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Charles Tournemire

Charles Tournemire was born on 22 January 1870 in Bordeaux (France). He studied music at the conservatory in Paris under Cesar Franck (organ and counterpoint), Charles-Marie Widor (organ) and Vincent d’Indy (composition).

After his studies Charles Tournemire especially made his mark as an outstanding organist. In 1898 he became the prinicipal organist of the Basilique Ste-Clotilde in Paris, being the successor of Gabriel Pierne. He held that position until his death. In 1919 Tournemire was also appointed professor for chamber music at the conservatory in Paris.

Today Charles Tournemire is best known for his organ playing and his organ compositions. At his time he was considered one of the best organ improvisers. His composition "L'orgue mystique" op.55-57 stands out his work catalogue. It is a large set of works for organ solo that offers several pieces for the Christian year that fit to the liturgy. Other remarkable organ compositions are his "Symphonie chorale op.69" and "Symphonie sacree op.71". But also his 8 orchestral symphonies are still performed nowadays.
Charles Tournemire died on 4 November 1939 in Arcachon (France).


In my possession is the autograph manuscript of the work "Sagesse op.34" by Charles Tournemire. The work is composed for voice and piano and was written in 1908 on a poeme by Paul Verlaine. The work is dedicated to the Rodolphe Plamondon (1876-1940), a Canadian tenor. Curiously my manuscript also bears this dedication on the first page but with a scribal error: "à mon ami Rodolphe Rodolphe [sic!] Plamondon en souvenir admiratif et très affectueux".

The work was published by Janin Freres in 1921 and premiered on 10 January 1909 with Rodolphe Plamondon and Ricardo Vines.

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