Monday, March 19, 2012

Paris: Église Saint-Sulpice

I've been in Paris a few times before but somehow I'd never made it to Église Saint-Sulpic, the rococo of all rococos, a massive pile tucked away modestly with its back to the action on the Rive Gauche.  We trekked out there Sunday morning to take in the organ music.  These guys have no illusions: they do mass but they understand that a good bit of their audience will be just tourists there for the entertainment and they plan accordingly.

Actually, there are two organs: one "large" (as they might say in grading olives) with 22 stops and one "jumbo," with 102.  Unless I badly misunderstand, we were hearing the runt of the litter, but it was plenty robust enough to fill the formidable 17-18C space.  A Bach prelude, a bit of César Franck and a fair amount of one Louis Vierne, hitherto unknown to me--apparently he began his career here as assistant organist in 1892.  Certainly worth a visit, as they say in the guidebooks, and probably worth a side trip.

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