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Trinity Solebury organist plays “L’Orgue Mystique”


Organist Richard Spotts will perform the complete “L’Orgue Mystique” by Charles Tournemire as part of the Lenten Recital Series at Trinity Episcopal Church, Solebury.

Performances will take place Monday through Wednesday throughout Lent, March 11 through April 15, and Monday and Tuesday of Holy Week, April 15 and 16, at 7:30 p.m., in the church at 6587 Upper York Road in Solebury Township.

Tournemire’s “L’Orgue Mystique” represents a pivotal point in the history of liturgical organ music. This recondite magnum opus, composed 1927-1932, comprises 253 movements written for the Mass.

Fifteen hours in duration, the epic work employs more than 300 chants, both as an act of devotion and as musical exegesis based upon the chant libretto with the goal of celebrating 51 Sundays and Liturgical Feasts throughout the church calendar.

Although today shrouded in popular obscurity, Tournemire was a seminal musical influence of the 20th century, particularly in the realm of sacred music. Born in Bordeaux in 1870, Tournemire was organist of the Basilica of Sainte-Clotilde in Paris from 1898 until his death in 1939, where he was known as an improviser extraordinaire. “L’Orgue Mystique” was his greatest work.

Spotts, a native of Bucks County and a graduate of Westminster Choir College in Princeton, N.J., over the past decade has set out to perform and educate the public of this seminal work, having given recitals at cathedrals, universities and parishes throughout the United States and Canada.

Plans are underway for the publication of his book on the subject in time for Tournemire’s sesquicentennial next year.

Trinity’s Lenten Recital Series marks his first complete performance of the work in sequence for the public.