New French organ music, a guide (I)

by Jan Hage | Het ORGEL | Year 118 | (2022) | Issue 2

Grégoire Rolland, Suite liturgique (2019-2020)

This year, 2022, is a César-Franck year.  The composer was born 200 years ago.  The nature and quality of his organ works opened then untraveled roads and set a new standard.  His influence was so great that he is considered the father of the modern French organ school.  He stood at the beginning of a fruitful period with composers like Guilmant, Widor, Vierne, Tournemire, Dupré, Duruflé and Messiaen, whose organ works are still frequently performed throughout the world.  In this series of articles the central issue is the current state of organ music composition in France.  Are there still new works being composed for organ, or is the instrument passé?  And if there are, what is being written and how is that related to tradition?  Using the works of a number of composers of this moment, the author considers these questions, while giving at the same time a cross section of contemporary organ composing in France.  We see that the line from Franck continues without a break;  there is even a large group of productive composers, including young ones, who compose organ works of high quality.  In the first part Jan Hage discusses 3 composers:  Valéry Aubertin, Jean-Baptiste Robin, and Grégoire Rolland.