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Vierne, Louis -

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Louis Victor Jules Vierne (born 8th October 1870 in Poitiers, died 2nd of June 1937 in Paris) was a French organist and composer. At age 2 he heard a piano for the first time. The pianist played him a Schubert lullaby and he promptly began to pick out the notes of the lullaby on the instrument.



After completing school in the provinces, Louis Vierne entered the Paris Conservatory. From 1892, Vierne served as an assistant to the organist Charles-Marie Widor at the church of Saint-Sulpice in Paris. Vierne subsequently became principal organist at the cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris, a post he held from 1900 until his death in 1937.



Vierne had a life that was physically and emotionally very difficult, with severe spiritual trials that are occasionally reflected in his music. His congenital cataracts did not make him completely blind, but he was what would be called today "legally blind." Early in his career, he composed on outsized manuscript paper, using "a large pencil" as his friend Marcel Dupré described. Later in life, as his limited sight continued to diminish, he resorted to Braille to do most of his work.



He was deeply affected by a separation and subsequent divorce from his wife, and he lost his younger brother René, as well as his son Jacques, whom he adored, to the battlefields of World War I. Though he held one of the most prestigious organ posts in France, the Notre-Dame organ was in a state of disrepair throughout much of his tenure at the instrument. He eventually undertook a concert tour of North America to raise money for its restoration. The tour, which included major recitals on the famous Wanamaker organs in New York and Philadelphia, was very successful, although it physically drained him.



A street accident in Paris caused him to badly fracture his leg, and it was briefly thought his leg would need to be amputated. The leg was saved, but his recovery, and the task of completely re-learning his pedal technique, took a full year during one of the busiest times of his life. Despite his difficulties, however, his students uniformly described him as a kind, patient and encouraging teacher.



Vierne suffered either a stroke or a heart attack (eyewitness reports differ) while giving his 1750th organ recital at Notre-Dame de Paris on the evening of June 2, 1937. He had completed the main concert, which members of the audience said showed him at his full powers - "as well as he has ever played." After the main concert, the closing section was to be two improvisations on submitted themes. He read the first theme in Braille, then selected the stops he would use for the improvisation. He suddenly pitched forward, and fell off the bench as his foot hit the low "E" pedal of the organ. He lost consciousness as the single note echoed throughout the church. He had thus fulfilled his oft-stated lifelong dream - to die at the console of the great organ of Notre-Dame.



Vierne was considered one of the greatest musical improvisers of his generation. His few improvisations that were preserved on early phonograph recordings sound like finished, polished compositions.



He had an elegant, clean style of writing that respected form above all else. His harmonic language was romantically rich, but not as sentimental or theatrical as that of his early mentor César Franck. Of all the great fin de siècle French organists, Vierne's music was perhaps the most idiomatic for his chosen instrument and has inspired most of the great Parisian organist-composers who followed him.



His output for organ includes six symphonies, "24 Fantasy Pieces" (which includes his famous "Carillon de Westminster"), and "24 Pieces In Free Style," among other works. There are also several chamber works (sonatas for violin and cello, a piano quintet and a string quartet for example), vocal and choral music, and a symphony in A minor for orchestra.

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Total 30 Compositions
Notes
Series: One-movement compositions, Theme: miscellaneous
Orchestration: Organ, Difficulty: medium
Notes
Series: One-movement compositions, Theme:
Orchestration: Organ>wped, Difficulty: medium
Notes
(op. 31 no. 7)
Series: One-movement compositions, Theme:
Orchestration: Organ>wped, Difficulty: easy
Notes
Series: One-movement compositions, Theme: Christmas/Advent
Orchestration: Organ>wped, Difficulty: easy to medium
Notes
Series: One-movement compositions, Theme: Christmas/Advent
Orchestration: Organ>wped, Difficulty: medium to hard
Notes
Series: Songs (spiritual), Theme: miscellaneous
Orchestration: Choir>SATB, Difficulty: easy to medium
Notes
Series: Songs (spiritual), Theme: miscellaneous
Orchestration: Solo>alt+Choir>SATB+Organ, Difficulty: medium to hard
Notes
Series: Songs (spiritual), Theme: miscellaneous
Orchestration: Choir>SATB, Difficulty: medium
Notes
Series: Songs (spiritual), Theme: miscellaneous
Orchestration: Choir>SATB, Difficulty: medium
Notes
Series: Songs (spiritual), Theme: miscellaneous
Orchestration: Choir>SATB, Difficulty: medium
Notes
Series: Songs (spiritual), Theme: miscellaneous
Orchestration: Choir>SATB, Difficulty: medium
Notes
Series: Songs (spiritual), Theme: miscellaneous
Orchestration: Choir>SATB+Organ>wped, Difficulty: medium
Notes
(op. 31 no. 21)
Series: One-movement compositions, Theme: miscellaneous
Orchestration: Organ>wped, Difficulty: easy to medium
Notes
Series: One-movement compositions, Theme: Easter/Passiontide
Orchestration: Organ>wped, Difficulty: hard
Notes
Series: Messen, Theme: miscellaneous
Orchestration: Choir>SSATTBB+[Orgwp+Org], Difficulty: medium
Notes
Series: One-movement compositions, Theme: Autumn
Orchestration: Organ>wped, Difficulty: easy to medium
Notes
(op. 31 Nr. 17)
Series: One-movement compositions, Theme: miscellaneous
Orchestration: Organ>wped, Difficulty: easy to medium
Notes
Series: Messen, Theme: miscellaneous
Orchestration: Organ, Difficulty: easy
Notes
Series: One-movement compositions, Theme: miscellaneous
Orchestration: Organ>wped, Difficulty: easy to medium
Notes
Series: One-movement compositions, Theme: miscellaneous
Orchestration: Organ, Difficulty: easy to medium
Notes
Series: One-movement compositions, Theme: miscellaneous
Orchestration: Organ>wped, Difficulty: medium
Notes
Series: One-movement compositions, Theme: Easter/Passiontide
Orchestration: Organ, Difficulty: easy to medium
Notes
Series: One-movement compositions, Theme: miscellaneous
Orchestration: Organ>wped, Difficulty: medium
Notes
Series: One-movement compositions, Theme: Humor
Orchestration: Organ>wped, Difficulty: medium
Notes
Series: One-movement compositions, Theme: miscellaneous
Orchestration: Organ>wped, Difficulty: medium
Notes
Series: Messen, Theme: miscellaneous
Orchestration: Organ>wped, Difficulty: medium
Notes
Series: One-movement compositions, Theme: miscellaneous
Orchestration: Organ, Difficulty: hard
Notes
Series: One-movement compositions, Theme: miscellaneous
Orchestration: Organ>wped, Difficulty: medium
Notes
Series: One-movement compositions, Theme: miscellaneous
Orchestration: Organ>wped, Difficulty: medium to hard
Notes
Series: 24 Pieces and Free Style, Theme: Summer
Orchestration: Violin 3+[Vla+Vlc+Db], Difficulty: medium
Total 30 Compositions