A Spiritual Connection between Reger, Parry and Tournemire's WWI Organ Music

Ji Hyun Woo

Crown Center Sheraton Hotel - FREMONT

How do WWI composers speak of their patriotism through the lens of Christ’s suffering and resurrection? A Spiritual connection between Reger, Parry, and Tournemire’s WWI Organ music. Hymn tunes and religious texts are an integral part of wartime culture, providing symbols of religious and national identity as well as a source of comfort and hope. For example, German, British, and French composers such as Max Reger, Hubert Parry and Charles Tournemire, composed organ music in response to the World War I that was a sign of the heightened musical nationalism of the period even as it reflected a spiritual motif. A comparison of the spiritual organ music of these composers reveals how they spoke of their patriotism through the lens of Christ’s suffering and resurrection in two distinct yet intertwined ways, at times diverging through their unique harmonic language and at times unifying through the idea of “erneuertes Sein.” (renewed existence). This article provides an analysis and comparison of Reger’s 7 Stücke für Orgel, op. 145 (1915), Parry’s Chorale Prelude on 'Eventide' (1916), and Tournemere’s L’Orgue Glorieux (1927) and each pieces use of preexisting sacred music ( a Lutheran hymn, English hymn, and the antiphonal chant “Ego dormivi”). For the purposes of this study, I draw attention to how each composer narrates his own harmonic language focusing on the themes in their texts such as pain, death, victory, resurrection, eternity, and hope. The analysis will encapsulate an understanding of a spiritual music that serves as a unifying medium beyond each nation’s culture.

Wednesday, July 4
9:30 – 10:30am