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Tournemire L'orgue Mystique


nachthorn
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A little while ago I acquired the first CD set (Cycle de Noël) of Georges Delvalleé's complete L'Orgue Mystique recording. The liner notes explain the concept of Tournemire's work - to supply music written in a quasi-improvisatory style using appropriate plainchant for each Sunday of the year - and the musical writing appeals to me greatly, although I get the impression that it's music that rewards patient study too. I've since acquired the third CD set (the first half of the Cycle après la Pentecôte) and am trying to get hold of the other two sets at a reasonable price.

 

I have tried to locate the music, and the only source I can find is the Leduc website, where each 'week' is listed at an average price of 20 euros, or over £700 for all 51! Clearly at this price I need to be selective...

 

What do people think about L'Orgue Mystique? Which 'weeks' are particularly appealing? Should I start at the start, or are there some parts more worth the effort than others?

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A little while ago I acquired the first CD set (Cycle de Noël) of Georges Delvalleé's complete L'Orgue Mystique recording. The liner notes explain the concept of Tournemire's work - to supply music written in a quasi-improvisatory style using appropriate plainchant for each Sunday of the year - and the musical writing appeals to me greatly, although I get the impression that it's music that rewards patient study too. I've since acquired the third CD set (the first half of the Cycle après la Pentecôte) and am trying to get hold of the other two sets at a reasonable price.

 

I have tried to locate the music, and the only source I can find is the Leduc website, where each 'week' is listed at an average price of 20 euros, or over £700 for all 51! Clearly at this price I need to be selective...

 

What do people think about L'Orgue Mystique? Which 'weeks' are particularly appealing? Should I start at the start, or are there some parts more worth the effort than others?

 

 

=================================

 

 

I always claim never to enjoy French organ-music m,uch, but I lie!

 

I really do like the music of Tournemire, which is so incredibly original and inventive. I'm not sure which parts of it were transcribed from recordings by Durufle, or whether that includes L'Orgue Mystique, but one of my favourites is that recorded by the late Jeanne Demessiuex at Liverpool Met Pot, which I believe is part of the Penetcost Cycle.

 

I'll have to dig it out, 'cos I have the music somewhere.

 

MM

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nachtorn,

Pity you bought the first and third CD sets as the whole lot has been released as one box set at a very reasonable price, generally available - have a look at Amazon. There is also a CD by Delvallee of the Sept Chorals-Poemes recorded at St Sulpice in 2002, beautiful music; I think No. 4, Eli, Eli, lamma sabacthani?, could be one of my desert Island discs. Musing Muso - l'orgue Mystique was not transcribed by Durufle, he did the "five improvisations", that's all as far as I know.

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I too am a great fan of Tournemire's music. I tend to keep the Delvalle CD's in the car and work through them from time to time on long journeys. No traffic jam can be boring if you have L'Orgue Mystique to go at.

 

I particularly like the masses that end with a Chorale Alleluiatique (sp?). Last autumn whilst on holiday in Devon one of them captured my mind to the extent that I had to listen to it 3 or 4 times a day. Is it just me being a little obsessive or do other people sometimes get this reaction to a piece?

 

I assume he goes out of copyright in two years time. I don't know whether this will bring down the price of his music. Knowing French publishers, perhaps not! Will it become legal to take photocopies then?

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I have recently bought a recording of Marie-Bernadette Dufourcet playing extracts from L'Orgue Mystique (Mostly Chorales Alleluiatiques) with high expectations, having greatly enjoyed the Cinq Improvisations, but must confess to finding my recent purchase a little hard going to listen to. Maybe its just me, but this music doesn't seem to have the freshness, the vitality of "Victimae Paschali" for example. Nothing against the player: Mrs. Hakim is more than equal to the task, and certainly nothing against the organs: La Trinite for most of it, and even Sacre-Coeur for two of the pieces. It's just the music, which is almost turgid in places, despite sounding technically demanding.

