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Charles Tournemire (Bordeaux, 22 January 1870 – Arcachon, 3 or 4 November 1939) was a French composer and organist, most famous for his improvisations. His improvisations were often rooted in the music of Gregorian chant. His compositions include many organ works, eight symphonies (one of them choral), four operas, twelve chamber works and eighteen for piano.


Tournemire was the youngest student of César Franck[citation needed], and became the Organist Titulaire at the Basilique Ste-Clotilde, Paris from 1898 to 1939. He was also professor of Chamber Music at the Paris Conservatory, and teacher of organ improvisation.

Tournemire recorded five improvisations in 1930 which were later transcribed by Maurice Duruflé from phonograph recordings.

His L'orgue Mystique, a group of 51 sets of five pieces each, was composed between 1927 and 1932. It covers the cycle of the Roman Catholic liturgical year, each set being based on the Gregorian chants for the day.

Tournemire died in 1939. The exact cause of his death is uncertain, as is the exact date (3 or 4 November).

External links

Further reading

  • Pascal Ianco: Charles Tournemire, ou Le mythe de Tristan. Papillon, Genève, 2001. ISBN 2-940310-06-8 (in French)
  • Pascal Ianco: Charles Tournemire: Aspekte zu Leben und Werk. Peter Ewers, Paderborn, 2003. ISBN 3-928243-17-9 (German translation)


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