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Track(s) taken from CDA68046

Pièce héroïque, M37

1878; in B minor; No 3 of Trois pièces pour grand orgue, M35-37; composed for the opening of the Paris Trocadéro and first performed in its Salle des Fêtes by the composer on 1 October 1878

Simon Johnson (organ)
Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Studio Master:
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Recording details: April 2012
St Paul's Cathedral, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Richard Pinel
Engineered by Martin Haskell & Iestyn Rees
Release date: October 2013
Total duration: 9 minutes 17 seconds

Cover artwork: Night from the roof of One St Paul's Churchyard (2006) by Peter Spens
Private Collection / Bridgeman Art Library, London

Other recordings available for download

Christopher Herrick (organ)


'I am totally convinced throughout this splendid album by Johnson's playing, which is superbly poised and magnificently self-assured' (Gramophone)

'Transcribing Franck's D minor Symphony for organ works extremely well. Simon Johnson's performance on the instrument at St Paul's Cathedral is deftly paced, and the shorter pieces are also enjoyable' (BBC Music Magazine)» More

'This new Hyperion recording of Franck's Symphony in Simon Johnson's transcription and played by him on the great organ of St Paul's Cathedral is an impresssive and enlightening experience. Johnson clearly has the measure of the work … I was enthralled throughout. The Cantabile and the great Pièce héroïque are very finely performed … the detail in the recording is surprisingly good considering the venue, and the engineers have to be applauded for capturing this magnificent instrument in its more refined and gentle registration … Johnson's performance is beautifully paced throughout' (International Record Review)» More
A native of Liège, Belgium, César Franck (1822–1890) settled in Paris and became Professor of Organ at the Conservatoire and organist of the basilica of Ste-Clotilde, where he played (and was greatly inspired by) an organ by Cavaillé-Coll. His Trois pièces pour grand orgue, which conclude with Pièce héroïque, were written for the opening of the Trocadéro, Paris, a Moorish palace built for the World Exhibition of 1878 on the site now occupied by the Palais de Chaillot. The dark-hued, finely wrought main theme of Pièce héroïque, heard beneath a restless chordal accompaniment, is followed by a confident, on-the-beat pendant. Introduced by timpani-like notes, the tranquil middle section has a delicately scored chorale-like theme in B major. The timpani become increasingly insistent, and the re-introduction of the main theme and a swaggering reprise of its pendant lead to a major-key coda in which the ‘chorale’ is heard on the scorching tones of the full organ.

from notes by Relf Clark © 2010

Natif de Liège, en Belgique, César Franck (1822– 1890) s’installa à Paris, où il devint professeur d’orgue au Conservatoire et organiste de la basilique Sainte-Clotilde (dont l’orgue Cavaillé-Coll l’inspira beaucoup). Ses Trois pièces pour orgue, la présente Pièce héroïque étant la dernière, furent écrites pour l’inauguration du Trocadéro, un palais mauresque érigé pour l’Exposition universelle de 1878, sur le site de l’actuel Palais de Chaillot. De couleur sombre et finement ciselé, le thème principal de la Pièce héroïque, joué sous un incessant accompagnement en accords, fait place à un pendant confiant, régulier. Introduite par des notes façon timbales, la tranquille section centrale a un thème de type choral, subtilement écrit, en si mineur. Les timbales se font de plus en plus insistantes et la réintroduction du thème principal, ainsi qu’une bravache reprise de son pendant, débouchent sur une coda en majeur où le «choral» apparaît dans les sonorités cinglantes du grand jeu.

extrait des notes rédigées par Relf Clark © 2010
Français: Hypérion

Der im belgischen Lüttich geborene César Franck (1822–1890) ließ sich in Paris nieder und wurde Professor für Orgel am dortigen Konservatorium und Organist an der Basilika Sainte-Clotilde, deren von Cavaillé-Coll gebaute Orgel ihn hochgradig inspirierte. Seine Trois pièces pour grand orgue, die mit einem Pièce héroïque abschließen, wurden für die Eröffnung des anlässlich der Pariser Weltaustellung von 1878 am Standort des heutigen Palais de Chaillot im Stil eines Maurenpalasts gebauten Trocadéro komponiert. Auf das dunkel gefärbte, fein gewobene Hauptthema des Pièce héroïque unter der ruhelosen Akkordbegleitung folgt ein zuversichtlicher, rhythmisch regelmäßiger Anhang. Der ruhige, von paukengleichen Klängen eingeleitete Mittelteil hat ein zart strukturiertes, choralähnliches Thema in H-Dur. Die Paukenklänge werden beharrlicher, und die Rückkehr des Hauptthemas und einer hochtrabenden Reprise des Anhangs leiten zu einer Coda in Dur über, in welcher der „Choral“ mit voller Orgelwucht erscheint.

aus dem Begleittext von Relf Clark © 2010
Deutsch: Henning Weber

Other albums featuring this work

Organ Fireworks, Vol. 14
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