The name of Louis Vierne will be associated with organ music immediately. As did quite a few other 19th-century organists/composers he used the instrument as a means to perform ‘symphonic’ music. The scope in this respect was greatly enhanced by the organs built by Aristide Cavaillé-Col.
The blend of styles in this music for organ is unique. It contains aspects of Romanticism combined with an impressionistic ‘pastel-like’ quality. Like many of his contemporary colleagues Vierne felt a strong fascination with Wagnerian chromaticism. Yet this being early 20th-century Paris his own writing often contains traces of jazz.
An admirer and pupil of César Franck at thirty, the virtually blind Vierne was appointed organist at the Paris Notre Dame. Among many other pieces for organ he wrote six (five movement) symphonies. In this genre he clearly demonstrated his attraction to musical thematicism rather than tone colour.
The multi-talented Jeremy Filsell gives stunning performances of this colourful music.