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Jean Guillou (1930- )


Guillou's percussive performance style is reflected in all his published music, and this Toccata (an early work from 1963) vividly recreates the mood of his electric improvisations. It is based on three thematic motifs - the jagged opening phrase; the more lyrical Trumpet theme which follows; and its halting rhythmic accompaniment. From these three elements the composer builds a dramatic, rhetorical fantasy, with one moment of repose preceding the final acceleration into an awesome wall of sound. The stabbing chords at the end always leave an audience in suspense; this is one of those pieces after which nobody (except fellow organists) is ever quite sure when to start the applause!

David Gammie

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