Louis Vierne

Louis Victor Jules Vierne ( born October 8, 1870 in Poitiers, † June 2, 1937 in Paris) was a French organist and composer.


Louis Vierne and his brother René Vierne (1878-1918) were the sons of the journalist Henri Vierne.

Louis Vierne was born with a severe visual impairment. The family moved in 1873 to Paris, where Louis ' uncle Charles Colin discovered his musical talent and encouraged him to play the piano. At the age of seven years Louis acquired sufficient vision, so that he was able to largely orient independently in everyday life and to read large print font.

Since 1880, Vierne took piano lessons with Henri woodpecker in Paris. In the same year he first heard César Franck as organist at the Parisian church of Sainte Clotilde. He called this key experience later in his memoirs a " revelation." 1881 Vierne entered the Paris Institute for the Blind and was there by Henri Woodpecker ( piano) and Henri Adam (violin) taught. In 1887 he received the organ with Louis Lebel and, according to Lebel's death two years later, when Adolphe Marty. Since 1889 Vierne took lessons in Groove at César Franck. He studied at the Paris Conservatoire, where he had already visited before as a listener Franck's organ class, he graduated in 1894, his successor, Charles -Marie Widor from a first prize in organ playing and improvisation.

1892 appointed his disciple Vierne Widor 's deputy at the organ of the Paris church of Saint- Sulpice. After Viernes first prize in organ in 1894, he also became Widor's assistant in the organ class at the Paris Conservatoire. 1898 wrote his first Vierne Organ Symphony, Op 14 A year later, he married the singer Arlette Taskin, of which he was divorced in 1909.

In 1900, Louis Vierne was auditioning for a selected among several candidates and appointed titular organist of Notre- Dame de Paris Cathedral, a post he held until his death. In addition, he worked as an assistant of Alexandre Guilmant, Widor succeeded him as organ professor at the Paris Conservatoire, and taught in this position many important organists of the next generation in France.

1911 Vierne announced his employment at the Conservatoire and joined as Professor of Organ at the church music institute Schola Cantorum.

1906 had Vierne after a complicated fracture his pedal technique completely relearn; In 1907 he fell ill with typhoid life threatening, some years later to glaucoma and eventually went blind completely. Nevertheless, Vierne toured through Europe and the United States, where he emerged as a brilliant improviser. Vierne died in 1937 during an organ concert at the table his organ at Notre -Dame to the of a stroke. Maurice Duruflé Viernes students reported about it later:

After Viernes last will of the organ of Notre -Dame was silent in his funeral service and was black veils; the only music consisted of Gregorian chant. Vierne was buried at the Montparnasse Cemetery near his friend César Franck, Alexandre Guilmant, Camille Saint- Saens and Vincent d' Indy.

Besides the already mentioned Maurice Duruflé among students Viernes: Alphonse Schmitt, Augustin Barié, Lili Boulanger, André Fleury and Adrien Rougier.


Organ solo

  • Allegretto op 1 (composed 1894)
  • Dislocations Fugue sur ' In exitu Israel ' (composed 1894)
  • Prélude funebre in C minor, Op 4 (composed 1896)
  • Communion op 8 (composed 1900)
  • First Symphony in D minor, Op 14 (composed 1898-1899 )
  • Second Symphony in E minor, Op 20 (composed in 1902)
  • Third Symphony in F sharp minor, Op 28 (composed in 1911)
  • Fourth Symphony in G minor, Op 32 (composed in 1914)
  • Prelude in F sharp minor, op without (composed 1914)
  • Fifth Symphony in A minor, op.47 (composed 1923-1924 )
  • 24 Pièces de fantaisie: Première Suite Op 51 (composed in 1926)
  • Deuxième Suite Op 53 (composed in 1926)
  • Troisième Suite Op 54 (composed in 1927), it included the famous " Carillon de Westminster " ( Sample Carillon de Westminster / i )
  • Quatrième Suite Op 55 (composed in 1927)
  • Marche Episcopale
  • Méditation
  • Cortège
  • Matines
  • Communion
  • Stele pour un enfant défunt

Organ or Harmonium

  • Messe basse, op 30 for organ or harmonium (composed 1912)
  • 24 pièces en style libre op.31 for organ or harmonium (composed 1913)
  • Messe basse pour les défunts op 62 for organ or harmonium (composed 1934)

Piano solo

  • Deux Pièces op, 7 (composed in 1895): Impression d' automne
  • Intermezzo
  • Aubade
  • Idyll
  • Divertissement
  • Legend
  • Angelus du soir
  • Danse rustique
  • Clair de lune

Chamber Music

  • Deux Pièces for cello, op 5
  • Largo et canzonetta for Oboe and Piano, Op 6 (composed 1896)
  • String Quartet, Opus 12 (composed in 1894)
  • Sonata for Violin and Piano, op.23 (composed 1905-1906 )
  • Rhapsody for Harp, Op 25 (composed in 1909)
  • Sonata for Cello and Piano, Op 27 (composed in 1910)
  • Piano Quintet, Op 42 (composed in 1917)
  • Soirs étrangers for cello and piano, Op 56 (composed in 1928)
  • Quatre poèmes grecs for soprano and harp or piano, op 60 (composed in 1930)

Other compositions

  • Fair solennelle C sharp minor for choir and two organs, Opus 16 (composed in 1900)
  • Praxinoé for soloists, chorus and orchestra, Op 22 (composed 1903-1905 )
  • Symphony in A minor for orchestra, Op 24 (composed 1907-1908 )
  • Psyché for soprano and orchestra, Op 33 (composed in 1914)
  • Les Djinns for soprano and orchestra, Op 35 (composed in 1912)
  • Éros for soprano and orchestra, Op 37 (composed in 1916)
  • Spleens et Détresses for soprano and piano or orchestra, Op 38 (composed in 1916)
  • Dal Vertice for tenor and orchestra, Op 41 (composed in 1917)
  • Marche Triomphale for organ, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones and timpani, Op 46
  • Poème for piano and orchestra, Op 50 (composed in 1925)
  • Les Angelus for voice and organ, Op 57 (composed in 1929)
  • La Ballade du désespéré for tenor and orchestra or piano, op 61 (composed in 1931)
  • Songs based on texts by Paul Verlaine, Charles Baudelaire, among others


  • Louis Vierne: Songs: Rachel Santesso, soprano; Roger Vignoles, piano; Andrew Reid, organ; Hugh Webb, harp. ( Deux- Elles )
  • Louis Vierne: Piano Quintet, Op 42: Stephen Coombs, piano; Chilingirian Quartet. ( Hyperion )
  • Organ Symphonies Nos. 1-6: Martin Jean, organ. ( Loft Recordings)
  • Louis Vierne: Complete Organ Works: Christine Kamp, organ. ( Festivo ).
  • Louis Vierne: Complete Organ Works: Pierre Cochereau & George C. Baker, organ. ( Solstice ). 7 CDs.
  • Louis Vierne: Complete Organ Works: Ben van Oosten, organ. (MDGs). 8 CDs.