Since people often ask me, I wanted to share something about Falcinelli.

Rolande Falcinelli (1920-2006)

Rolande Falcinelli is the single most important organist to have influenced me! I first contacted her in the 1990s when I had some questions concerning a piece by Marcel Dupré. She replied to my letter within a few days, and we started to write back and forth for a few months before she invited me to visit her in Pau in the south of France where she had moved some years earlier. I visited her the first time in the summer of 1998, and I then came back continuously a couple of times every year. At the time I was making up for having started to play keyboard instruments late, so I was practicing a lot. But Falcinelli suggested that I should practice less and take time to build a stronger general culture, which I lacked. Her own knowledge was encyclopedic! She could speak about anything, and break anything down to scrupulous analysis. Cinema, painting, acting, literature, philosophy… During the years my visits with her transformed from having organ lessons at the nearby church, to sitting home studying scores in relation to other arts, and finally only discussing! This really changed me into who I became.

Studying Dupré’s “Le Chemin de la Croix” in Pau, around 2001-2002

I learned a lot about playing an instrument during this time, and how to make pragmatic choices. She had an outstanding way of understanding a piece of music, which made the music-making evident.

There is a lot to say about Falcinelli to those who weren’t fortunate enough to meet her. Luckily, there is her music of which many masterpieces like Mathnavì Op. 50, Miniatures persanes Op. 52, Azâm Op. 61, Variations-Études Op. 48 are already available, and much more exists and will hopefully be published in the future. And not only for the organ, she has a vast production of chamber music and orchestral music that still wait to be discovered!

There are also some great recordings of her. Not only did she make reference recordings of her own music, but also of Marcel Dupré & César Franck.

For years I have had a project to record some of her most fascinating & challenging music for the organ, and I hope that it can happen soon.