Charles Tournemire and L’Orgue Mystique

by Han Leentvaar | Het ORGEL | Year 95 | (1999) | Issue 28


Tjeerd van der Ploeg Charles Tournemire and L’Orgue Mystique
Het ORGEL 95 (1999), nr. 3, 10-20 [summary]

Charles Tournemire (1870-1939) is the most important innovator of late-romantic Frenchorgan music. In his magnum opus, L’Orgue Mystique (1927-1932), he paraphrased theGregorian Chants for Sundays and ecclesiastical holidays. L’Orgue Mystique consists ofthree major parts devoted to Christmas, Easter and Whitsuntide. It contains music forother ecclesiastical feasts as well. Each section has the same structure: Prélude àl’Introït, Offertoire, Elévation, Communion, Pièce terminale. Characteristic are thescoring (each manual has its own staff), the precise playing instructions, theimprovisational quality.

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Charles Tournemire (1870-1939)

Tournemire gravitated in L’Orgue Mystique towards older organ music, as did otherorganists of his time. The liturgical function of L’Orgue Mystique is comparable to thefunction of the classical Livre d’Orgue, although L’Orgue Mystique contains music for theproprium as well. The influence of the Northern German Stylus Phantasticus manifestsitself in short pedal motives, trills etc. As a result of this increased interest in oldermusic, the Cavaillé-Coll organ at Ste.-Clotilde at Paris, where Tournemire had succeededCésar Franck, was altered. However, not all of Tournemire’s registration instructionscould be realised with the new specification.

See also

• Tournemire