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 "Berceuse" is the 19th piece of the set.
It’s a cradle song based on the French children’s song “Dodo, l’enfant do”(the paroles classiques of the title) and
is dedicated to his then seven-year old daughter Colette. Largely diatonic, the
melody is coloured with a chromatic alto line on its reprise on the third page, but
otherwise the clouds of the previous movement could not be further away. The
delightful ‘call-and-response’ passage at the top of the second page is mirrored in the
coda under a high dominant pedal.
This performance features the Seraphon Flöte 8’ of the Positif, which creates some exquisite sounds.
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."