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Track(s) taken from CDH55044

Symphony No 2 in E minor, Op 20


David Hill (organ)
Recording details: September 1987
Westminster Cathedral, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Antony Howell
Release date: July 1989
Total duration: 35 minutes 49 seconds

Other recordings available for download

Jeremy Filsell (organ)


'Lovers of French late-Romantic organ music are well served by this disc made in 1987 when David Hill was in charge of the music at Westminster Cathedral and brilliantly revivfied it' (BBC Music Magazine)
The Deuxième Symphonie in E minor, Op 20 (1902) is cyclic and draws virtually exclusively on the germinal ideas announced in the first movement. The initial theme [A] is rhythmic (marked marcato), the second [B] more hymn-like and lyrical. The opening Allegro (in sonata form) is dark and turbulent and the following Choral seems a further 'homage à Franck'. As in the Chorals of Franck, Vierne's theme is original, but it is constructed from the two main themes of the first movement heard in reverse order. The dramatic ascent to the chorale theme's ecstatic re-appearance towards the close is grandiloquent and majestic.

The dance-like scherzo (where, in its contrasted second episodes, [A] is heard on an 8' pedal beneath limpid phrases high up in the compass) looks forward to many of the Pièces de Fantaisie in its quicksilver textures and the Cantabile converts themes [A] and [B] both tonally and rhythmically. After a 'maestoso' lntroduction, the Finale begins where the opening Allegro left off. Hardly the well-known crowd-pleaser of the First Symphony, the main theme [A] reappears only altered slightly and the brooding disquiet of the opening Allegro is maintained. The ending, which ultimalely establishes the tonic major key, is triumphant but not transfigured. Debussy heard the Symphony at its premiere (played by its dedicatee Charles Mulin) and commented that 'The Symphonie of M. Vierne is a remarkable work; it contains abundant musicianship with ingenious discoveries in the special sonority of the organ. Old J. S. Bach, the father of us all, would have been pleased with M. Vierne'.

from notes by Jeremy Filsell 2005

Other albums featuring this work

Vierne: Symphonies pour orgue
SIGCD063Download only
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