Guilmant, Alexandre

Alexandre Guilmant (1837 -1911) became organist at La Trinité in Paris and was the first French organist to tour extensively in many countries giving concerts. He played in England, Spain. Austria, Italy, Sweden, Belgium, Holland, Hungry, Russia, Canada and the USA. Contemporaries praised bis perfect and soft legato, bis immaculate playing techniques, his feel for rhythm and his rubato, which allowed him to produce wonderful cantabile musical lines, employing hardly noticeable
prolonging or shortening of individual notes. Guilmant composed his eight Organ Sonatas between 1874 and 1906. The fifth Sonata dates from 1894 and begins with a tempestuous main theme followed by a fugato in the first movement. The second movement starts in tranquility (using the Voix Celeste stop), followed by a central part which shows considerably more movement. with a ’tenor’ solo using the basic 8’ ranks on the Great. Finally both these themes are combined in a quiet third part. The amusing scherzo includes two trios.

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