The Organ

Louis Vierne: Organist of Notre Dame Cathedral

Rollin Smith
Pendragon Press
ISBN 1 57647 004 0

This is a vast, but nevertheless readable, tome stretching to over 800 pages. The first part is an annotated translation of Vierne's Mes Souvenirs, extensively illustrated. This inclusion alone makes the book worth acquiring, for it reveals so much not just about Vierne's life and work, but also about organ playing and design of the period and of the environment in which he worked. The annotations are detailed and of the highest scholarly standard.

The second part of the book looks in more detail at Vierne's life and work, including chapters on the organ at Notre Dame, Vierne and Dupré, the composer in America, organ design, his death, his recordings, reminiscences. Two chapters discuss the organ works and their performance. Section 3 is a thematic catalogue. There are also many appendices, including four appendices by Vierne himself. Again, the work is of top quality and deserves to be widely read and studied.

David Baker