Charles (Arnould) Tournemire


A French composer and organist, Tournemire was particularly renowned for his improvisations.  He was born on 22nd January 1870, was a student of C├ęsar Franck, and later took up the position of organist at Sainte Clothilde.  He created a considerable body of organ work, centring on a personal exploration of the Catholic liturgy. 

While expressed in a very French idiom, his music incorporated harmonic influences from German composers, and he effectively borrowed from further cultures, particularly India, which was an unusual step at that time.

L'Orgue Mystique (The Mystical Organ) is a huge cycle elaborating on the plainchant of the Catholic liturgical year, which Tournemire saw as a counterpart to Bach's work for the Lutheran liturgy.  He also composed eight symphonies, several oratorios, chamber music, piano music and songs.  Tournemire died on 4th November 1939.

Related composers: FranckBach, Debussy, Messiaen

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