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Articles - Eugène Gigout

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Articles - Gigout

Eugène Gigout

Gigout was an extraordinary figure, as the recent CDs and these documents show. The roll recordings, originally made on or just after 26th November 1912, were the earliest ever made by a leading French organist. Better-known recordings, such as those made by Widor - he was also born in 1844 - were much later, and at a stage when he was past his prime as a performer. Gigout was 68 and in complete possession of his faculties for the Welte recording sessions. Bonnet (born 1884) was of the next generation and his playing well illustrates the different aesthetic by then in vogue; his roll recording session commenced on 6th February 1913.

French writer, Félix Raugel, portrays Gigout as a fine personality admired by all about him, including Franck. The friendship with Franck was no mere superficial acquaintance as was shown in various mutual dedications (originally that of Choral No. 3) and the fact that Gigout was organist for Franck's funeral. He represented an alternative to the Guilmant and Widor faction although he mostly enjoyed cordial relations with them - at least until he was appointed to the Conservatoire where it was claimed he taught both the "true Bach" and "true French" tradition, thus angering Widor and his adherents. The young Gigout tutored the young Fauré at the École Niedermeyer, it became a 60-year mutual friendship, and Gigout also taught, among many others of note, Léon Boëllmann (his adopted nephew), Maurice Duruflé and André Marchal.

Click here for a curriculum vitae

The most comprehensive treatment of Gigout's life and work so far in the English language is found in Mark Bailey's 1988 doctoral thesis - included here with kind permission of the author:

"Eugène Gigout (1844-1925): Performer and Pedagogue"

Click here for a copy (.pdf)

The Britannic Organ Volume 4

"Gigout and Bonnet"

was awarded a prestigious Diapason d'Or by French critics in 2012

OehmsClassics "Britannic Organ" - purchase options and some notes to Volume 4

Article on Gigout

Hommage à Eugène Gigout an article written in his honour and published in 1923 by his friends and students.

Kindly provided by Mark Bailey (Cincinnati USA).

Click here for the article (.pdf in French)

(apologies for the graphics; better versions are reproduced in the booklet to The Britannic Organ Volume 4)

One of two articles, including material on Gigout, courtesy of the Museum der Musikautomaten, Seewen (SO-CH)

David Rumsey deals with aspects of Welte's roll-recordings and the procedures he uses to rescue, edit and play them again - a background to the transfers used in producing the recent CD recordings released by OehmsClassics under the banner of "The Britannic Organ".

Pearls and rarities of the Welte organ roll collection (PDF)

from "Wie von Geisterhand. Aus Seewen in die Welt. 100 Jahre Welte-Philharmonie Orgel" Ausstellungskatalog/Exhibition Catalogue, Seewen 2011 ed. Christoph E. Hänggi. .

The life, world and work of Eugène Gigout

Another article by Mark David Bailey, published in The American Organist in March 1994, deals with Gigout's Organ School and its focus on the restoration to and accompaniment of modal plainchant in the French liturgy. Improvisation, one of Gigout's specialties, was included in the curriculum. The school closed in 1911 when Gigout took over from Guilmant at the Paris Conservatoire. We are again indebted to Dr. Bailey for his permission and cooperation in allowing these to be posted.

Eugène Gigout and his "Course for Organ, Improvisation, and Plainchant"

For those interested in early recordings Gigout occupies a very important place. We provide here a listing of all known Gigout roll recordings. So far as is known these are the only recordings Gigout ever made.

Complete listing of Gigout's known recordings

Article by David Rumsey: "Welte's Philharmonie roll recordings 1910-1928: My afternoons with Eugène Gigout" publiched by "The Diapason", March 2011.

Click here for an on-line version of this article.

The Britannic Organ

Volume 4: Eugène Gigout and Joseph Bonnet

Click here for the Volume 4 track-listing (pdf)

The Britannic Organ is an OehmsClassics series: historic recordings, demonstrations of the unique Seewen Welte organ, the earliest organ recordings played "live": Gigout's Scherzo is played by Franz Joseph Breitenbach on Volume 7, Swiss Organists, due out end of 2013.

The database of scanned Welte organ rolls held at the Museum der Musikautomaten gives further information about roll recordings, including other organists playing Gigout's works. Available formats are Paradox (.db), QuattroPro (.qpw) and Microsoft Excel (.xlsx).

Database of Seewen's scanned Welte organ rolls (DB)

Database of Seewen's scanned Welte organ rolls (QPW)

Database of Seewen's scanned Welte organ rolls (XLSX)

Key to the database (PDF)

© David Rumsey 2009, 2010 and ongoing