Franck wrote « L’organiste , vol 1 », for harmonium, during the summer of 1890, at the same time as he composed the « trois chorals » (« L’organiste vol. 2, although 2>1, is a posthumous compilation of pieces written mainly around 1850-1860). Most of these pieces are from the best Franck, far beyond their reputation of « small easy standard pieces for the amateur pianist who wants to play the harmonium during the mass ».
Here is a kind of bunch of my prefered ones, which obviously doesn’t mean the best ones :
1. Poco allegretto in C : a supple melodic line which could evoke the central part of the fantaisie in C
2. Lento in c sharp (at 1’45): a kind of dark threnody, with a small something of the pièce héroïque first theme
3. Offertoire ou sortie in D (at 3’05) : I peculiarly love the second theme at 4’15 and the agitato at 5’15
4. Andantino, in e flat (at 7’25) : somewhat mendelsohnian (thinking of the song without words in b minor)
5. Prière, in e (at 8’20) : not to be confounded with the Prière from six pieces, but worth the listening IMHO
6. Andantino quasi allegretto, in e (at 9’45) : a kind of « song without words » with a very singing theme
7. Vieux noël in d (at 11’35) : the same theme as Daquin’s noël suisse, but not exactly with the same treatment ☺
8. Andantino in f # (at 12’45): a sunny pastorale, which could evoke the atmosphere of prelude, fugue et variation.
The viewing of a very good DVD about Franck, with all the 12 « great» pieces recorded at St-Omer, gave me the envy to play some Franck on the sampleset. Expecting you will like this music as I do and will want to explore « L’organiste, vol 1 » ☺ (great advantage : weeks of painful practicing are not required !)