Vierne: Complete Organ Music / Rübsam

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Organ works account for only 17 of Vierne’s 62 opus numbers, and yet no one would now question his status as the organ’s greatest symphonist after Franck and Widor. His six symphonies stand at the pinnacle of the 20th-century literature for the instrument: the six-movement First Symphony with its fugue and celebrated Final (‘my Marseillaise’, as he referred to it); the Second, his masterpiece, with its scintillating scherzo; the Third, the shortest and most concise; the Fourth, whose tortured outer movements are in sharp contrast to the buoyant Menuet and sumptuous Romance; the Fifth, the longest, and in many respects the most elevated; his Sixth and last, the most harmonically advanced and psychologically complex, rising from the depths of despair to ebullience in its rampant Final. In complement to the symphonies, Vierne composed several suites of pieces ‘in a free style’, as well as more impressionistically conceived sets of fantasy pieces. Music specifically designed for the liturgy includes a pair of organ masses – one of them a requiem – and a triptych of meditations. Whether reflective and deeply etched with chromaticism or ebullient and thunderous, all of Vierne’s output for his own instrument is conceived with the sound and tonal variety of Cavaillé-Coll’s organ’s in mind – one of the largest of all being the organ at Notre Dame in Paris, where Vierne occupied the post of titular organist for many decades.

The German-American organist Wolfgang Rübsam has himself been counted among the finest living organists for many decades, internationally known through over a hundred highly acclaimed albums of organ repertoire from the Baroque and Romantic periods including recent Bach recordings on the lute-harpsichord for Brilliant Classics: ‘These lovely performances memorably showcase Rübsam’s sensitive and poetic side.’ -Classics Today


Louis Vierne composed sixty-two opus-numbered works, most of which were for the organ. His organ oeuvre consists of 6 symphonies, 2 low masses, 24 pieces in the free style and 4 volumes of fantasies. Away from the organ, his other music includes orchestral, chamber, song cycles and church music. His organ works were written with a specific type of instrument in mind, those built by Aristide Cavaillé-Coll (1811-1899), who revived organ building in France to produce “the symphonic organ”. Rübsam performs on three organs in this collection: Aristide Cavaillé-Coll Organ at Saint-François-de-Sales, Lyon, Aristide Cavaillé-Coll Organ at Saint-Antoine-des-Quinze-Vingts, Paris and the Ernest M. Skinner Organ at Rockerfeller Memorial Chapel, Chicago. Full specifications of each instrument are included in the booklet.

This is a thoroughly enjoyable set, well recorded and well apportioned. For those coming to Vierne for the first time, this comprehensive collection will provide the ideal primer.

-- MusicWeb International


Product Description:

  • Release Date: March 25, 2022

  • Catalog Number: BRI96398

  • UPC: 5028421963983

  • Label: Brilliant Classics

  • Number of Discs: 8

  • Period: 20th Century

  • Composer: Louis Vierne

  • Performer: Rübsam, Wolfgang