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Messiaen: Livre du Saint Sacrement
Jon Gillock, Organist
2011 Pascal Quoirin Organ, 111 ranks, Church of the Ascension, New York - [OAR-982]

2 CDs for the Price of One!

Jon Gillock plays the Livre du Saint-Sacrement as the second of his recordings of Olivier Messiaen's complete organ works. As in all of the recordings anticipated in this series, the organ heard is the comprehensive 111-rank pipe organ at The Church of the Ascension, New York, built by French organbuilder Pascal Quoirin in 2011 with both electric and tracker-action consoles, optimized to play French repertoire and especially Messiaen, and capable of playing most any repertoire.

Renowned for his lectures and writings on Messiaen, Jon Gillock provides extensive notes on the music. He relates, in part, "Messiaen composed his Livre du Saint Sacrement in 1984, shortly after the premiere of his opera Saint François d’Assise in 1983. In an interview published in April . . . before the August 17 production of his opera at the 1992 Salzburg Festival, Messiaen tells us this very interesting story about his inspiration for this organ work, “I had, in fact, worked for eight years, night and day [on the opera]. Afterwards, I felt empty, I thought I had said everything, that I could stop composing. . .”

Interviewer Jean-Christophe Marti replied, "Nevertheless inspiration returned. . ."

Messiaen then said, "Yes, and this is how: my post as a liturgical organist requires me to improvise. My wife records my playing, and I listen to these improvisations again with a very critical ear. Something happened: it was a Holy Thursday evening, when the Church commemorates the Institution of the Eucharist by Christ. I had three minutes to fill by playing, and it was here that I had a stroke of inspiration. I played a piece which, at first, seemed to be nothing: a very simple bacchius rhythm (short-long), an ordinary first-inversion harmony...but suddenly I was aware, in relistening, that this music was not like the others. I believe that I was inspired by the moment, touched by this Office, which was very beautiful. I rewrote this piece, I named it L’Institution de l’Eucharistie [now movement VIII] and I began to write the Livre du Saint Sacrement: 18 pieces for organ, two hours and a half in length total! That was more than a year after Saint François. . . ."

Jon Gillock
On January 15, 1974, Jon Gillock gave the New York premiere of Olivier Messiaens Méditations sur le Mystère de la Sainte Trinité at The Church of the Ascension. That single performance launched his career as a concert artist almost over night, giving performances of this work from coast to coast. The following year, he gave the first New York performance of Messiaens complete works for organ (the Livre du Saint Sacrement had not yet been written) in a series of five concerts. Soon afterward, he met Messiaen who invited Gillock to visit him in Paris. In 1977, Gillock went to Paris to study with his maître at the Paris Conservatory.
In 1978, Gillock performed the Méditations in the presence of the composer at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, New York, in a concert honoring Messiaens 70th birthday. This performance cemented a long friendship between the two. Messiaen later wrote to Gillock about this performance:

Again I remember with emotion your marvelous performance of my Méditations sur le Mystére de la Sainte Trinité in New York . . . I was infinitely touched by your wonderful interpretation: registration, touch, understanding  all were ideally beautiful. You will never know how much I admired your playing. Again thank you and bravo!!!

Later, in Claude Samuels 1986 book, Entretiens Avec Olivier Messiaen, Messiaen stated:
Certain ones [organists] play it better than me . . . there is the excellent American organist Jon Gillock in New York . . .

"Press and public alike acclaim American organist Jon Gillock for his sensitive and moving performances. He is especially fond of performing the French spiritual repertoire. This includes the music of such composers as François Couperin, Maurice Duruflé, Nicolas de Grigny, César Franck, Charles Tournemire, Louis Vierne, and, of course, Olivier Messiaen and Johann Sebastian Bach."

Jon Gillock earned the BM and MM degrees at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville and the DMA at The Juilliard School in New York City. In addition to Messiaen, other important teachers were Weldon Marshall, John Cowell, and Vernon de Tar.

Gillock is especially known for his premieres of several of Messiaens works in New York City, across the United States, and in Japan. In addition to the first New York performance in 1975, he also gave the first Japan performance, in 2008 in Tokyo, of Messiaens complete organ works. He also gave many performances of Livre du Saint Sacrement from the composers manuscript before it was published. During 2008, he celebrated Messiaen's centenary around the world with concerts, masterclasses, and lectures. He has also given many concerts of Messiaen's music in Paris at Eglise de la Sainte-Trinité, where Messiaen was the organist. His book, Performing Messiaens Organ Music: 66 Masterclasses, was published by Indiana University Press in 2010. It has been acclaimed internationally for its importance among writings about these works.

Jon Gillock has established an international career not only as a performer but also as a master teacher. Now a resident of Paris, he has been a member of the organ faculties of both The Juilliard School and the Manhattan School of Music, and Montclair State University in Upper Montclair, New Jersey. From 2004 through 2009, he participated as Artist Faculty with Yuko Hayashi in the Boston Organ Academy. From 2011 to 2013, he served on the faculty, along with Dennis Keene, in the Ascension Organ Academy at The Church of the Ascension. He has also served as a jury member of international organ competitions.