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The complete L'Orgue mystique is also listed in the United Music Publishers organ catalogue for 2007. Click on the link to the organ catalogue PDF at:

http://www.ump.co.uk/catalog.htm

 

The average price (circa 29 Euros) is somewhat higher than what you've found at Leduc, Nachthorn, so it will all depend on how much shipping you'll pay. Still, thank you for your email, as I was just about to order some from UMP and for me Leduc looks cheaper.

 

Nick, indeed for those countries where copyright expires 50 years after the composer's death, 2009 will see the works move out of copyright. Trouble is, I am not able to locate a complete set in any of the Australian libraries. And, those sites (that I've found) that offer scanned PDFs of music that is out of copyright aren't particularly useful as the quality of the scan is not good enough to make for comfortable playing.

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My favourites are:

vol.7 - Epiphania Domine

vol.32 - Assumptione BMV (probably also the most popular form L'O.M.)

and

vol.51 - Dominica XXIII post pentecosten (with the thrilling Te Deum)

 

Recordings:

- Vol.7 and 51 are combined on a disc by MB-Dufourcet-Hakim at Sacre-Coeur (Priory records)

- vol.32 is on a disc by Susan Landale at Caen (Calliope)

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Thanks for all your advice. Jon, I have particularly enjoyed listening to the improvisation on Victimae Paschali, but bear in mind that when Duruflé transcribed it, he made some important changes to tighten up the structure of the piece. (I want to be able to cite a source for this, but I can't remember where I read it now - sorry!) L'Orgue Mystique, in direct contrast, is written music designed to sound like improvisation.

 

Oh, and I'm glad I'm not the only person to listen to it in the car :lol: I must admit to having the same reaction on occasion, where a piece lodges itself in my mind and I have to listen to it a lot!

 

I was aware of the complete box set by Delvalleé, but I'd already bought the first set, and if I can find the two remaining sets at the price I bought the first two, the total cost will end up less than the complete set - I just have to be patient and shop around!

 

NH

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Oh, and I'm glad I'm not the only person to listen to it in the car :lol: I must admit to having the same reaction on occasion, where a piece lodges itself in my mind and I have to listen to it a lot!

 

 

NH

I’ve had the Delvalleé L'Orgue Mystique complete set since Christmas 05, but haven’t got to the end yet – I too listen most of the time in the car – and I bought low noise tyres to help! I find that – apart from the Sorties- it has an amazing calming effect. :P

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  • 2 weeks later...
I too am a great fan of Tournemire's music. I tend to keep the Delvalle CD's in the car and work through them from time to time on long journeys. No traffic jam can be boring if you have L'Orgue Mystique to go at.

 

I particularly like the masses that end with a Chorale Alleluiatique (sp?). Last autumn whilst on holiday in Devon one of them captured my mind to the extent that I had to listen to it 3 or 4 times a day. Is it just me being a little obsessive or do other people sometimes get this reaction to a piece?

...I keep mine for listening on the train now, although I started by setting myself a quota to listen to at bedtime, but that was a little contrived I fear and soon tailed off!! I bought the Delvallee sets on three consecutive trips to Paris about five years ago (from FNAC)...and no, I personally don't think it's obsessive to listen over and again - and then to continue listening in one's head for weeks on end...

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Following this thread I decided to order the Delvallée complete set from Amazon, which arrived today- a quick audition whilst importing to iTunes suggests they will make for good listening. The CD booklet sheds some light on the liturgical significance of each movement- not your typical organ mass with a grand entrée and stirring sortie, by any means...

 

Is any one familiar with the paintings by Tom Walker inspired by this cycle?

 

http://www.tommwalker.co.uk/tournemire.htm

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I have particularly enjoyed listening to the improvisation on Victimae Paschali, but bear in mind that when Duruflé transcribed it, he made some important changes to tighten up the structure of the piece. (I want to be able to cite a source for this, but I can't remember where I read it now - sorry!)

