Sunday, 22 November 2009
Postlude: Jehan Alain:
"The architect is dead, but the temple is finished"
Because it is Christ the King, the last Sunday of the year, there is no mention in the calendar today of St Cecilia, the patron saint of musicians.
November is a time when we pray especially for the souls of the departed and, since the end of the Great War of 1914-18, also the month when we remember those killed in conflict.
On what would otherwise be St Cecilia’s Day (and Cecilia is above all the patron of organists and church musicians) here is music composed by a twentieth century composer and organist of genius, Jehan Alain, who met an heroic death in battle in June 1940 during the French defence of Saumur. He was only twenty-nine years old and left behind his wife, Madeleine and their three children.
A devout Catholic, posthumously a significant contributor to the revival of Christian culture in France during the middle years of the last century, he left as his musical legacy compositions considered by many to have been amongst the most original of the 20th century.
On the last page of his diary he had written: "I believe in Christ and in God".
This is the Postlude pour l'office de Complies influenced by the formative time he spent aged 19 at the Cistercian Abbey of Valloires.