Paul Joseph Guillaume Hillemacher (1852-1933) was a French pianist and composer.
Son of Eugène Ernest Hillemacher and brother of Lucien Hillemacher, he studied at the Paris Conservatory in the class of François Bazin . He won second price of harmony in 1870 , first prize in Fugue two years later, second prize in the Grand Prix de Rome in 1873, and first prize in 1876.
He composed many music for scenes, operas, symphonies and melodies.
Most of his works were composed in collaboration with his brother Lucien Joseph Edouard Hillemacher ( , 1860-1909). Lucien was organ student of Cesar Franck. Their father was the painter, Eugène Ernest Hillemacher.
Prélude Archaïque was published in London in 1914, where it appeared in "The Organ Loft" series. It is dedicated: à mon ami H(enri). Dallier, organiste de la Madeleine, Paris."
While most of "The Organ Loft" has only English music contained in it, there are some exceptions, of which this is one.
I knew nothing of this piece, but figured I'd give it a try, and it blew me away. Probably not so much because it is "great" music, but rather by the astounding impact it made upon me.
I think the name "archaïque" stems from the fact that the piece is some sort of "passacaglia," "chacone," or some such thing. It feels like perhaps a "sarabande." The harmonies are from the early 1900's, but the "effect" is much older.
It is also a registrationally virtuosic work, and it makes for the absolute resources of the organ. From a whisper to ground-shaking thunder, everything is utilized, and I found the impact overwhelming in playing and in listening.
It sort of saddens me that this work will probably be overlooked by many, who may believe it be but a trifle.
Perhaps in the annals of organ literature it is just that - but what an astonishing trifle it is!
The score is attached below, as well as two photos of the Hillemacher brothers, one of Henri Dallier, the dedicatee, and one of the organ of la Madeleine.