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Tournemire Voyage 7



In 1930 and 1931, in the very early days of organ recording, Tournemire was persuaded by the Polydor Company to let them make recordings of him improvising on the organ at Ste. Clotilde. Already internationally recognised as a great master of this art, he thus extemporised two short and three long creations on plainchant melodies. The recordings on

78 rpm discs were so successful that they became bestsellers, many purchasers amazed that they were not written compositions.

20 years after his death, his devoted assistant, Maurice Duruflé, notated these spontaneous masterpieces from the discs, published, played and recorded them himself. They are now so frequently played and celebrated that they have all but overshadowed the vast amount of music he actually wrote!

Tournemire's original  recordings have now been remastered and are available on CD.

In four of my visual responses to these famous pieces I attempted to complete them within the time it took to listen to each improvisation.

The fifth, on the


took a great deal longer! 


             pastel  70 x 50 cms

            Petite Rhapsodie

                pastel  70 x 50 cms 

The Cavaillé-Coll organ at Ste.Clotilde


60 x 40 cms

Photo taken during the recordings

of Tournemire improvising at Ste Clotilde

in 1931 

                   Ave Maris Stella

              acrylic on canvas  90 x 75 cms

                 Te Deum Laudamus

                acrylic on canvas  100 x 80 cms

 Victimae Paschali Laudes (diptych)

        acrylic on canvas  2 x 120 x 100 cms 

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