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Louis Vierne from 1870-1937 was born in Pointier France. Son of Henri Vierne, a journalist of strong Bonapartist Symphathies, and editor-in-chief of the.

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Presentation on theme: "Louis Vierne from 1870-1937 was born in Pointier France. Son of Henri Vierne, a journalist of strong Bonapartist Symphathies, and editor-in-chief of the."— Presentation transcript:


2 Louis Vierne from 1870-1937 was born in Pointier France. Son of Henri Vierne, a journalist of strong Bonapartist Symphathies, and editor-in-chief of the newspaper “Journal de la Vienne”. Louis is born nearly blind.


4 Two-year old Vierne hears the sound of a piano for the first time, coming from next door neighbor. On a visit, the neighbor plays, and sings him a Schubert Lullaby, and he starts to pick out on the keyboard the notes of the melody he has heard. His parents seek the advice of Uncle Charles Colin, oboe professor at the Paris Conservatory and Organist at the Church of St-Denis-du-Saint- Sacrement (St. Denis of the Holy Sacrament).

5 Louis hears a church organ for the first time at the family’s local parish, St-Maurice de Lille. He would later recount: “I had a very hard time imaging how one man alone could get from this instrument these mysterious rich sounds, both stormy, and calm: it seemed like something out of a fairy-tale.”

6 His father consults several ophthalmologists in and around Lille, who diagnose the boy as having inoperable congenital cataracts. Nonetheless, they refer Louis’ father to a Dr de Wecker in Paris who confidently proposes a rather experimental operation. Dr. Wecker believes he can restore enough of young Louis’ vision to permit him to go about town on his own, to read large print, and to distinguish from a distance the landscape features and large objects. On April 2nd and 6th, Louis undergoes in two stages of the operation which will provide him with partial sight.


8 The prince imperial dies, effectively ending the Bonapartist cause. The Bonapartist Memorial de Lille must merge with its Republican competitor the Echo du Nord. Refusing to have any part in this, Henri Vierne quits, and takes the family back to Paris, where he takes an editor’s post at the Figaro. Louis will call this his home during the next 19 years.

9 Louis’ uncle Charles takes him to hear Cesar Franck at the organ of the Church of Ste-Clotilde. Some years later, in 1886, he will candidly say to the Master: “I heard you at Ste- Clotilde when I was ten years old, and I nearly died of delight”. In April his uncle Charles, to whom he is very attached, shows him the organ at his own church, St-Denis-du-Saint-Sacrement, showing Louis how it is operated and also demonstrating for him a little of the art of improvisation.


11 Just twelves day later (on July 26), Chales Colin dies after four days’ afflictin with double pneumonia. Young Louis is stunned, and crushed with grief. Still in the shadow of his dear uncle’s death, Vierne enters the Institution Nationale des Jeunes Aveugles, where he plunges himself passionately into his study of the piano, organ, and violing.

12 In April, another tragedy struck to Louis, and the school he attended, which a well-loved dean-of-students, Levitte, dies unexpectedly (of pulmonary congestion) – a great sorrow for all. Regrettably, the successor of time fine man was (in Vierne’s own words) “a vain and stupid brute who understood utterly nothing of his proper role: he treated us like prisoners, and used to boast of how much he despised us.” His father urges to keep to his diligent pursuit of his stuies, and then get into Cesar Franck’s organ class at the Paris Conservatory, as his uncle Charles had hoped he would.

13 Vierne joins the school orchestra and the string quartet – something he has been eagerly awaiting for two years. His summer holiday is saddened by his father’s slowly failing health, which has now become more noticeable. June 5, Henri Vierne dies of stomach cancer. Vierne feels a “dreadful sorrow” on his passing.


15 Cesar Franck invites Vierne to become his pupil at the Paris Conservatory. Vierne is present for the premiere (on Piano) of Franck’s Three Chorales for organ, with the composer himself at the keyboard. On evening in June Franck, while riding in a carriage which is hit by a bus in a Paris street, is seriously injured in the right side, yet does not seek medical attention that evening. Later that year (October) he comes down with a cold which takes severe turn for the worse, and he dies on November 11.

16 Vierne accompanies Widor on concert tour of Germany, on which Symphonie no. 1, was dedicated to Alexandre Ghilmant. After which Louis Marry to Arlette Tasking at the Church of St-Sulpice. The Organist of Notre-Dame- de-Paris, Sargent, dies of cancer in March. An open competition is announced to find his successor, and fifty able candidates apply for the past. Following the final round of the competition May 21, Vierne is selected as the new resident organist (titulaire).


18 While walking one rainy night amid construction in the streets of Paris, Vierne suffers a serious fall, in which he breaks his right leg and ankle. Symphony in A minor, for orchestra, which will not have its premiere until January 26, 1919, in Paris. Seine floods the presbytery courtyard, and the crypt of Notre-Dame-Cathedral. The Organ suffers much from the extremely humid, water-laden air, which causes extensive warping, and mechanical damage to the instrument.

19 December 11, Vierne’s mother suffers kidney failure. In March 25, Vierne’s mother dies of uremia, “After 83 days of the most dreadful agony a person ever witnessed.” Vierne will later write: “For me, this was a second cruel sorrow. I shared with this excellent woman a friendship which never once in its 15 years saw cloudy sky.” At the end January, Guilmant gives up his organ class at the Conservatory, placing his friend Vierne in charge.


21 A torrid summer follows the flooding of winter/spring 1910-11, the temperature reaching 72C [162F] beneath the rose of the organ, with disastrous consequences for the grand instrument: the wind chests start coming apart; the bellows suffer damage, and the organ is mechanically thrown out of alignment throughout.

22 Complete repair of the instrument will have to wait until 1932 but, after that Vierne composes his Third Symphony, Low Mass, for organ, and harmonium. Sadly, ravaged by tuberculosis, his son Andre dies on September 7 a Juziers. January 3, his good friend, pianist Raoul Pugno dies in Moscow while on a concert tour, and also the beginning of the First World War in Europe. For the summer Vierne spends the holidays quietly in La Rochelle at the Family home of his student Marthe Bracquemond. There, he composes the first six of his Twelve preludes for piano. Vierne completes his 24 Pieces in free style, on which he has been at work since 1912. Rene Vierne, the composer’s brother, is killed in combat, as are several of his other former students.


24 News arrives of the death of his teenage son, Jacques killed in combat on November 11. He composes is Quintet, for piano, and strings. Since the end of the War, all new faces have arisen on the Paris musical scene. He must nonetheless reestablish his career. Through a fortuitous encounter, it is Madeleine Richepin who will assist him in making a shinning return. Trimphal March for the Centennary of Napoleon, written at the same time, while composing his Fifth Symphony. Concert tour of Ireland, and Scotland as a fundraising project toward restoration of the organ.

25 Piece Symphonique (an orchestral adaptation of material from his first three organ symphonies) Poeme, for piano, and orchestra. Twenty-four Fantasy Pieces in 4 books, for organ. On January 9, 1937 Vierne leaves for a four-month concert tour of the United States, and Canada. Vierne records his Three Improvisations on 78 RPM disc. Sixth Symphony et Les Angelus, for voice, organ, and orchestra. The restoration of the organ completed at a toral cost of 270,000 French francs. During his 1750s recital at Notre-Dame-de-Paris, Vierne suffers a sudden major stroke, and dies at his keyboard, in the organ loft, in the presence of his closest student Maurice Durufle, with whom he is sharing that evening’s program.


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