Gerard Gillen (organ of St Mary's, Pro Cathedral, Dublin)
Gerard Gillen Plays organ works by Flor Peeters and César Franck on the Great Organ of Dublin's St Mary's Pro-Cathedral. Fabulous playing by an acknowledged Master and one time favoured student of Flor Peeters. Dublin's Roman Catholic Pro-Cathedral, dedicated to the Blessed Virgin under the title of St Mary, was opened in 1825 and is built in classical Greek style in a copy of the Parisian Basilica of St Philippe de Roule. It is a church, though small for its cathedral function, with a warm and generous acoustic, particularly suited to organ sound and its projection. The present organ's origins date from the 1880s when a contract was entrusted to the Dublin but French-trained organ builder, John White. The present façade of the organ dated from William Hill's rebuild of the instrument c. 1900. Subsequent work was carried out by Henry Willis & Co in the 1930s before J.W. Walker's major rebuilds of 1971 and 1995 when some additional stops were added. This latter work was carried out in the context of an overall redecoration of the Pro-Cathedral. Over the years the Pro-Cathedral organ has become regarded as one of the finest examples in Ireland of the late nineteenth-century grand Romantic organ, and has since its original installation featured prominently in the many national liturgical occasions, which have graced the cathedral church. More recently many of the finest organ recitalists of our time have performed on this instrument: Daniel Chorzempa, Xavier Darasse, Susan Landale, Olivier Latry, Daniel Roth, Dame Gillian Weir, Arthur Wills etc.
Flor Peeters: Wachet auf!
Flor Peeters: O Gott, Du frommer Gott
Flor Peeters: Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern
Flor Peeters: Toccata, Fugue et Hymne sur 'Ave Maris Stella'
César Franck: Prélude, Fugue et Variation in B minor, FWV 30
César Franck: Pièce héroïque in B minor, FWV 37
César Franck: Grande Pièce Symphonique, Op.17, FWV 29
I. Andantino serioso
III. Allegro non troppo e maestoso
Recorded in St Mary's Pro Cathedral, Dublin in 2008
Recording Engineering & Production: Jonathan R. Wearn
Total Time: 62.48
Release Date: September 2020
Gerard Gillen has been Titular Organist of Dublin’s Pro-Cathedral since 1976 and is Professor Emeritus of Music at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth, where he was head of Department from 1985 to 2007. He is widely regarded as one of Ireland’s leading church and concert organists. A First Class Honours graduate University College, Dublin, Oxford University, and the Royal Flemish Conservatoire of Music, Antwerp (where he gained the Prix d’Excellence, the highest award for instrumental performance, in the class of Flor Peeters), Professor Gillen has given over 900 recitals throughout Europe, Israel, and America, performing in such prestigious venues as the Royal Festival Hall, London, King’s College, Cambridge, St Thomas’, New York, Grace Cathedral, San Francisco, Notre-Dame and La Madeleine, Paris, St Stephen’s Cathedral, Vienna, St Thomas’, Leipzig, St Bavo, Haarlem, cathedrals of Brussels, Antwerp, Bruges, Ghent, Pittsburgh, and major recital venues in Slovakia, Czech Republic, Poland, Estonia, Italy etc. He has also been a member of international competition juries in Oxford, Ann Arbor, London and Dublin.
Gerard Gillen was founder-chairman of the Dublin International Organ & Choral Festival (now the Pipeworks Festival) of which he was artistic director from 1990 to 2000. In 1984 he was conferred with Knighthood of St Gregory (KCSG) by the Vatican, and in 2006 he was created a Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres by the French Government. He is currently chair of the National Advisory Committee on Church Music to the Irish Episcopal Conference. Other honours include the John Betts Visiting Fellowship at Oxford (1992); in December 1996 he was nominated the classical winner in Ireland’s annual TV National Entertainment Awards, the first organist to be so honoured. In 2007 he was awarded a doctorate honoris causa by the Pontifical University of Maynooth.
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