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Celebrating the pipe organ, the King of Instruments

Mailbag: “Append a Top Ten?”

August 16, 2010


Dear Michael,

A) I’ve been thinking about the top 10 organist-composers and I’ve come up with the following list:
1) JSBach
2) Tournemire
3) Durufle
4) Vierne
5) Widor
6) Frank
7) Guilmant
8) Buxdehude
9) Liszt
10) Mendelson
It would be nice for you to share your top ten list (if you haven’t already).

B) I’d like to suggest an all-Tournemire program centered on L’Orgel Mystique. My favorite L’Orgel Mystique piece is the Office 44 Choral Alleluiatique No. 2 (I’ve just learned how to play it and it’s not all that difficult) which I consider to be one of the greatest organ pieces ever written and Georgs Delvallée’s interpretation is my favorite.

George

 

George,

I tend not to do top-ten lists. The content of yours is OK, though, despite the amount of creative work involved in his L’Orgue Mystique, I don’t think Tournemire ranks a #2 spot. Understand that I have been a Tournemire devotee since acquiring an Andre Marchal recording of the Epiphany Suite while still in high school, and agree that Delvallee does a great job. In too many cases, though, I think Charles was ‘smoking something’…the works are of very variable quality. Would that everything he composed were as cogent as the five pieces he improvised (that Durufle transcribed).
Given that, all-Tournemire program would put even me to sleep, I think. I do try to insert Tournemire with some occasional regularity, and can/will do more.

 

jmb

 

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