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Louis Vierne

The nearly blind French organist, composer, improviser and teacher Louis Vierne was born in Poitiers on 8 October 1870, and it was discovered early in his life that he had an unusual gift for music. He studied at the Paris Conservatoire and then worked as assistant organist to Charles-Marie Widor at Saint-Sulpice. In 1900 he became principal organist at Notre-Dame, and remained in that post until his death (at the organ console, during a concert) on 2 June 1937.

At the start of his career, he composed on oversized manuscript paper with a large pencil, but later had to resort to braille. He was able to create improvisations at the keyboard which sounded like completed and polished compositions. He left us six organ symphonies, the Carillon de Westminster (one of 24 Fantasy Pieces) and 24 Pieces in Free Style, plus vocal and choral music, a symphony and some chamber works.

His students included Lili and Nadia Boulanger, Marcel Dupré and Augustin Barié.

A selection of M&V articles about Louis Vierne

CD Spotlight. Top-Notch - The Dobson organ at Merton College, praised by Gerald Fenech

Musicianship and Restraint - Tom Corfield's organ playing impresses Tony Westerman

Sharply Focused - John Scott at the organ of Derby Cathedral delights Mike Wheeler

Ensemble. An Annual Event? - Cathedral organ high jinks from Peter Gould, Tom Corfield, Christopher Johns, Sachin Gunga and Ben Bloor, enjoyed by Mike Wheeler

Technique and Musicianship - Tony Westerman is impressed by the organ playing of Tom Corfield

Wacky and Serious - Mike Wheeler is impressed by Ben Bloor's command of the Derby Cathedral organ

Superb Control - Tom Corfield gives ths last of this summer's Derby Cathedral summer organ recitals, heard by Mike Wheeler

Beautifully Played - Terence Bennett listens to organist David Liddle

Boldly Shaped - D'Arcy Trinkwon at the organ of Derby Cathedral, heard by Mike Wheeler

Nicely Paced - Martyn Rawles at the organ of Derby Cathedral, heard by Mike Wheeler

DVD Spotlight. Dignity and Impudence - A recital on Exeter Cathedral's organ, enjoyed by Gerald Fenech. '... Millington on fine form ...'

A Firm Grasp - Peter Litman plays the organs of Derby Cathedral, heard by Mike Wheeler

Ensemble. Sorcerers and Apprentices - Collaborative organ performances at Derby Cathedral by Peter Gould, Tom Corfield, Christopher Johns, Ben Bloor and Sachin Gunga delight Tony Westerman

CD Spotlight. Eclectically Balanced - An organ recital by SooHwang Choi, heard by Gerald Fenech. '... expressive beauty.'

A Vigorous Account - Peter Gould at the organ of Derby Cathedral, heard by Mike Wheeler

Robustness and Transparency - Francis Jackson plays the organ of Derby Cathedral, heard by Mike Wheeler

CD Spotlight. Glowing Performances - Music by Koechlin and Jongen, recommended by Howard Smith. '... a truly outstanding recital ...'

Ensemble. A Sensitive Account - Choral music by Rossini, Elgar and Handel, reviewed by Mike Wheeler

Ensemble. Vividly Characterised - Mike Wheeler listens to the Sitwell Singers

CD Spotlight. Exquisitely Nuanced - Steve Davislim sings Vierne and Chausson, recommended by Howard Smith. 'I cannot think of higher praise.'

An Invigorating Performance - Paul Hale provides a fitting end to Derby Cathedral's summer organ series, and Mike Wheeler was there

Highly Effective - Peter Gould helps celebrate the seventieth anniversary of Derby Cathedral's Compton Organ, as noted by Mike Wheeler

Effectively Projected - York Minster's Robert Sharpe plays the organ at Derby Cathedral, reviewed by Mike Wheeler

Youthful Freshness - Gareth Green gives the final organ recital in Derby Cathedral's summer series, and Mike Wheeler was in the audience

Ensemble. Rhythmic Drive - Mike Wheeler listens to The Midas Touch Organ Duo

Lucid Messiaen - Cathy Lamb at the organ, reviewed by Mike Wheeler

Ensemble. Depth and Sonority - The first concert by Malcolm Goldring and the Sitwell Singers, reviewed by Mike Wheeler

Multi-tasking - Peter Gould plays the organ at Derby Cathedral, reviewed by Tony Westerman

In Perfect Balance - Mike Wheeler listens to the last of Derby Cathedral's 2007 summer organ recitals

Compelling Effect - Malcolm Archer at the organ of Derby Cathedral, reviewed by Mike Wheeler

Record Box. Vibrant Presentation - A worthy memorial to William Ferris, reviewed by Patric Standford

Noble and Moving - An organ recital by Andrew Nethsingha, appreciated by Mike Wheeler

Ensemble. An exuberant performance - Mike Wheeler reviews the last of Derby Cathedral's summer organ recitals, given by Tom Corfield

CD Spotlight. Thrilling virtuosity - Organ music by Vierne and Alain, reviewed by Robert Anderson. '... James Lancelot shows throughout how effectively he can command the grand Romantic gesture.'

CD Spotlight - A marked contrast. 'Exemplary performances, excellent recording and presentation ...' Two piano quintets, with David Thompson

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