Although his name has all but disappeared from the reference books, in his day Antoine Édouard Batiste enjoyed considerable fame. He held the post of organist at St-Eustache in Paris from 1854 until his death, and as one of the most popular recitalists of his generation was particularly noted for the breadth of his repertoire, as well as for his skill as an accompanist and improviser. Along with that of his contemporary Lefébure-Wély his music quickly went out of fashion, but even if it sometimes smacks more of the salon than the sanctuary, at its best it has great melodic charm and a certain ability to thrill. His most famous composition, the Andante in G
, had no fewer than fifty separate English editions, including one for the unlikely combination of two mandolins and piano. William Spark, who thought well enough of Batiste’s organ works to edit them for English publication, was less enamoured of the man, describing him as a ‘fat, podgy, round-faced gentleman, full of glib conversation and anecdote’. The Offertoire in G
major is in a lilting 9/8 with a rather more agitated middle section leading to a thunderous reprise of the main tune.
from notes by Stephen Westrop © 1998