Today we’re listening to Jeanne Demessieux, a French organist and composer. Born in 1921 and identified quickly as a musical prodigy, Demessieux entered the Paris Conservatoire at age 12. Appointed chief organist at Paris’s Saint-Esprit around the same time, she went on to perform concert organ internationally. We’re playing one of the eight-disc Decca Legacy collection of her recordings: Vol. 6 featuring compositions by César Franck. Demessieux would only perform pieces from memory and at any given moment held upward of 3,000 pieces in her head.1 Last year would have been her centennial, which was celebrated in organ performances around the world. “Next to Jeanne Demessieux,” fellow organist Maurice Duruflé remarked, “the rest of us play the pedals like elephants.”
Have a really nice Wednesday.