Henri Mulet (1878–1967) was Organist at St-Roch, Paris, and Professor of Organ at l’École Niedermeyer. He was one of the more enigmatic figures of French organ music, so much so that his collection Esquisses Byzantines
, published in 1920, gives no information about any appointment held by him and instead of bearing a dedication to a fellow musician is inscribed: ‘En mémoire de la Basilique du Sacré-Coeur de Montmartre 1914–1919’. Tu es petra et portae inferi non praevalebunt adversus te
(‘You are the rock and the gates of hell shall not prevail against you’) is the tenth and final piece in this collection, the title itself being a corruption of the Vulgate version of the words of Christ to St Peter in St Matthew’s gospel, chapter 16, verse 18. Mulet described the piece, in its separately published form, as carillon, but it is more helpful to think of it as a fairly typical example of a French organ toccata, with scintillating figuration on the manuals accompanying sinister-sounding motifs given out by the pedals. The final pages are among the most exciting in the organist’s repertoire.
from notes by Relf Clark © 2004