The pipe organ of the parish church of Saint-Antoine des Quinze-Vingts in Paris was built by Aristide Cavaillé-Coll in 1894. Originally constructed as a house organ for Le Baron de l’Epée, it was moved to its current location in 1907. Merklin later renovated the pipe organ, adding more than 300 additional pipes. The organ was last cleaned and restored in the year 2004, and it remains today one of the purest examples of French Symphonic organs in Paris. It is on this magnificent pipe organ that Eric Lebrun, organist at Saint-Antoine des Quinze-Vingts, plays Henri Mulet’s magnum opus, “Esquisses Byzantines” of 1919. Mulet was raised close to the Sacré-Coeur, and he dedicated this large cycle “En mémoire de la Basilique du Sacré-Coeur.” Each individual piece of the ten in the “Esquisses Byzantines” is dedicated to a specific part of the church itself or to a liturgical function for which the church is used. Particularly noteworthy is the final toccata, “Tu es Petrus et portae inferi non praevalebunt adversum eam” (You are Peter, the Rock, and the gates of hell will not prevail against thee). A musical battle between the forces of good and evil, it has become one of the most famous works in 20th-century organ repertoire. The disc also features some of the best and lesser-known organ works by Joseph-Guy Ropartz. This recording comes with extensive documentation: notes on the music, stoplist and numerous photos and a written interview with the artist.
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