Modern music: Tournemire

Charles Tournemire was a French organist-composer from Brittany. Although not really "modern," he deserves more attention than he currently gets.

I'm a very critical sort of person, and there are just a handful of pieces in any given style which I am able to return to again and again. Tournemire's Symphonie-Choral Op.69 is one of these, and I cannot recommend it highly enough. An excellent recording:

Tournemire: Organ Symphonies
Georges Delvallée
ADDA 581211

I believe this one has not been reissued yet since ADDA went out of business and then came back.

A little article I wrote on Tournemire a while ago, describing some of the ways I find his music interesting. The article is rather dated at this point, and not really written for posterity, as it were.

There is a cycle of orchestral symphonies begun on the Marco Polo label; symphonies 1, 2, 4 & 5 have been released thus far. Symphony No. 6 is available on Valois, while Symphonies 3 & 7 are on ADDA.

The late organ symphonies (of which op.69 is the paramount example) are interesting primarily for their formal vigor, combined with compelling thematic material in a compact and satisfying way. In his later music, Tournemire was able to pack many ideas into a small span, without abandoning classical melodic development.

Back to Modern music page.

Todd M. McComb
29 May 1995