(late-70s release, featuring David Patrick, on the organ of Buckfast Abbey, South Devon)
Louis Vierne was born in Poitiers in 1870. He studied the organ at the Paris Conservatoire with Cesar Franck and then with Charles-Marie Widor and Alexandre Guilmant. He composed a variety of music in his lifetime, including for choral and orchestra, but the majority of his compositions were for organ.
Unlike his admirer Claude Debussy, who reacted against the Germanic style of composing, which was so dominant in the first third of the twentieth century, Vierne carried on with a fairly Teutonic style of composition.
Vierne's Sixth Symphony was his last major work, published in 1931, approximately six years before he passed away. As with symphony no.s 2 - 5, it is a five-movement work. The Sixth Symphony, is marked by having no aimless wanderings, instead a firm sense of purpose and direction. In the Introduction, Vierne treats his themes in a chromatic fashion, but never losing vitality.
The second movement, begins with a five bar phrase played on the manuals, giving a parallel harmonic motion and haunting melodic line, somewhat reminiscent of Gabriel Faure's organ pieces. The third movement is dashing, revealing much greater rhythmnic complexity and harmonic complexity, while the fourth, Adagio, is more tense and less lyrical, while containing a coda that is one of the most beautiful parts of the whole symphony.
The Final is of Rondo design, one of the composer's happiest moments.
Side One : Organ Symphony No.6, Op.59, by Vierne (1931) :-
1) I Intro and Allegro 2) II Aria
Side Two : Organ Symphony 6, continued ... :-
1) III Scherzo 2) IV Adagio 3) V Final
Records graded visually to RRPG grades
(photo four : insert)