Saint-Martin wrote this triumphant piece in Paris during the liberation of August, 1944. Decorated in WW1, he was Organiste Titulaire of Notre-Dame de Paris, succeeding Louis Vierne in 1937. The piece was not performed at the celebratory 'Te Deum' which General De Gaulle attended and which was intended as a thanksgiving service for the liberation of Paris. The service was interrupted by 'friendly' gunfire and the tribune was not safe.From Saint-Martin's journal: 26 August 1944: Te Deum planned at Notre-Dame for 16.30. General De Gaulle arrived at 16.10. The clergy were not there to receive him (the Cardinal, held prisoner, was released at 18:00
. The bells and the organ were mute; the power had been cut. Machine gun fire upon the General's arrival. I could not get back to my post (Hammond p.23).
'In fact, the shots were aimed at no-one, but were fired horizontally from the east end of the Cathedral to the west; eighteen bullets hit the façade pipes of the Grand organ, whilst another pierced the balustrade of the organ tribune. Having taken cover, Saint-Martin was not allowed back to the organ for his own safety. In the end it was not possible for him to play as the electricity to the west end of the Cathedral was not restored.' (Philip Smith p.138).
When Victory in Europe' was celebrated on the 9th May, 1945, again with a Te Deum in Notre-Dame, Leonce was at the grand-orgue and finished the service, not with his own toccata but with one in F major by Widor!
He played the liberation toccata at a recital he gave at Westminster Cathedral in 1954.