Hyperion Records

Trois paraphrases grégoriennes, Op 5

'Organ Fireworks, Vol. 9' (CDA67228)
Organ Fireworks, Vol. 9
MP3 £4.00FLAC £4.00ALAC £4.00Buy by post £13.99 (ARCHIVE SERVICE) CDA67228  Archive Service   Download currently discounted
'Langlais: Missa Salve regina & Messe solennelle' (CDH55444)
Langlais: Missa Salve regina & Messe solennelle
MP3 £4.99FLAC £4.99ALAC £4.99Buy by post £5.50 CDH55444  Helios (Hyperion's budget label)  
No 1: Mors et resurrectio
Track 17 on CDA67228 [6'10] Archive Service
No 2: Ave Maria, Ave maris stella
Track 18 on CDA67228 [6'37] Archive Service
No 3: Hymne d'actions de grâces 'Te Deum'
Track 19 on CDA67228 [5'07] Archive Service
Track 13 on CDH55444 [5'45] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)

Trois paraphrases grégoriennes, Op 5
Like his classmate and lifelong friend Olivier Messiaen, Jean Langlais was profoundly influenced by the work of Charles Tournemire, whom he was to succeed as organist at Sainte Clotilde in Paris and with whom he studied improvisation from 1930 onwards. It was the deeply spiritual quality in Tournemire’s work, as well as the intensely personal use of plainsong, which attracted them. The formal freedom and reliance on the imagination which he encouraged came as a breath of fresh air after the highly structured and rigid teaching of Dupré. Langlais summed up his debt to Tournemire most eloquently when he said, ‘From him I learnt the true poetry of the organ’.

Like Reger, Langlais was enormously prolific and the Trois Paraphrases Grégoriennes, written between 1934 and 1935, remain not only one of his earliest works of real maturity but also one of his most enduringly popular. Mors et Resurrectio is prefaced by words of St Paul to the Corinthians, ‘Death, where is thy victory?’, and proceeds inexorably in three mighty waves. The composer identifies two themes: the first, which is of his own invention, represents death and builds gradually from the depths; the second, based on the Introit from the Mass for the Dead, represents life and is first heard on a trumpet stop. After a double exposure of these two ideas the plainsong theme is treated more extensively and develops into an all-engulfing climax. The music has a sense of grandeur, conjuring up the vast and imposing spaces of a Gothic cathedral. It is worth bearing in mind that had it not been for the loss of his sight at the age of two, Langlais may well have followed his father into the family trade of stonecutter.

The second movement is also based on two themes, in this case Gregorian chants, each of which is presented separately. In the third section, one of the most exquisite moments in his entire output, fragments of the two themes float by over sustained chromatic harmonies. The Te Deum is a joyous paean of praise—a rhapsodic treat­ment of the thirteenth-century hymn, with an extended middle section based on the text ‘In Thee have I trusted’.

from notes by Stephen Westrop © 2001

Track-specific metadata
Click track numbers opposite to select

Details for CDA67228 track 19
Hymne d'actions de grâces 'Te Deum'
Recording date
4 November 2000
Recording venue
Berner Münster, Switzerland
Recording producer
Paul Spicer
Recording engineer
Paul Niederberger
Hyperion usage
  1. Organ Fireworks, Vol. 9 (CDA67228)
    Disc 1 Track 19
    Release date: August 2001
    Deletion date: December 2013
    Archive Service
   English   Français   Deutsch