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Symphony No 2 in E minor, Op 20


The Deuxième Symphonie in E minor, Op 20 (1902) is cyclic and draws virtually exclusively on the germinal ideas announced in the first movement. The initial theme [A] is rhythmic (marked marcato), the second [B] more hymn-like and lyrical. The opening Allegro (in sonata form) is dark and turbulent and the following Choral seems a further 'homage à Franck'. As in the Chorals of Franck, Vierne's theme is original, but it is constructed from the two main themes of the first movement heard in reverse order. The dramatic ascent to the chorale theme's ecstatic re-appearance towards the close is grandiloquent and majestic.

The dance-like scherzo (where, in its contrasted second episodes, [A] is heard on an 8' pedal beneath limpid phrases high up in the compass) looks forward to many of the Pièces de Fantaisie in its quicksilver textures and the Cantabile converts themes [A] and [B] both tonally and rhythmically. After a 'maestoso' lntroduction, the Finale begins where the opening Allegro left off. Hardly the well-known crowd-pleaser of the First Symphony, the main theme [A] reappears only altered slightly and the brooding disquiet of the opening Allegro is maintained. The ending, which ultimalely establishes the tonic major key, is triumphant but not transfigured. Debussy heard the Symphony at its premiere (played by its dedicatee Charles Mulin) and commented that 'The Symphonie of M. Vierne is a remarkable work; it contains abundant musicianship with ingenious discoveries in the special sonority of the organ. Old J. S. Bach, the father of us all, would have been pleased with M. Vierne'.

from notes by Jeremy Filsell © 2005


Vierne: Symphonies pour orgue
SIGCD063Download only
Vierne: Symphony No 2 & Les Angélus
CDH55044Archive Service


Movement 1: Allegro
Track 1 on CDH55044 [7'18] Archive Service
Track 7 on SIGCD063 CD1 [8'09] Download only
Movement 2: Choral
Track 2 on CDH55044 [8'33] Archive Service
Track 8 on SIGCD063 CD1 [7'25] Download only
Movement 3: Scherzo
Track 3 on CDH55044 [3'59] Archive Service
Track 9 on SIGCD063 CD1 [4'22] Download only
Movement 4: Cantabile
Track 4 on CDH55044 [8'10] Archive Service
Track 10 on SIGCD063 CD1 [8'22] Download only
Movement 5: Final
Track 5 on CDH55044 [7'49] Archive Service
Track 11 on SIGCD063 CD1 [9'01] Download only

Track-specific metadata for SIGCD063 disc 1 track 7

Recording date
17 September 2004
Recording venue
Saint Ouen, Rouen, France
Recording producer
Adrian Peacock
Recording engineer
Limo Hearn
Hyperion usage
  1. Vierne: Symphonies pour orgue (SIGCD063)
    Disc 1 Track 7
    Release date: September 2005
    Download only
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