 

There is no need for a written source: just compare the original recording of Tournemire's improvisation (EMI) with the printed text of the Duruflé-transcription. :rolleyes:

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Following this thread I decided to order the Delvallée complete set from Amazon, which arrived today- a quick audition whilst importing to iTunes suggests they will make for good listening. The CD booklet sheds some light on the liturgical significance of each movement- not your typical organ mass with a grand entrée and stirring sortie, by any means...

 

Is any one familiar with the paintings by Tom Walker inspired by this cycle?

 

http://www.tommwalker.co.uk/tournemire.htm

 

The artist Mark Rowan-Hull has done similar work with the music of Messiaen, as can be seen on the CD covers for Gillian Weir's recordings of the complete works:

 

http://gillianweir.com/cds/messiaen-new.shtml

 

The last release features Messiaen's Monodie - does anybody actually play this? Have you played it in public? Gillian Weir confessed to me that she was somewhat embarrassed about including it is a recital series featuring the complete organ works. The score gives the duration of something like 8 minutes but she gets through it in about 4!

 

Peter

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There is no need for a written source: just compare the original recording of Tournemire's improvisation (EMI) with the printed text of the Duruflé-transcription. :rolleyes:

 

Yes, that would work! Sadly I own neither at present, so I couldn't check this myself...

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Thanks for all your advice. Jon, I have particularly enjoyed listening to the improvisation on Victimae Paschali, but bear in mind that when Duruflé transcribed it, he made some important changes to tighten up the structure of the piece. (I want to be able to cite a source for this, but I can't remember where I read it now - sorry!)

 

I'd be interested to know which of Duruflé's changes "tighten up the structure of the piece". Having compared his transcription to Tournemire's own recorded performance of the Victimae Paschali improvisation - remastered on CD, there's much detail which Duruflé has missed as opposed to structural changes.

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=================================

I always claim never to enjoy French organ-music m,uch, but I lie!

 

I really do like the music of Tournemire, which is so incredibly original and inventive. I'm not sure which parts of it were transcribed from recordings by Durufle, or whether that includes L'Orgue Mystique, but one of my favourites is that recorded by the late Jeanne Demessiuex at Liverpool Met Pot, which I believe is part of the Penetcost Cycle.

 

I'll have to dig it out, 'cos I have the music somewhere.

 

MM

That's no 24 - Sunday after Ascension - a really fiery finale

 

Others I've decided to buy/learn include no 2 - a very lyrical set for Advent, 35 and 51 - the finale ends the whole cycle and Tournemire goes to town withh the Te Deum theme adding many decorations and filigrees reflected in the title 'Te Deum et Guirlandes Alleluiatiques'.

 

There's lots of other T'mire worth a look eg Sei Fioretti, Triple Choral. And in similar style the Hymnes of Daniel-Lesur - try In Paradisum - Tournemire plus!

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I am so pleased that this topic has come up as I have always been passionate about Tournemire. To me he has a voice like no other, and when I first heard his music - the now famous recording of Office 24 by Flor Peeters from Liverpool Metropolitan - it would scarcely be an exaggeration to say that this sounded like the music I had been waiting for all my life.

 

I started by learning Office 24 - it is fabulous music, and not at all difficult in terms of its technical demands, although I think with this music that it selects its own players - if you love Tournemire, you will probably play it well anyway.

 

I do not play a great deal of L'Orgue Mystique, although the Choral Alleluiatique from Office 44 is absolutely devastating ; I remember being speechless the first time I heard it in the Delvalee recording.

 

The Offertoire for All Saints day is superb (Office 48) , likewise the Triptyque for Holy Saturday.

 

Adrian Gunning recorded a selection of the cycle at Coventry Cathedral which is an excellent introduction to the series, and a couple of years ago Richard Lea performed the complete series liturgically over a year at Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral.

 

Tournemire, incidentally, was always entirely happy for some of the larger individual movements to be played as concert items, which I have often adopted myself.

