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MESSIAEN // Solo Works for Organ

Louis Thiry,

In 1972, the musical world was still reeling from the impact: the significance of Louis Thiry’s recording of the complete organ works of Olivier Messiaen did not escape anyone, and the set was immediately seen as indispensable. This multi-award-winning set has acquired mythical status, and we owed it to ourselves to give it a new lease of life thanks to a subtle remastering.

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It is in his organ music that Olivier Messiaen most perfectly expresses the originality and power of his temperament. The instrument was for a long time the privileged vehicle of spiritual meditation for Messiaen, who used it to explore all the possibilities of his instrumental language and succeeded in renewing his musical aesthetic without ever renouncing tradition.

Louis Thiry’s version is striking for its grandiose inspiration and intense spirituality.

The organist Louis Thiry (of whom Messiaen himself wrote: ‘Louis Thiry is an extraordinary organist. An accomplished virtuoso, a total musician, with an unparalleled memory and skill: he can be classified among the heroes of music!’) easily and undemonstratively copes with all the difficulties accumulated by the composer. He then goes even further by admirably recreating the teeming richness of this strongly
coloured, contrasted music.


CD 1

Les Corps Glorieux

  • Subtilité des Corps Glorieux 4’56
  • Les Eaux de la Grâce 2’56
  • L’Ange aux parfums 6’06
  • Combat de la Mort et de la Vie 16’25
  • Force et Agilité des Corps Glorieux 3’40
  • Joie et Clarté des Corps Glorieux 6’01
  • Le Mystère de la Sainte-Trinité 5’30


  • Majesté du Christ demandant sa Gloire à son Père 5’41
  • Alleluias sereins d’une âme qui désire le Ciel 6’18
  • Transports de Joie d’une âme devant la Gloire du Christ qui est la sienne 4’30
  • Prière du Christ montant vers son Père 7’17
CD 2

Messe de la Pentecôte

  • Entrée : Les Langues de feu 2’47
  • Offertoire : Les choses visibles et invisibles 10’49
  • Consécration : Le don de la Sagesse 4’49
  • Communion : Les oiseaux et les sources 6’09
  • Sortie : Le vent de l’Esprit 3’18

Livre d’orgue

  • Reprises par interversions 5’15
  • Pièce en trio 2’18
  • Les mains de l’abîme 8’09
  • Chants d’oiseaux 7’55
  • Pièce en trio 7’34
  • Les yeux dans les roues 1’42
  • Soixante-quatre durées 10’32
CD 3

La Nativité

  • La Vierge et l’Enfant 5’34
  • Les Bergers 6’07
  • Desseins Eternels 5’23
  • Le Verbe 11’18
  • Les Enfants de Dieu 4’09
  • Les Anges 3’11
  • Jésus accepte la souffrance 4’26
  • Les Mages 10’07
  • Dieu parmi nous 8’52


  • Le Banquet céleste 5’58


  • Apparition de l’Église éternelle 8’08
Spoiler title

I was absolutely blown away by this, it’s some really exciting playing … the playing is so spontaneous and the choice of the organ is so wonderful … it’s just so exiting, and it’s such imaginative stop drawing as well.

Louis Thiry was born in Fléville, near Nancy, on 15 February 1935. He is now honorary professor of organ at the Conservatoire à Rayonnement Régional de Rouen. He studied with André Marchal at the Institut National des Jeunes Aveugles (National Institute for Blind Children) and Rolande Falcinelli at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Paris. There he won a Premier Prix for organ in 1958. He divides his time between teaching and concerts, radio broadcasts, phonographic recordings and participation in numerous festivals in France and abroad.

He started his career as an organist in Baccarat in 1958, on an instrument recommended to him by Gaston Litaize, whose student and later friend he was. He then moved to Metz, where he became resident organist of the church of Saint-Martin. There he began his teaching activities, giving organ lessons to a number of students who went on to have prestigious careers, including Norbert Pétry and Bernard-Marie Koltès. In 1972 he was appointed professor of organ at the Rouen Conservatoire. Many of his students there also embarked on successful musical careers, among them Alain Mabit, Jean-Marie Colin, Jean-Luc Étienne, Jean-Marc Leblanc, François Ménissier, Céline Frisch and Benjamin Alard.

Louis Thiry’s repertory extends from the thirteenth to the twenty-first centuries. His curiosity has frequently led him to explore little-known composers, especially in the fields of medieval, Renaissance and Baroque music. He is particularly interested in contemporary organ music, regularly performing works by Jean-Pierre Leguay, Pierre Vidal and Alain Mabit, whose Night Song he premiered. He has also worked extensively on the organ works of Olivier Messiaen, which he has helped to promote in numerous recitals throughout the world. In 1990, it was from Messiaen’s hands that he received the insignia of Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Mérite.

Louis Thiry is an honorary member of the Académie des Sciences, Belles Lettres et Arts de Rouen.

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