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.
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