Vierne: 12 Preludes, Solitude, Nocturne

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Composer: Louis Vierne
Artists: Mūza Rubackytė (piano)

Vierne is well-enough known to organists, not least for the ever-popular Carillon de Westminster, but his piano music is well worth exploring. The 12 Preludes sprawl across the French post-Wagnerian tradition that encompasses not just Franck but Magnard and Reyer, full of long melodies and crashing, Lisztian octaves as well as glittering, impressionistic sequences. They demand and here receive a formidable technique and bold interpretative approach. Solitude is a four-movement suite which builds from a gloomy, organ-prelude like first movement to a ‘Hallucinatory vision’ and a ‘fantastical rondo’ finale worthy of Berlioz himself.

Rubackyte contributes her own booklet note, which is not only authoritative on Vierne’s music but well worth reading for the vicissitudes of Vierne’s life. Here she is on his demise: ‘When the organ [of Notre-Dame] was finally restored several years later, he had to fight hard to prevent it being done inadequately and on the cheap. And it was at the console of the restored instrument that Vierne’s life fittingly ended. On 2 June 1937, he slowly and painfully climbed up to the organ tribune, accompanied by Maurice Duruflé, who was to assist him in what was to be his 1750th organ recital. After performing the opening piece, his Tripytque, he was about to begin the improvisation when he slumped forward, his foot depressing the E pedal which sounded a long mournful note through the cathedral as his life ebbed away.’

Track list
00:00:00 Preludes, Op. 36 livre 1: I. Prologue
00:02:51 Preludes, Op. 36 livre 1: II. Tendresse
00:07:28 Preludes, Op. 36 livre 1: III. Pressentiment
00:10:32 Preludes, Op. 36 livre 1: IV. Suvenir d’un jour de joie
00:12:41 Preludes, Op. 36 livre 1: V. Nostalgie
00:16:39 Preludes, Op. 36 livre 1: VI. Par gros temps
00:18:52 Preludes, Op. 36 livre 2: VII. Evocation d’un jour d’angoisse
00:24:31 Preludes, Op. 36 livre 2: VIII. Dans la nuit
00:27:48 Preludes, Op. 36 livre 2: IX. Suprème appel
00:31:16 Preludes, Op. 36 livre 2: X. Sur une tombe
00:33:54 Preludes, Op. 36 livre 2: XI. Adieu
00:37:45 Preludes, Op. 36 livre 2: XII. Seul
00:42:15 Solitude, Op. 44: I. Hantise
00:47:35 Solitude, Op. 44: II. Nuit blanche
00:54:48 Solitude, Op. 44: III. Vision allucinante
00:57:31 Solitude, Op. 44: IV. La ronde fantastique des revenants
01:05:07 Nocturne No. 3, Op. 35

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