Lefébure-Wély was something of a child prodigy as an organist, giving his first recital at the age of eight. He succeeded his father as organist of the Paris church of St Roch (a post Mulet was to hold in a later generation), then moved to prestige posts, first at the Madeleine church, then at St Sulpice. He became particularly famous for his improvisations, some of which were inspired by topical events, and which drew large crowds. He lived in an era when the music redolent of the opera house was in vogue in the house of God, and when the harmonium (for which he wrote extensively) played a significant role in church music.
This march for organ opens with a melody in the tenor register—music which would transcribe well for the euphonium in a brass band. Each return of this melody is prepared by some of the convoluted chromatic progressions which bring private delight to organists, and the music proceeds with an almost balletic lightness of touch, giving no hint along the way of the switch to triumphalism on the final page.
from notes by Ian Carson © 1994