Whether in its classical or electronic form, the organ is one of the instruments that has shaped musical movements in a variety of styles throughout the last several centuries. Lousie Vierne, Camille Saint Saens, Giovanni Gabrieli, Johann Sebastian Bach, Oliver Messiaen, William Walton, and Francis Poulenc are just a few of the great composers who have written memorable organ works.
Although there are several composers who have focused their attention on the organ, like with other instruments, only a tiny percentage of them have had a substantial effect on its growth. The following are some names to consider if you wish to listen to or perform organ compositions that will amaze you.
Giovanni Gabrieli, an Italian composer and organist, is credited for bridging the Renaissance and Baroque periods of music, and is best known as a representative of the Venetian school. He was born in 1551 in Venice and trained with the renowned Orlando de Lassus in Munich. From 1584, he served as an organist in the church of San Marco, eventually assuming the post of composer upon his uncle’s death in 1586.
His compositions are primarily church works, which he presented with awe-inspiring musical effects, utilizing the church of San Marco’s distinctive design. His compositions include the Sacred Symphony, a collection of 45 orchestral pieces, Canzoni per sonare, Conzone e sonate, and the posthumously published Sacred Symphony vol. 2.
Saint Saens Camille
Camille Saint Saens was a romantic era composer, organist, and pianist who made her debut at the age of ten with her first recital. He studied at the Paris Conservatoire and subsequently worked as an organist, first at Saint-Merri and later at La Madeleine. He was one of the musicians who were drawn to the contemporary manner and compositions of artists like as Liszt, Wagner, and Schumann, even if his own works had a classical flavor.
He taught for five years at Paris’s School of Classical and Religious Music, where he taught luminaries such as Gabriel Faure and Maurice Ravel. The Second Piano Concerto (1868), The First Cello Concerto (1872), The Macabre Dance (1874), The Third Organ Symphony (1886), and The Animal Carnival are among his best-known works (1886).
Bach, Johann Sebastian
Johann Sebastian Bach, a German composer and musician of the Baroque period, enhanced organ music by mastering and developing counterpoint, harmony, motif organization, as well as by adapting rhythms, forms, and textures influenced by Italian and French.
He wrote significantly for organ and other keyboard instruments, as well as concertos for violin and hapsichord, suites, chamber music, and orchestra performances.
Bach was a very popular organist during the eighteenth century, and his keyboard music was praised for its educational value throughout this time period. However, his popularity began to grow in the nineteenth century, when biographies of his life and a number of his compositions were published.
Toccata and Fugue in D minor, Sleeper Awake, Passagcalia and Fugue in C minor, and Prelude in A minor are among the most well-known organ works.
Oliver Messiaen, a French organist and composer, studied at the Paris Conservatoire, which he joined at the age of 11, under the tutelage of Charles-Marie Widor, Paul Dukas, and Marcel Dupre. He began his career as an organist at Paris’s La Trinite church in 1931 and assumed the role of composition instructor at the conservatory in 1966, where he taught pupils such as Yvonne Loriod and Pierre Boulez.
Messiaen’s compositions are notable for their intricate rhythms, which are influenced by Greek and Hindu melodic dynamics. His compositions were influenced by Japanese music, the composer’s love of nature, bird singing, and his ability to synthesize. Messiaen perceived colors while listening to music and combined notes using hues.
The Ascension, God Among Us, The Nativity of the Lord, Organ Book, and Meditations on the Mystery of the Holy Trinity are among his most outstanding works. If you have the best organ for a classical interpretation with elegance, we propose that you attempt a few of this composer’s works.
Sir William Walton, born in 1902, was one of the most renowned English composers. He has composed works for film and opera in a range of genres and styles throughout the course of his 60-year career. He was mentored by painters like Edward J. Dent, Ernest Ansermet, and Ferruccio Busoni.
Crown Imperial, Suite from Henry V, Romance from Christopher Columbus, Blind and Scepter, prelude from The Spitfire, and folk song from Facade are among the organ works.
Among the most well-known works of French composer and pianist Francis Poulenc are the suite Three Perpetual Movements, Les biches, Organ Concerto, The Dialogue of the Carmelites, and Gloria. The musician is one of many who started music through self-education before honing his abilities under the tutelage of pianist Ricardo Vines, who became his mentor following his parents’ deaths.
Debussy, Stravinsky, and Schubert all impacted his work. In the 1920s, his renown grew as a result of his reputation as a promising young man. The organ concerto, created in 1938, was inspired by Bach and is one of Francis Poulenc’s sacred compositions.
It is one of the most frequently performed organ works by non-Baroque composers and was originally commissioned by Prince Edmond de Polignac for accompaniment with the chamber orchestra.
Louise Vierne, a lesser-known composer but equally significant for the evolution of the organ repertoire, introduced an elegant, clean style to the music written for this instrument, with rich harmonies and a respect for musical forms, enriched with romantic details but without veering into the realm of theatrical drama.
Cesar Frank was his protégé, and he created six organ symphonies. Inquire recorded six minutes of Beethoven’s organ symphony no. 3 in F minor for their 2003 CD Melancolia.