Ever since I heard Guilmant’s music for the first time, I have always had a great admiration for the man and his music; even more so than for Vierne, Widor, Dubois, even Franck and other French composers from the romantic era.
His music struck me as melodious, totally sincere and beautifully constructed. He wrote music easy to listen to, but adhering to the strict rules of composition. He mastered all the different forms from fugue to sonata.
His contributions to the publishing of old French organ music are numerous, known for its meticulous editing and are used even today.
Imho his contributions to French organ music are most impressive, as a composer AND as an editor. Moreover he is reported to have been a great teacher, always patient and kind with pupils willing to make an effort.
He instantly recognized quality: He played all of Bach’s organ works on the Trocadero organ; while people were walking away during the series of concerts, but he kept going on.
In short: a really great man and composer.
I uploaded his first four sonatas earlier on the concert hall and started on learning the fifth, which is more lengthy than the first four, but was beaten to the upload by Aarnoud, Wolfram Syré and Randall Mullin, who all played the whole sonata, in their own different and excellent ways.
So I decided to upload only the part I studied first and love most: the final Choral and Fugue. I think this to be a real masterpiece.
The choral is very moving in its simplicity, the fugue has all the criteria a fugue should have and more and the concluding section is just what the doctor ordered; blowing away ever more on the full organ; ending in a dazzling finale.
Hope you like it!