In spite of partial blindness, Louis Vierne (1870– 1937) became one of the outstanding French organist-composers of his generation, and in 1900 he was appointed Organist of the Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris, a post he held until his death. Carillon de Westminster
, the final number of the third suite of his Pièces de fantaisie
, dates from around 1927, and its dedication to Henry Willis III more than suggests that extemporization on the great Willis organ at Westminster Cathedral in London was its starting-point. The bell-sounds of the famous Westminster clock-tower are heard against a haze of reed colour, and the central section (in which those sounds are heard on the pedals in their real-life key of B flat major) leads to a blazing, full-organ conclusion which is one of the glories of the repertoire.
from notes by Relf Clark © 2008