The March on a theme of Handel
, Op 15 No 2, dates from 1861 and appeared in the collection Pièces dans différents styles
, published between 1860 and 1907. It is one of his most popular works and Guilmant played it during his solo recital at the celebrations for the opening of the organ at St-Sulpice in April 1862. A slow march-like section, based on the opening bar of the chorus ‘Lift up your heads’ from Handel’s Messiah
is followed by a lively fugue in Bachian manner, reminiscent of the fugal sections of the Prelude in E flat major, which was reputedly one of Guilmant’s favourite Bach works and the one which opened his mammoth series of forty recitals at the St Louis World Fair in 1904. After a climax the opening theme is combined with the fugue subject, before a grandiose restatement of the opening march played on full organ.
from notes by Stephen Westrop © 2004