From the time he left the Niedermeyer school, Gabriel Fauré was an intense church musician. In particular, he played the choir organ at the church of Saint Sulpice and occasionally replaced Charles-Marie Widor on the great organ. Then, at the request of Camille Saint-Saëns, he was appointed Chapel Master at the Madeleine, where he later became the titular organist.
For nearly 40 years, familiar with the sound aesthetics of Aristide Cavaillé-Coll, inspired by the poetry of its timbres, he gave himself over to sublime improvisations during services, the testimonies and comments of dazzled listeners being evocative: "aerial fluidity... undulating lines... strangely engaging harmonies... oppositions of nuances that the four keyboards echo in a poetically gentle registration..." (F. de Mesnil, in his book "The organ of the Madeleine", p. 4). (F. de Mesnil in the review "Musica", January 1903). Let us hope that the pages transcribed here will contribute to recreate a little of the sound magic that unfolded in the generous acoustics of the Madeleine and which each listener felt enveloped by.
The general indications of registrations and the distribution of planes are conceived for a three-manual instrument. They are more concerned with making the organ sound than with scrupulously reproducing the timbres of the orchestra.
- Prélude 05:37
- Fileuse 03:07
- Sicilienne 03:45
- Le mort de Mélisande 04:32