French Masters of the Organ


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Saint-Saëns, Franck, Widor, Vierne, Dupré, Langlais, Messiaen

Michael Murray

View Inside Format: Cloth
Price: $58.00
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This engaging book discusses the colorful personalities and beloved music of the French romantic organist-composers. Michael Murray draws vivid portraits of Aristide Cavaillé-Coll (1811-1899), the greatest and most influential organ builder of his time, and of seven other musicians with connections to Cavaillé-Coll and to one another: Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921), César Franck (1822-1890), Charles-Marie Widor (1844-1937), Louis Vierne (1870-1937), Marcel Dupré (1886-1971), Jean Langlais (1907-1991), and Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992).
The book offers to lovers of French music and culture—and especially to student organists—details of these composers` lives and times and of their styles and techniques. Drawing on his personal acquaintance with Messiaen, Langlais, Dupré, and other famous contemporaries, and on period documents, original accounts, early recordings, and other primary sources, Murray examines the relationship between organ building and musical composition, the nature of romanticism and classicism, and the ever-perplexing question of composer versus interpreter.

Michael Murray is a concert organist whose thirty recordings—many of them devoted to the French romantic repertoire—are among the classical music industry`s best sellers. He has performed throughout Europe, the Far East, and North America. His books include Marcel Dupré: The Work of a Master Organist and Albert Schweitzer, Musician.

"French Masters of the Organ is full of information and fascinating anecdotes about Aristide Cavaillé-Coll, the greatest organ builder of his time, and seven organist-composers associated with him, his work, and each other. Written in a quick-moving, colloquial style, with a delicious sense of humor, the book will be a valuable addition to the library of any organ student or general musician interested in the period and personalities discussed."—Charles Krigbaum, Yale School of Music

"In this book Michael Murray paints portraits of the colorful personalities and the music of French romantic organist-composers including Cesar Franck, Charles-Marie Widor, Louis Vierne, Marcel Dupre, Jean Langlais, Olivier Messiaen, and Aristide Cavaille-Coll, the greatest and most influential organ builder of his time. The book offers details of these composers’ lives and times, styles and techniques, drawing on Murray’s personal acquaintance with some of the subjects as well as period documents, original accounts, early recordings, and other primary sources."—Chamber Music

"The book offers insight into each composer."—Choice

"This is an excellent book, and should be in all organists’ libraries."—Douglas Hollick, Music Teacher

"In its masterful presentation and compelling defense of an unjustly neglected repertory, French Masters of the Organ stands as an important work that even the nonorganist will find stimulating."—Benjamin Van Wye, Notes

"This history of French organ builders [is] extremely well written and interesting. The fourteen page bibliography and list of sources in the back stands as testimony to Murray’s extensive research, and the text itself is filled with historical material."—Pastoral Music

"This is an excellent book—a joy to read and to handle, and with an exemplary index."—Richard Lawrence, Times Literary Supplement

ISBN: 9780300072914
Publication Date: August 11, 1998
256 pages, 5 1/2 x 8 1/4