Jon Gillock was named International Performer of the Year, 1999-2000, by the New York City Chapter of the American Guild of Organists. Among the awards he has received for his recordings are the Diapason d'Or and the 10 de Répertoire in France and the Preis der Deutschen Schallplatten Kritik in Germany. He is a member of the Artistic Committee of the Association Grand Orgue Trinité Messiaen, Eglise de la Sainte-Trinité, Paris.
In 2011, Gillock began recording Messiaen's complete organ works on the Quoirin organ at The Church of the Ascension, the ideal organ for this project, specifically designed to play Messiaen. Livre du Saint Sacrement is the second in this series. Méditations sur le Mystère de la Sainte Trinité was the first.

The Manton Memorial Organ built by Pascal Quoirin, Saint-Didier, France (2011)
The Church of the Ascension, New York, New York

Mechanical action with 3-manual console, Electric action with 4-manual console
*available solely on the electric console

GRAND-ORGUE Man. 1, 61 notes
16 Montre
16 Bourdon
8 Montre
8* Second (large Cavaillé-Coll-style Montre)
8 Flûte traversière
8 Bourdon
8 Gambe
5-1/3 Gros Nasard
4 Prestant
4 *Second (large Cavaillé-Coll-style Prestant)
4 Flûte ouverte
3-3/5 Grosse Tierce
2-2/3 Quinte
2-2/3 Nasard
2 Doublette
2 Flûte
II Grande Fourniture
IV Fourniture
II ICymbale
VII Cornet MC
16 Bombarde
8 1ère Trompette
8 2ème Trompette (chamade)
4 Clairon
Grand-Orgue *16 *4 *Unison
8 Trompette harmonique en chamade (Récit)

POSITIF Man. 2, 61 notes
16 Quintaton
8 Montre
8 Flûte conique
8 Bourdon
8 Salicional
4 Prestant
4 Flûte conique
2-2/3 Nasard
2 Doublette
2 Quarte de Nasard
1-3/5 Tierce
1-1/3 Larigot
1 Flageolet
IV Fourniture
III Cymbale
16 Basson
8 Trompette
4 Clairon
8 Cromorne
Positif *16 *4 *Unison
8 *Trompette harmonique en chamade (Récit)

(expressif) Man. 3 mechanical console; Man. 4 electric console, 61 notes
8 Bourdon
4 Flûte allemande
2-2/3 Nasard
2 Flûte
1-3/5 Tierce
8 Trompette
8 Hautbois
8 Voix humaine
8 Basson (Cor anglais)
8 Clarinette
Récit-Echo *16 *4 *Unison
8* Trompette harmonique en chamade (Récit)


Man. 3 electric console only, 61 nts
16 *Bourdon
8 *Principal
8 *Flûte harmonique
8 *Bourdon
8 *Gambe
8 *Voix céleste
8 *Aéoline
8*Aéoline céleste
4 *Prestant
4 *Flûte octaviante
2-2/3 *Nasard harmonique
2 *Octavin
1-3/5 *Tierce harmonique
V *Plein Jeu
III *Sur Cymbale
16 *Basson
8 *Trompette harmonique
4 *Clairon harmonique
8 *Basson Hautbois
8 *Voix humaine
Récit *16 *4 *Unison
8 *Trompette harmonique en chamade

32 notes
32 Bourdon
16 Flûte
16 Principal
16 Bourdon (ext. 32)
16 *Petit Bourdon (Récit)
10-2/3 Grande Quinte
8 Flûte (ext. 16)
8 Violoncelle (ext. 16 Prin.)
8 Bourdon
6-2/5 Grande Tierce
5-1/3 Quinte (ext. 10)
4 Prestant
4 Flûte (ext. 8 Bour.)
3-1/5 Tierce (ext. 6)
2-2/3 Quinzième (ext. 4 Prestant)
IV Plein Jeu
32 Bombarde
16 Bombarde (ext. 32)
16 Basson (Schnitger-type Posaune)
8 Trompette
8 Basson (ext. 16)
4 Clairon (ext. 8 Trompette)
8 *Trompette harmonique en chamade (Récit)
Couplers to Pedal
Tirasse G.O. 8 (thumb, toe) *4
Tirasse Pos. 8 *4
Tirasse Réc. *8 *4
Tirasse Echo 8 *4
Couplers to Grand Orgue
Positif  G.O. *16 8 *4
Récit  G.O. *16 *8 *4
Echo  G.O. *16 8 *4
Couplers to Positif
Récit  Pos *16 *8 *4
Echo  Pos *16 8 *4
*Cloches (Tower Bells)
Expression Pedals
*Grand-Récit Chancel Shades
*Grand-Récit Nave Shades
*Crescendo & Annuler toe stud
*Récit Boxes II/I
10 General Pistons, both consoles, thumb & toe
*8 Pistons, Grand-Récit, thumb
*5 Pistons other divisions
Piston Sequencer: Previous, Next Pistons in several locations
General Cancel

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