 

Of all the Tournemire recordings I have heard, Delvalee's are by far and away the best - he seems to have the absolute feel and pulse of this music. There is an American series by Timothy Tikker on an organ, and in a style, I find far from persuasive. Marie Dufourcet Hakim recorded a couple of the offices at the Sacre Coeur on an old Priory recording. I remember not finding these terribly gripping, although she plays the Fresque Symphonique Sacrees fabulously well - the second, for Pentecost, is a superb piece.

 

Tikker has also recorded the Symphony Choral, and a few years ago there was a matching recording by Jane Watts at Orleans Cathedral, together with the early Triple Choral. This was rather beautiful, although I could never really take to her performance of the larger piece.

 

Tom Walker's realisations of the offices are powerful and haunting ; I met Tom years ago at his St Paul's Cathedral exhibitions and we have been firm friends since. In around 1990 we gave a series of concert performances of the Seven Words with his paintings in a couple of English cathedrals, as well as music festivals overseas. We also had the huge privilege of playing the Seven Words at Beauvais Cathedral (the building that inspired the music ; all of Tournemire's larger symphonic canvases are inspired by a particular church or cathedral). This is tough music, but hugely rewarding to play. There are a number of recordings around (at one stage I was negotiating to record the piece myself, but this never came to fruition) but, again, Delvalee knocks everyone else into a cocked hat.

 

I know the scores are expensive, but do not be put off by this ; it is wonderful music and, as many of the contributors to this thread have said, it gets into your soul, and will keep you company for life.

 

So far as the improvisations are concerned, I have yet to hear a good complete set of all of them, although there are individual recordings which are well known - I dislike the fact that Victimae Paschali has become something of a showpiece, but the Jane Parker Smith recording from Blackburn was stunning.

 

Rupert Gough is now producing his own edition of the improvisations which are transcribed more closely from the Tournemire originals. It has always been fairly common knowledge that Durufle re- worked the improvisations to make them (slightly) more in his own image, but Gough seems to have got the most accurate facsimiles. I know that Stephen Farr performs a couple and is working on the set, and I believe they are due to be published by Wayne Leopold next year.

M

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As a music lover, rather than an organist, I am also pleased to see so many positive comments about Tournemire's organ music on this thread. Wonderfully atmospheric. Another CD which I don't think has yet been mentioned is of the Symphonie-Choral op.69, Symphonie Sacree op 71, Fresque Symphonie Sacree nos.1 and 2, op 75 and 76. Recorded by Delvallee at St Sernin, an old(ish) recording of 1989 probably no longer available, but superb. On a negative note, sometime ago I bought a few CDs on the Marco Polo label of some of his orchestral symphonies, and I'm afraid I didn't find them attractive at all. I'd be interested if anyone has any other comment on these.

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it would scarcely be an exaggeration to say that this sounded like the music I had been waiting for all my life.

...that is exactly how I felt on first hearing....

 

Tom Walker's realisations of the offices are powerful and haunting ; I met Tom years ago at his St Paul's Cathedral exhibitions and we have been firm friends since. In around 1990 we gave a series of concert performances of the Seven Words with his paintings in a couple of English cathedrals, as well as music festivals overseas

...I think this must have been the exhibition which I saw at Brighton St Peter (my local church at the time)...

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Another CD which I don't think has yet been mentioned is of the Symphonie-Choral op.69, Symphonie Sacree op 71, Fresque Symphonie Sacree nos.1 and 2, op 75 and 76. Recorded by Delvallee at St Sernin, an old(ish) recording of 1989 probably no longer available, but superb.

 

This marvellous recording is still available. Have a look here... Tournemire Symphonies

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Good news, certainly, that a major post-romantic composer

for the organ regains interest.

Next step now is to take his british equivalents out

of the purgatoire...

(Yes, I'm already flying to the Falklands).

 

Pierre

 

Any chance of some names, Pierre?

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