In 1931 Tournemire dedicated a volume of his plainsong-based L’orgue mystique
to Flor Peeters, and two years later Peeters returned the compliment in a major work of his own on a Gregorian theme, the flamboyant Toccata, fugue et hymne sur ‘Ave maris stella’
. The theme is the ancient Hymn to the Blessed Virgin Ave maris stella
—‘Hail star of the sea’. In the opening Toccata the tune is declaimed on the pedals below rolling waves of sound; the more thoughtful central section briefly recalls Tournemire in his most chastely modal mood, though the chunky syncopated chords that follow are pure Peeters. After the reprise of the Toccata, the melody becomes the subject of a swinging Fugue in the rhythm of a jig, and finally rings out in bold block chords in the triumphant concluding Hymne.
from notes by David Gammie © 2011