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Pipeworks From The Organ Loft 2020

Although precluded from holding a physical festival in June, Pipeworks is pleased to present “Pipeworks from the Organ Loft”, a series of five streamed and recorded events which will air during the festival dates. The events were all to have taken place during the festival, and Pipeworks is most grateful to the participants for their cooperation in making this digital content possible.


Gerard Gillen was the driving force behind the foundation of the Dublin International Organ Festival in 1980, and its inaugural Artistic Director. He will deliver a talk on the origins and early history of the Festival.

David Adams and Fergal Caulfield, two of Ireland’s leading keyboard players, will stream recitals from St Patrick’s Cathedral. Each is a former Festival competition prizewinner, 1986 and 1994 respectively.

We were to have enjoyed a talk entitled "From The Hands of Heaven: Chant, Organ, and Improvisation in l'Orgue Mystique of Charles Tournemire” to have been given by Dr David Connolly.  Many will have heard of his tragic and untimely death in recent weeks. We dedicate this series of events to his memory. The music of Tournemire was of especial interest to David, so we will enjoy a liturgical performance of the Corpus Christi cycle from his magnum opus, L’Orgue Mystique, played by Pro Cathedral Organist David Grealy, interspersed with appropriate chant sung by a schola 
formed from the gentlemen of the Palestrina Choir.

And finally, I will perform Kenneth Leighton’s “Dublin Festival Mass” in St Patrick’s Cathedral. This work, commissioned for the inaugural festival in 1980, is dedicated to Gerard Gillen and was first performed by him, in the composer’s presence, in St Patrick’s during that festival. 


David Leigh,

Artistic Director

Pipeworks From the Organ Loft - Programme 

Gerard Gillen, 6pm

A New Festival is Born:
Gerard Gillen reflects on how the Dublin International Organ Festival, as it then was, came into being in 1980, and he relives some of the highs of festival events over the past 40 years.

Gerard Gillen was founder-chairman of the Dublin International Organ Festival (now Pipeworks) of which he was artistic director from 1980 to 1986 and again from 1990 to 2000.

Gerard Gillen
David Adams6pm


Festival Fireworks:

Jean Langlais (1907–1991) Fête, Op. 51

Jean Guillou (1930–2019) Toccata, Op. 9

César Franck (1822–1890) Choral III in A minor

Olivier Messiaen (1908–1992) Apparition de l'église éternelle

Sebastian Adams (b. 1991) 2019.7

Henri Mulet (1878–1967) Carillon-Sortie

David Adams

This recital kicks off with Langlais' Fête, or Festival, composed in a burst of joy at the ending of WWII, followed by Jean Guillou's Toccata, a fitting homage to this great French organist/composer who sadly passed away last year. César Franck's Third Chorale is a staple of the organ repertoire, and bears a dedication to Augusta Holmès, a Parisian composer of Irish parentage and a pupil of Franck, who was responsible for the posthumous publishing of the Three Chorales. This is followed by Messiaen's Apparition de l'église éternelle depicting the appearance and fading away of the eternal church, under ongoing construction. Then comes an exciting recent piece, and internet premiere, by the young Irish composer Sebastian Adams, and the recital closes with the brilliance of Henri-Mulet's Carillon-Sortie.

Fergal Caulfield, 6pm


Olivier Messiaen:

Les Corps Glorieux (1939) - Sept Visions brèves de la Vie Des Ressuscités

I.  Subtilité des Corps Glorieux 

II. Les Eaux de la Grace

III. L’Ange aux Parfums

IV. Combat de la Mort et de la Vie

V. Force et Agilité Des Corps Glorieux 

VI. Joie et Clarté Des Corps Glorieux 

VII. Le Mystère de la Sainte Trinité

Fergal Caulfield

Les Corps Glorieux (‘The Glorified Bodies’) is the third of Messiaen’s early organ cycles (succeeding L’Ascension and La Nativité, and extending the latter’s striking modal and rhythmic language into even more novel territory). The final bar of the score bears the completion date 25th August 1939 - mere days before the outbreak of World War II - and the atmosphere of that time may perhaps have infused its Easter theme of death and transfiguration. Subtitled ‘Seven brief Visions of the life of the Resurrected ones’ the work gravitates around a lengthy central movement (‘The Combat of Life and Death’), a ‘diptyque’ which starkly juxtaposes earthly and heavenly existence. As the composer wrote of this work - a personal favourite among his own compositions - ‘the life of the resurrected is free, pure, luminous, colourful. The timbres of the organ reflect these characteristics’.

David Grealy | Men's Schola of St Mary's Pro Cathedral,  6pm


Charles Tournemire: Office for Corpus Christi (L’Orgue Mystique no. XVII)

David Grealy – organ

Shane Barriscale, Stephen Carroll, Conor Prendiville – cantors


L’Orgue Mystique is one of the great undertakings of the organ repertoire; a complete cycle of organ pieces for every Sunday and feast day of the church year. As we celebrate the 150th anniversary of its composer, Charles Tournemire, Dublin’s Pro-Cathedral provides the perfect setting the hear the cycle for Corpus Christi. The cathedral organist, David Grealy, will be joined by a schola who will sing the Gregorian chants, upon which the organ pieces are based.  

Download text and translations >> 

David Grealy
David Leigh6pm


Kenneth Leighton Missa di Gloria (Dublin Festival Mass)

Commissioned for the first Dublin Organ Festival in 1980.

Kyrie: Molto adagio, ben misurato
Gloria: Allegro molto e brillante
Credo: Largo e dolce
Sanctus and Benedictus: Molto largo - ma nacho ritmico
Agnus Dei: Molto largo ed appassionato (un poco libramente quasi una fantasia)
Ite, missa est: Allegro molto (Toccata)

David Leigh

Present Artistic Director David Leigh brings Pipeworks from the Organ Loft to a close with a performance of Kenneth Leighton’s “Dublin Festival Mass”.  This work was commissioned for the first Festival 40 years ago, and is dedicated to Gerard Gillen, who gave the first performance in St Patrick’s Cathedral on 29 June 1980 in the composer’s presence.  It consists of six movements, all based on the Sarum chants for Easter Day. 

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