Louis Vierne plays the Notre Dame Organ in Paris in 1929

Louis Vierne (1870-1937)

Louis Vierne was a French organist and teacher. He was born nearly blind due to congenital cataracts. Vierne’s music was idiomatic for his instrument and the harmonies in his music were rich. He was an inspiration to the many Parisian organist-composers that came after him. Vierne was also a great improviser on the organ. He gave many recitals during his life and toured widely. In 1937 while giving his 1750th recital at Notre Dame in Paris Vierne died at the organ console.

Here are two rare recordings froom 1929 of Louis Vierne playing the organ at Notre Dame in Paris. 1929 was the first year that sound was recorded electronically. The first recording is a soft improvisation that Vierne made up on the spot. The second recording is a Bach Prelude and Fugue. The second recording is a piece by Vierne.

I can’t imagine what it must have been like carrying all that heavy recording equipment up the narrow stairway to Notre Dame’s balcony to record the organ.
An organ with more than 7000 pipes! Enjoy.