. His greatest work, the magnum opus L’Orgue Mystique, transformed the sound of the organ world, hearkening to the past with its use of Gregorian Chant and yet welcoming it into modernity with its innovative mystical sonorities.
Organist Richard Spotts, a native of Bucks County, Pennsylvania and a graduate of Westminster Choir College in Princeton, has set out to perform and educate the public of this seminal work, with the ultimate goal of performing the complete fifteen-hour cycle in a recital series over a period of ten days. Mr. Spotts has given recitals at cathedrals, universities, and parishes throughout the United States and Canada and is writing a book on the subject.