Wednesday, 25 February 2009

The complete recordings of Charles Tournemire from Saint Clotilde, Paris 1930-31.

These recordings hardly need any introduction to organists. They consist of some works by Cesar Franck, two movements from his L’Orgue Mystique, and of course his legendary five improvisations which Maurice Duruflé transcribed and published in 1958.
He was a student of Cesar Franck and was the organist of Saint Clotilde from 1898 succeding Gabriel Pierné until his death in 1939. Though his skills as an interpreter are well preserved here, his greatest ability was to improvise.

Until the server space is up and running at the Royal Academy of Aarhus, I have chosen to store the files on They should be quite easy to download and with reasonable speed also.

These recordings have kindly been provided by Michael Gartz - a great thanks to him!

Download detailed playlist

Download link:

Welcome to The International Historical Organ Recording Collection.

Here you will find historic organ recordings transferred from 78rpms and early LPs. They are all recorded before 1959, which makes them public domain and therefore legally publishable. The transfers are privately made by the owners of the original sources, so these recordings are not digital copies from any commercial reissues.

The commercial interest and profits in reissuing historic organ recordings are low, and therefore a lot of materials have never been transferred to a more up to date medium.

Inspired by the work by Neal Kurz on his very interesting blogsite, and with help from Michael Gartz who holds a huge collection of historic recordings, the sound technician, record collector and historian Claus Byrith, and in collaboration with The Royal Academy of Music in Aarhus, Denmark, I will over time try to publish as many important historical organ recordings as possible.

Currently I’m preparing some 78rpm recordings with the young Marcel Dupré recorded in London in 1928, recordings with Jeanne Demessiuex, Fernando Germani, Alfred Sittard, Kurt Grosse, Walter Fisher and the Danish cathedral organist Niels Otto Raasted. The first release however will be the legendary recordings of Charles Tournemire from 1930-31.

I will try to attach as much historical information concerning the matrix number of the transferred 78s, the recording year and label, but I encourage everyone who visits this site to contribute with knowledge, biographical information, corrections and/or with new recordings. Send me a transfer of the source or send me the source itself and I will have it transferred and sent back again.

If, against my best efforts, there are copyright violations of any kind, please let me know and I will remove the items immediately.

The recordings are available as high definition MP3 files and compressed with RAR. Perhaps over time I’ll make the recordings available as lossless FLAC or APE files, but until now the MP3 files will do the job quite fine.

This is the chance to actually hear these historical recordings, many which are almost legendary and examples of musicianship of the highest order.

Feel free to come back and check for updates. I wish you a good luck with the journey into the world of historical organ recordings.

Lars Nørremark