Titular organist of Notre-Dame de Paris from 1900 until his death in 1937, and master of its superb 1867 Cavaillé-Coll instrument, Louis Vierne confided to it his closest thoughts. Following the eldritch splendors of the Third Symphony for organ (1911), the Pièces en style libre, composed in 1913, work a vein of intimate fantasy often laced with Vierne's penchant for the grotesque and bizarre. Specified as suitable for performance on a harmonium, the composer's registrations nevertheless indicate a variety of coloristic effects which come off adequately only on large instruments, while the grandeurs of several demonstrative numbers -- e.g., the Cortège, or the Carillon -- exceed the harmonium's modest capacity. The collection runs the gamut of major and minor keys in order -- C major, C minor, D flat major, etc. -- in a salute to Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier.
"Livre II" dates from 1914, and "Lied" is the 17th work in the set. It really is a "song without words" and very much in the Mendelssohn tradition, but the harmonies are much more like Franck. It also owes a lot to works like "The Swan" of Saint-Saëns. It is understandably one of the most popular of the set.
This performance features the flutes 8' & 4' of the Récit, with the melody played upon the Minorprinzipal 8' & Fugara 8' of the Grand Orgue. The central section was too harsh on the Fugara, so, I used the Prinzipal 8' & Gamba 8' of the Positif for this section.
The score is attached below, as well as some varied photos of Louis Vierne, including one of his grave.
I also attached an excellent English pdf that goes in to great and interesting details about the entire "24 Pièces en style libre."