Franck / Vierne / Houlihan - First & Last | RECORD STORE DAY
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On June 2, 2012-the 75th anniversary of his death at Notre Dame-I performed each of Vierne's six organ symphonies in a marathon performance at Church of the Ascension, New York. That performance launched a summer-long tour of these works (affectionally titled "Vierne 2012") with similar performances in Denver, Chicago, Los Angeles, Montreal, and Dallas. At the time, the Pascal Quoirin organ at Ascension Church was a little over a year old and, as of this recording, it is still the only French-built organ ever installed in New York City. Among organ music, the successful performance of French repertoire is especially dependent on the particular sonorities available on a given instrument. The Quoirin organ is a very good fit for the colorful demands of Franck and Vierne's music, and it was an honor to return to Ascension Church for this recording. Ever since the marathon tour, I am often asked if I have a favorite among Vierne's symphonies. It's hard (and unnecessary) to pick, but the sixth just might be my favorite. It has all the characteristics that make Vierne's music so appealing, and perfectly in proportion. And, with Vierne at the height of his artistry, it also marks the apex of the French symphonic organ tradition - a fitting culmination of the style enshrined with Franck's Grande pièce symphonique.