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Celebrating Pentecost with French Twist

Pentecost by Lawrence OP (Flickr)

As it’s Pentecost this Sunday (19th May), the All Saints Fulham Choir will be singing a full mass setting at the 9.30am Eucharist.

Pentecost is celebrated 50 days after Easter Sunday. The Church celebrates the gift of the Holy Spirit and so Pentecost is regarded as the birthday of the Church.

Last year, the Choir sang the Truro Eucharist by English composer David Briggs. This year, Vierne’s Messe Solenelle will be sung.

Louis Vierne (1870-1937), the great French organist and composer, was actually born almost blind due to congenital cataracts.

For his own compositions, Viene wrote out his music on extra large manuscript paper, and later as his sight worsened, in Braille.

He was taught the organ by Cesar Franck at the Paris Conservatoire. He then became assistant organist to the legendary Charles-Marie Widor at the church of Saint-Sulpice in Paris. On Widor’s advice, he applied and then became organist at the cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris in 1900.

Vierne died while giving an organ recital at Notre-Dame. He was about to begin one of his famous improvisations when he suffered a stroke. He toppled forward and his foot struck the low E, he died moments later.

During his lifetime, Vierne was very influential, he taught many famous musicians including Marcel Dupre, Joseph Bonnet, Nadia Boulanger, Olivier Messiaen, Maurice Durufle and Jean Langlais.


The video is the Choir of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris singing the Sanctus from the Messe Solenelle

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About All Saints Fulham Choir

The All Saints Fulham Church is the home of three choirs. A traditional Parish Choir who sing wide-ranging repertoire which spans nine centuries and tours regularly at home and abroad; a Gospel Choir who sing a mixture of contemporary and traditional gospel styles, and a junior choir for children from Year 3 upwards.

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