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Celebrating the pipe organ, the King of Instruments

Marie-Claire Alain

[Marie-Claire Alain]
Marie-Claire Alain

[1992 Jaeckel organ at Pilgrim Congregational Church, Duluth, Minnesota][decorative stamp]
1992 Jaeckel organ at Pilgrim Congregational Church, Duluth, Minnesota

[1995 Marcussen organ at Tonbridge School chapel, Kent, England, UK][decorative stamp]
1995 Marcussen organ at Tonbridge School chapel, Kent, England, UK

[Alain Family organ at the Maison de la Dime, Romainmotier, Switzerland][decorative stamp]
Alain Family organ at Romainmôtier Organ Academy, Switzerland

[1890 Cavaille-Coll organ at the Church of Saint Ouen, Rouen, France][decorative stamp]
1890 Cavaillé-Coll organ at the Church of Saint Ouen, Rouen, France

[1894 Cavaille-Coll organ at the Church of Saint Antoine, Paris, France][decorative stamp]
1894 Cavaillé-Coll organ at the Church of Saint Antoine, Paris, France

Alain on Alain (Part 2)

…the remarkable Marie-Claire Alain talks about the unique power of the compositions by her older brother and first teacher, Jehan Alain [1911-1940].

He wrote one of the best known, and most powerful organ scores of the 20th century, titled Litanies, and during his short life created an astonishing array of deeply communicative compositions. On our next Pipedreams program the works of Jehan Alain will be performed by an international array of soloists, including composer’s sister Marie-Claire. Jehan was the talented older brother, Marie-Claire the little black sheep whom he encouraged. Jehan was killed early in World War II, at the age of 29 and Marie-Claire has championed his music ever since, music which now the whole world knows.

Mysterious, miraculous, the music of Jehan Alain, revealed to us by the woman who has championed it throughout her own remarkable international career. Marie-Claire Alain is our special guest for Alain on Alain, this week on Pipedreams.

Program Broadcast dates:

•February 25, 2002 as Show #0209

•July 16, 2007 as Show #0729

Links and Resources:

Listen to audio excerpts of an interview Michael conducted with Marie-Claire

Music played in the program

JEHAN ALAIN: Litanies [1937] –Marie-Claire Alain (1752 Valtrin; 1848 Callinet; 1971 Schwenkedel/Basilique Saint-Christophe, Belfort, France) Erato ECD-88194

JEHAN ALAIN: Suite [1935]:
1st movement, Introduction et VariationsThomas Trotter (1983 van den Heuvel/Nieuwe Kerk, Ketwijk aan Zee, Netherlands) Argo CD 430 833;
2nd movement, ScherzoKevin Bowyer (1995 Marcussen/St. Augustine Chapel, Tonbridge School, Kent, England, UK) Nimbus NI 5551/2;
3rd movement, ChoralÉric Lebrun (1894 Cavaillé-Coll/Église Saint-Antoine des Quinze-Vingts, Paris, France) Naxos 8.553632/33

JEHAN ALAIN: Premiere Fantasie [1933] –Wolfgang Rübsam (1970 Rieger/Marienstatt Abbey, Germany) Bayer BR100 198/9

JEHAN ALAIN: Deuxiemme Fantasie [1936] –Christophe Mantoux (1890 Cavaillé-Coll/Église Saint-Ouen, Rouen, France) Studio SM 1221.61

JEHAN ALAIN: Aria [1938] –James Higdon (1992 Jaeckel/Pilgrim Congregational, Duluth, MN) RBWCD-005

JEHAN ALAIN: Un cercle d’argent, from Trois Minutes –Marie-Claire Alain (1899 Ghys; 1988 Cicchero/Basilique Saint-Ferjeux, Besançon, France) Erato ECD-80214

JEHAN ALAIN: Trois Danses [1937-39]:
1st movement, Joies/JoysGuy Bovet (Alain Family organ/Maison de la Dime, Romainmotier, Switzerland) Gallo CD-851;
2nd movement, Deuils/Mourning - Funeral Dance to Honor an Heroic MemoryMarie-Claire Alain (1752 Valtrin; 1848 Callinet; 1971 Schwenkedel/Basilique Saint-Christophe, Belfort, France) Erato ECD-88194;
3rd movement, Luttes/StruggleMarie-Claire Alain (1993 Haerpfer/Valloires Abbey, France) Erato ECD-85773

Filler –Litanies (see above)

Madame Alain has compiled a small book devoted to her brother and his music: Critical Notes on the Organ Works of Jehan Alain, published by Alphonse Leduc, Paris, France with an English translation by Norma Stevlingson.